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Weekly investors roundup: India's LIC made poor trading debut after impressive offering; Temasek-backed Zilingo fires chief executive

India's state insurer LIC traded down on debut after blockbuster IPO; Temasek-backed e-commerce platform Zilingo fires chief executive Ankiti Bose amid investigations into financial irregularities; Australia's Unisuper and Australian Catholics Superannuation enter agreement to explore merger; and more
Weekly investors roundup: India's LIC made poor trading debut after impressive offering; Temasek-backed Zilingo fires chief executive

TOP NEWS OF THE WEEK:

India’s state-owned insurer Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) had a poor trading debut on the Mumbai stock exchange last week (May 17), after a record initial public offering (IPO) that was priced at the top of the range and oversubscribed nearly three times.

The shares fell as much as 9.4% to 860 rupees ($11.05), versus their IPO price of 949 rupees, before paring about half of the losses. The counter is currently trading at around 829 rupees as of yesterday. (May 23). The offering raised US$2.7 billion, with buyers including Norway's sovereign fund, Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC, and millions of local retail investors.

The LIC listing is the fourth-largest deal among global IPOs priced this year. It comes when there is a dearth of large-size offerings in major financial hubs such as New York and London. There has not been any listing exceeding US$1 billion in Hong Kong or Europe so far this year.

Source: The Straits Times

E-commerce platform Zilingo, which is backed by Singapore’s Temasek Holdings, has fired its chief executive Ankiti Bose, also the co-founder of the firm, following an investigation into complaints of serious financial irregularities.

In a statement on Friday (May 20), the Singapore-based startup said it decided to terminate Bose’s employment “with cause” and reserved the right to pursue appropriate legal action.

Bose had earlier been suspended on March 31 by the firm, which counts Sequoia Capital India, Singapore state investor Temasek, and the Economic Development Board’s investment arm EDBI among its investors. Meanwhile, the 30-year-old Bose told the Economic Times that she was unclear about her next steps but was keeping all options open.

Source: The Straits Times Economic Times

The A$110 billion UniSuper and the A$11 billion Australian Catholics Superannuation (ACS) have signed heads of agreement as they continue to explore a potential merger.

The fund said in a statement that both funds will now start a thorough planning process to migrate ACS members to Unisuper.

“Our fund’s strategy to achieve greater scale is part of our commitment to act in the best financial interests of our members. The proposed merger with UniSuper will provide our members access to one of the few funds in Australia with over $100 billion in funds under management and one that is well-positioned to help them achieve the retirement outcomes they desire,” ACS chief executive Greg Cantor said. 

Source: Unisuper

MORE INVESTMENT NEWS:

BRUNEI

Brunei Darussalam will launch a new national pension scheme next year to replace the existing Employees Trust Fund, also known as TAP.

The new retirement scheme to be known as SPK will provide better retirement income and coverage for pensioners, according to the TAP website. Employers and employees will each contribute 8.5% of the latter’s monthly salary into the new account, which is the same as the current contribution rate for the TAP.

Source: Asia Asset Management TAP

HONG KONG

FWD Group Holdings, the Asian insurer backed by Hong Kong billionaire Richard Li, has won approval for its planned initial public offering in the city, according to a person with knowledge of the matter.

The company received the green light following a hearing Thursday (May 19) with the Hong Kong bourse’s listing committee, according to the person, who asked not to be identified for confidentiality reasons. The company has not decided when to launch the IPO, the person added.

The insurer is seeking to raise about $1 billion in its Hong Kong offering, according to Bloomberg News. Local newspaper Sing Tao Daily first reported the hearing approval. A representative from  FWD has declined to comment.

Source: Bloomberg

KOREA

National Pension Service (NPS) and Korea Teachers’ Credit Union (KTCU) are among the major South Korean institutional investors that will invest in a combined $390 million mandate in Calpine Corp.

The Korean consortium has committed to a continuation fund of ECP Management, a US investment firm focused on energy transition and decarbonisation infrastructure assets, according to investment banking sources on Thursday (May 19). ECP wholly owns Calpine and is set to create the continuation fund investing in a 20% stake in Calpine.

