Singapore’s Temasek says assets worth $131 bln

Kevin Lim & Saeed Azhar

Singapore sovereign fund Temasek’s assets were worth S$185 billion ($131 billion) at the end of March, Temasek’s chairman S Dhanabalan said on Thursday, up 13 percent from a year earlier.

“Growing with our blue chip companies and our direct investment activities, Temasek now owns a net portfolio of about S$185 billion at market value as at March 31, 2008,” he said in a speech.

He said Singapore and Asia account for nearly 75 percent of Temasek’s investments, down from 78 percent reported a year earlier.

Temasek, the smaller of Singapore’s two wealth funds, has been seeking investments outside its core markets of Asia excluding Japan in search of higher returns and to diversify its portfolio.

It has invested heavily in Western banks such as Merrill Lynch and Barclays, and it is recruiting staff for new offices in Mexico and Brazil that will be set up this year [ID:nSP85829].

Temasek is also looking at Africa and the Middle East, and has asked a small number of staff to spend part of their time looking at potential investments in the region, a source familiar with the firm said.

As of March 2007, 78 percent of its S$164 billion portfolio was made up of Asian assets. In the long run, it wants a third in Singapore, a third in Asia and a third in the developed markets.

Dhanabalan, who has been chairman of Temasek since September 1996, is a former Cabinet minister who once helmed the city-state’s trade & industry and national development ministries.

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