TOP NEWS OF THE WEEK:
Singapore’s Temasek has successfully led a Series D financing round of about $150 million for China’s JAKA Robotics, a leading collaborative robot company, according to a post on JAKA’s website on July 21.
Other participants in the fundraiser, which took place in the first half of 2022, include TrueLight Capital, Softbank Vision Fund 2 and Prosperity7 Ventures, the diversified growth fund of Aramco Ventures.
The funding will support the globalisation of JAKA Robotics and the research and development of new generations of collaborative robots with more flexibility and intelligence, said the statement. The Series D financing marks an industry record again set by JAKA Robotics, as the Series C and C+ financing rounds in 2021 had also set an industry record at $50 million.
The California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the biggest US pension fund, lost 6.1% on its investments in the latest fiscal year, its worst performance in more than a decade.
The drop was driven by a 13.1% decline in publicly traded stocks and a 14.5% slide in fixed-income securities, according to preliminary results.
“Our traditional diversification strategies were less effective than expected, as we saw both public equity and fixed-income assets fall in tandem,” chief investment officer Nicole Musicco said in the statement.
South Korea’s finance ministry has recommended that the National Pension Service (NPS) actively hedges its growing foreign investments to help the country shore up the won's value against the US dollar.
An official from the Ministry of Economy and Finance said on July 19 that the ministry, along with the Bank of Korea, has recently suggested that the NPS take measures to hedge against foreign exchange risk, given its growing influence in the foreign exchange market.
Such a move could lead to the NPS giving up possible forex gains from the foreign exchange rate fluctuations.
The NPS, the world's third-largest pension fund, has a huge appetite for equity and bond investments abroad, which requires it to sell won for foreign currency.
The NPS made net purchases of about $10 billion of foreign bonds and stocks in the first five months of 2022, central bank data shows. As a cause of won sales this year, its activity came on top of a record first-half trade deficit of $10.36 billion and the $12.53 billion that foreign investors had pulled from the country's stock market by June.
MORE INVESTMENT NEWS:
The Future Fund has announced two new senior internal appointments to its investment team.
Tammi Fisher has been appointed as the head of alternatives, reporting to deputy CIO of portfolio construction, Ben Samild, while James Waldron has been appointed as head of credit, reporting to deputy CIO of private markets, Alicia Gregory.
The appointments come as the sovereign wealth fund has restructured its investment team following the resignation of former chief investment officer Sue Brake.
Fisher has been with the agency since February 2021 as the director of private equity, while Waldron has been acting in his new position as head of credit since June. He has been with the company since 2009 and was most recently director of debt.
Source: Future Fund
The Australian Retirement Trust (ART) plans to invest up to A$150 million for a subordinated debt tranche, with QIC as investment manager, to finance new social and affordable housing in Queensland.
Up to 1,200 new homes are to be delivered through the partnership, largely consisting of social and affordable housing, with construction to commence on all projects by 2025.
Through the partnership with QIC, ART is making capital available alongside the Queensland Government to enable delivery of seven projects in the initial stage by the QIC-BHC Social Housing Consortium , representing nearly 600 dwellings.
Source: Australian Retirement Trust
Australian climate technology company Rumin8 has attracted A$7 million ($4.87 million) in equity funding from the likes of the Aware Super Sentient WA Growth Fund and US-based Prelude Ventures.
Rumin8’s lead product replicates the methane reductions of red seaweed (Asparagopsis), but
instead of harvesting from the marine ecosystem, the plant’s methane busting bioactive is
manufactured and transformed into a scalable, stable feed supplement in Rumin8’s quality-controlled laboratories.
The investment will go into accelerating the development of Rumin8’s products to make a more noticeable difference in global emissions.
Source: Aware Super
Thornburg Investment Management’s wholly foreign-owned Shanghai unit has been granted a Qualified Domestic Limited Partnership (QDLP) licence in China, according to an announcement by the company on July 21.
The licence will allow onshore qualified investors to invest in Thornburg’s investment solutions, including multi-asset, global fixed income and equity strategies.
