Weekly investors roundup: Australia's HESTA increases sustainable PE; Temasek puts VC in rural India
TOP NEWS OF THE WEEK
Australian superannuation fund HESTA has committed $200 million (A$290.6 million) to its 12-year-old sustainability focused private equity investment program—the HESTA Sustainable Capital Investment Trust—which is managed by Stafford Capital Partners.
HESTA's additional $200 million investment increases the total size of the program to $450 million.
HESTA Sustainable Capital Investment Trust makes direct investments in lower-mid-market private equity businesses that contribute to one or more United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, including good health and wellbeing, gender equality, affordable and clear energy, climate action, clean water and sanitation, and decent work and economic growth.
Source: Australian Financial Review
Temasek is among investors in a funding round for Indian fintech startup SarvaGram Solutions. The firm has raised $35 million in its Series C round.
Other investors include Elevar Equity, Elevation Capital, Temasek and TVS Capital Funds. Elevar Equity is the largest investor in the company.
Mumbai-based SarvaGram provides a range of customised financial products to unlock the potential of aspirational rural India. It closed its Series B round at $10 million in February 2021, which was led by Elevation Capital and Elevar Equity.
Source: Business Standard
Jack Ma is giving up controlling rights of Ant Group, as the billionaire retreats further from his online empire following China’s unprecedented tech crackdown.
The company is offering 10 individuals, including the founder, management and staff, voting rights independently, effectively removing Ma’s control of Ant, according to an announcement on Saturday. The adjustment will not change economic interests of any shareholders.
Ma has mostly disappeared from public view since giving a speech that criticised Chinese regulators on the eve of the scuttled Ant listing in 2020. Many of his peers have relinquished their formal corporate roles and increased donations to charity to align with President Xi Jinping’s vision of achieving “common prosperity".
OTHER INVESTMENT NEWS
UniSuper, the Australian superannuation fund, has bought a highly sought-after 13.2 hectare industrial property at 1-7 Cawley Road Yarraville, Victoria for A$105 million (72.6 million).
The acquisition builds on the A$115 billion industry pension fund’s A$6.3 billion unlisted property portfolio.
Real estate investment management firm Richmond Bridge facilitated the purchase, as part of a new advisory mandate to over time build an industrial property portfolio across major Australian capital cities.
Peter Wylie, founder and chief investment officer at Richmond Bridge said the firm would have had to have paid a substantially higher price for the property just 12 months ago but were able to capitalise on falling land values in Victoria.
Source: Australian Financial Review
China’s crackdown on tech giants is coming to an end and the country’s economic growth is expected to be back on track soon, according to a top central bank official.
The crackdown on fintech operations of 14 internet companies’ financial services business is “basically” over, said Guo Shuqing, the Communist Party secretary at the People’s Bank of China, in an interview with Xinhua news agency on January 7.
His remarks came on the same day when Ant Group announced that Chinese billionaire Jack Ma had given up control of the company after the fintech giant’s shareholders agreed to restructure its business.
Insurance giant Sompo Holdings has been sued by heirs of the former owner of a painting from Vincent Van Gogh's famed "Sunflowers" series. The US lawsuit seeks the return of the work and about $750 million in damages.
The three heirs claim the Nazis forced the former German banker who owned the painting to sell it in 1934 because he was Jewish. In a suit filed in the US, they argue that the Japanese firm unjustifiably gained commercial profit by acquiring the work despite knowing its provenance.
A predecessor of Sompo Holdings, Yasuda Fire & Marine Insurance, purchased the painting in 1987 for about $40 million, a record for a painting at the time.
Sompo Holdings said it has yet to receive the complaint. The insurer also said the painting was purchased legitimately through an auction 35 years ago and there is no doubt over its ownership.
Teachers’ Pension has published a list of 35 securities firms that will be trading in the Korean stock market on behalf of the fund.
The list was published on December 30 and contains a number of securities firms from renowned Korean financial groups, but also some overseas-owned firms such as HSBC and CLSA.
Source: Teachers’ Pension
The proposed merger of AXA Philippines and Charter Ping An has won the approval of the Philippines’ Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
The SEC gave the green light to the transaction on December 28. The deal will see AXA Philippines absorb Charter Ping An, which was its former general insurance unit.
AXA Philippines is a joint venture between French insurance giant AXA and local Metrobank Group and GT Capital.
Source: AXA Philippines
Sovereign wealth fund GIC is reportedly among the investors in Singapore-based Northstar Group’s first venture capital fund, according to sources familiar with the matter.
The fund, Northstar Ventures I, will focus on early-stage investments, primarily in entities related to the Indonesia market and to a lesser extent other countries in Southeast Asia.
The fund made its first close with $90 million of capital commitments, aiming to a final and third close in mid-2023 at $150 million or more, Northstar said in a release.
The release didn’t mention names of investors, but stated they included “sovereign wealth funds, institutional investors, family offices and high net worth individuals”.
Source: Deal Street Asia, Northstar Group
Taiwan pension funds overseen by the Bureau of Labor Funds (BLF) suffered NT$238.2 billion ($7.8 billion) investment loss in the first 11 months of 2022.
BLF foresees 2023 to be another year of uncertainties amid a high interest rate and high inflation environment, BLF said in an announcement on January 3.
The loss translates into a 4.54% investment loss for January through November, compared to an investment gain of NT$325.8 billion or 6.99% return in the same period of 2021.