Calpine is one of America’s largest generators of electricity from natural gas and geothermal resources with around 80 power plants across the US.

Source: Korean Investors

MALAYSIA

Sovereign wealth fund Khazanah has appointed South Korea’s SK ecoplant as its strategic partner in a 30% stake in state-owned waste management firm Cenviro.

The Korean firm was selected as the optimal minority shareholding partner to support Cenviro’s growth in the region, following a multilateral bid process, said Khazanah.

Source: The Edge

The Malaysian state of Sarawak is in talks with Norway about setting up a state sovereign wealth fund, its premier Abang Johari Tun Openg said last week (May 14) after a meeting with Norges Bank Investment Management officials during his recent visit to Oslo.

He said Sarawak, home to aluminium smelters and hydroelectric dams in Southeast Asia, would try to achieve the same standard and success as the Norwegian sovereign wealth fund. Norges Bank manages The Government Pension Fund Global of Norway.

Source: Business Times

SINGAPORE

Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC is in talks to take up a significant minority stake in direct-to-consumer (D2C) beauty and personal care brand Wow Skin Science for $75 million, according to the Economic Times.

The deal would give the company a post-money valuation of $400 to $420 million, said the Times which obtained the information from sources it said were close to the deal. According to a recent report by Statista, the revenue in India’s beauty and personal care market amounts to $26.07 billion in FY22 and is expected to grow at 4.64% between 2022 and 2026.

Source: Economic Times

Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC has co-led a 100 million euro ($105 million) series C funding in German-based digital solar platform Zolar, according to the latter’s website.

Other investors include co-leader Energy Impact Partners and existing shareholders Inven Capital, Heratcore Capital, Statkraft Ventures, and Pirate Impact Capital.

The company provides residents looking for green energy with photovoltaic system solutions for their homes. Its app also controls the solar power supply for homeowners.  

Source: DealstreetAsia Zolar    

TAIWAN

Taiwanese open-ended funds and exchange-traded funds drew NT$77.5 billion (US$2.61 billion) of net inflows in March, up 12% from NT$69.2 billion a year ago in spite of volatile global markets, thanks to strong interest in large-caps and technology stocks, according to Morningstar Inc.

Total assets of the funds as of end-March was NT$5.02 trillion compared with NT$4.48 trillion a year ago, the investment consultancy said in a report on May 17. Equity funds were the bright spot as investors channelled more money into local large-cap and technology stock funds.

Source: Asia Asset Management

Cathay Life Insurance and CTBC Venture Capital have agreed to commit a total of $35 million to two private equity (PE) Funds, according to separate stock exchange filings.

Cathay Life, the insurance subsidiary of Taiwanese conglomerate Cathay Financial Holdings, has committed $30 million to Ares Insurance Partners, a PE fund managed by Los Angeles-based buyout firm Ares Management.

Source: DealStreetAsia

Taiwan Life Insurance is considering injecting capital into its subsidiary CTBC Insurance, as the unit has been paying out about NT$5 million (US$168,294) per day in compensation for Covid-19 claims, parent company CTBC Financial Holding told an investors’ conference in Taipei on May 18.

The amount of the injection has not been finalised  as the number of claims affecting CTBC Insurance’s financial strength would change as the government changes its disease prevention measures such as the isolation rules, CTBC Financial spokeswoman Chiu Ya-ling said, adding the cash injection would not reduce Taiwan Life’s capital adequacy significantly.

Source: Taipei Times

VIETNAM

Vietnam’s finance ministry fired its State Securities Commission chairman, according to a posting on the ministry’s website, making him the highest-ranking casualty amid an ongoing investigation into stock trading irregularities.

Tran Van Dung was sacked for committing “serious wrongdoings,” the posting said, adding that deputy finance minister Nguyen Duc Chi will temporarily replace him at the commission from May 19. Vietnam has launched a wide-ranging crackdown on securities violations against a number of officials for alleged market manipulation and “illicit profits” gains between 2015 and 2020.

Source: Bloomberg

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