Insto roundup: NPS looks at divesting from coal; Instos discuss green energy investing in UK

Australia's Future Fund gains 4.5% AUM in first quarter; Chinese investors in talks to buy a stake in Saudi Aramco; Hong Kong's Exchange Fund makes $1.49bn quarterly gain; Korea's NPS could divest from coal-related investments; Temasek, GIC and other pension funds in talks with UK government to fund British green energy projects and more.
Insto roundup: NPS looks at divesting from coal; Instos discuss green energy investing in UK


Hesta, the A$60 billion ($46.56 billion) industry fund for the health and community services sector, has made a key appointment within its investments team, with Stephen Howard being appointed as general manager, defensives. 

Howard had been the head of fixed income for Asia Pacific at Vanguard from 2010 to 2017. He has since held academic positions at Monash University and the University of Melbourne and been a portfolio manager for treasury and investments at Medibank Private.

Hesta chief executive Sonya Sawtell-Rickson said Howard's appointment is part of HESTA's ongoing internalisation of investments. The fund will begin to manage fixed income and cash in-house in 2022.

Source: Financial Standard

Main Sequence, a deep technology venture capital firm based in Australia, raised A$250 million ($193.6 million) for its oversubscribed second investment fund from a series of returning asset owners and investors. 

Investors Hostplus, Horizons Ventures, Lockheed Martin, and Singaporean state investment fund Temasek, as well as other family offices and private investors in Morgan Stanley Wealth Management and Mutual Trust supported the raise, Main Sequence said on April 27.

Source: Chief Investment Officer

The Future Fund reported a 4.5% gain for the three months ended March 31, lifting the value of its portfolio to a record A$178.6 billion ($136.1 billion). Its portfolio rebounded 10.1% for the 12 months ended March 31, after tumbling 3.4% during the first quarter of 2020.

Listed equities and private equity were the leading contributors to the portfolio's solid gains, chief executive Raphael Arndt said in a news release on April 29. But he cautioned that challenging conditions still remain for investing.

"We remain focused on carefully managing risk, recognizing that the pandemic has had deep and lasting impacts on economies and investment markets, which investors need to understand and assess," said Arndt.

Source: Pensions & Investments


Major Chinese investors are in talks to buy a stake in Saudi Aramco, several sources told Reuters on April 28, as Saudi Arabia's state oil firm prepares to sell another slice of its business to international investors.

Saudi Arabia was in discussions to sell 1% of Aramco to a leading global energy company and could sell further shares including to international investors within the next year or two. Sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corporation was among those that could invest.

A stake of 1% would equate to around $19 billion based on Aramco's current market capitalisation.

Source: Reuters

PetroChina, China's largest oil group by assets, will establish an investment fund with its parent company to help fuel growth in new sources of energy, a response to President Xi Jinping's goal to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.

The proposed registered capital of the fund will be Rmb10 billion.

Source: PetroChina


Hong Kong's Exchange Fund, which is used to back the Hong Kong dollar, posted investment income of HK$11.6 billion ($1.49 billion) in the first quarter of 2021, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) said on Monday (May 3).

In 2020, the exchange fund recorded adjusted investment income of HK$235.8 billion. However, the fund lost HK$16 billion from its bond investments during the first quarter. 

Source: HKMA, South China Morning Post


The National Pension Service (NPS) will discuss divesting from companies mining coal and those generating electricity from it, during its forthcoming Fund Management Committee meeting, according to sources and media reports on April 28.

The decision was made after the state pension fund's Special Committee on Responsible Investment & Governance held talks recently on the introduction of "negative screening," which refers to the intentional exclusion of controversial firms from investment portfolios.

Market insiders expect that once the committee decides to adopt negative screening, the NPS will prioritise selling its stakes in domestic firms using coal, given that environmental activists have continued to demand it stop investing in coal-fired power plants here and overseas.

Source: Korea Times

A public offering fund that indirectly invests in digital industries such as digital assets was set to be released for the first time in Korea on May 2. The Financial Supervisory Service plans to approve the digital asset investment fund (tentatively called Digital Hero) from Hanwha Asset Management, a subsidiary of Hanwha Life Insurance. 

This stock fund invests in fintech innovative financial companies and firms that provide the infrastructure necessary for digitalisation development.

Source: Naver, Chosun Biz


Pilgrim fund Lembaga Tabung Haji (LTH) and the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) received shares in Islamic financial holding group BIMB’s private placement.

LTH bought 12 million shares from the group’s placement. Its stake was diluted to 48.03% from 52.97%. EPF in turn acquired 45.87 million shares and now holds a stake of 13.42%, up from 12.23%. Meanwhile, Permodalan Nasional (PNB)’s stake was diluted to below 5%.

In December 2019, BIMB announced a restructuring exercise that included a private placement of new shares to raise RM800 million ($195 million).

Source: The Edge Markets


US private equity investor Blackstone led a $2.8 billion investment in Indian IT services company Mphasis with Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Singapore’s GIC and the University of California endowment fund UC Investments as co-investors. The consortium acquired an additional 26% stake in the Bengaluru-based company, bringing its total holding to 75%.

Blackstone is seeking to raise $5 billion for a second Asia-focused private equity fund.

Source: Economic Times

Singapore's Temasek invested $120 million in Indian ed-tech startup upGrad. The company, which offers online higher education courses, is expected to be valued at between $575 million to $675 million after the funding.

Its founder and executive chairman said the proceeds would be used for mergers and acquisitions and to expand the firm’s presence in overseas markets such as the US, UK, Middle East and Asia. The company has a $2 billion revenue goal by 2026.

Source: Mint

Temasek invested in Australian deep tech venture capital firm Main Sequence’s second fund, which raised a total of $195 million. Other limited partners include Australian superannuation fund Hostplus, Hong Kong venture investor Horizons Ventures and American security and aerospace Lockheed Martin, as well as family offices and private investors, Main Sequence said.

Main Sequence said the latest vehicle will continue to focus on areas of health, food, space, and industrial productivity.

Source: DealStreetAsia

Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC led a R$300 million ($55 million) Series C funding round in Brazil fintech firm Warren. Existing backers Ribbit, Kaszek and Quartz also participated in the round, which brings Warren’s total raised to R$445 million.

The startup said it would use the fresh capital to invest in hiring, particularly of tech professionals; boost marketing; and expand its B2B offering. It would also consider acquisitions, said its CEO.

Source: Reuters

Temasek invested an undisclosed sum in US synthetic bio-manufacturer Solugen. The fresh funding will be used to support further scaleup and sales growth and expand its R&D and production facilities in Southeast Asia.

Solugen earlier raised a $32 million Series B round led Founders Fund in May 2019, and a $13.5 million round in October 2018.

Source: SWF Institute

Temasek co-led a $30 million Series C funding round in agricultural drone startup EAVision. Chinese state fund Citic and venture capital firm Bits x Bites also participated, as did German chemical company BASF, US-based Continental Grain Company and Chinese fruit retailer Pagoda.

The funds will be used for research and development and to accelerate the firm’s market expansion in China and overseas, EAVision said. The company's unmanned aerial vehicle technology is used to navigate challenging environments for farming mountainous regions. Mountainous farming accounts for more than 34% of China's cultivated land, according to the startup.

Source: Business Times


Singapore’s Temasek and GIC, and several Australian and Canadian public pension funds, are amongst the global institutional investors in talks with the UK about investing in British green energy projects, according to UK minister for state and trade Gerry Grimstone.

Grimstone said target projects include carbon capture and storage, electric car batteries and wind farms.

In March, the UK and Abu Dhabi’s Mubadala launched a sovereign partnership to co-invest in life sciences. It is understood future investments could be similarly structured. Global funds could also invest alongside Britain’s new national infrastructure bank, unveiled in March 2021, the minister said.

Source: Financial Times

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