Thornburg Investment Management (Shanghai) has assembled a dedicated team with expertise in business development and operations to manage the QDLP business. The team will provide services to qualified investors in China, with support from its US-based global management and investment teams, headquartered in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Source: Thornburg Investment Management
Digital healthcare provider Kry has secured over $160 million in funding from new and existing partners including the Teachers’ Venture Growth, which is part of the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, and P Capital Partners, according to a company’s statement on July 21.
Current investors Index Ventures, Accel, Creandum and Project A also participated in the fundraiser. The funds will be used to support Kry’s strategy to embed digital into the backbone of healthcare systems in Europe and improve healthcare for millions of patients.
Founded in 2014 in Sweden, Kry now has a wide presence in Europe, including the UK, Germany, France and Norway. Working in partnership with healthcare professionals, governments and partners across Europe, Kry seeks to improve patient access to both primary and specialist care via its technology and physical care centres.
Kyobo Life Insurance and its second-largest shareholder - a consortium led by Affinity Equity Partners - are blaming each other for its recent failure to carry out an initial public offering.
The blame game follows the decision of the nation’s sole bourse operator Korea Exchange on July 8 to reject an initial public offering by Kyobo, without citing a reason.
Market watchers, however, cited Kyobo’s longstanding legal dispute with the consortium, which is led by the Hong Kong-based private equity firm, as the reason behind the Exchange’s latest move.
Source: The Korea Herald
South Korea’s KB Asset Management is set to list its Balhae Infrastructure Fund (Balhae) on the country’s main bourse Kospi in the second half of this year.
It is expected to be the first homegrown infrastructure fund to succeed in an initial public offering (IPO), as well as the second public infrastructure fund, following the listing of the Macquarie Korea Infrastructure Fund (MKIF) on the Kospi in 2006.
Balhae has chosen KB Securities as IPO lead manager and is aiming for a public offering in October, according to investment banking sources. Its corporate value is expected to reach more than 1.5 trillion won ($1.1 billion) after the IPO, said the sources.
The Balhae fund was created in 2006 with an aggregate commitment of 1.2 trillion won ($916 million) from 17 Korean limited partners. Among them are the National Pension Service (NPS) and Kookmin Bank which both injected 150 billion won for a 12.61% stake each.
Samsung Life Insurance, the Government Employees Pension Service (GEPS) and Teachers’ Pension (TP) also each invested 100 billion won for an 8.4% stake each.
Source: The Korea Economic Daily
The Employees Provident Fund (EPF) has ceased to be a substantial shareholder of MyNews Holdings, the convenience retail chain said in a statement on July 22.
This came after a 1.75 million-share offloading which slashed the pension fund’s stake in MyNews to 4.93% or 33.65 million shares. The EPF began trimming its stake in MyNews on October 6, 2021, with the disposal of 45,300 shares, which pared its shareholding to 45.36 million or a 6.65% stake.
The fund’s shareholding in MyNews dropped to 35.4 million shares or 5.19% on July 18, after it sold 540,000 shares, according to a filing on July 21.
Source: The Edge
The newly appointed head of the Philippine Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) said he will leverage his experience in banking and finance to strengthen the state-run pension fund for public-sector workers.
Arnulfo Veloso, who was elected GSIS president and general manager at a special board meeting on July 21 said, “After three decades of working in banks, it’s now time for me to use what I have learned in international finance and banking to contribute to nation-building. I now carry the responsibility of making sure that the retirement benefits of government employees are well-managed.”
Veloso was elected by the GSIS board of trustees chaired by retired Supreme Court chief justice Lucas Bersamin. He takes over the reins from former GSIS chief Rolando Macasaet.
As head of the country’s largest pension fund, public or private, Veloso will be in charge of growing and safeguarding P1.54 trillion ($27.4 billion) in assets of some 1.5 million government employees and pensioners.
Homegrown financial services company Singlife with Aviva has become the first local entity in Singapore to be recognised as a signatory for the United Nations’ Principles for Sustainable Insurance (PSI) within its first year of operations, according to a company statement on July 21.
The UN PSI is a global sustainability framework and initiative of the United Nations’ Environment Programme Finance Initiative. It is the largest collaborative programme between the UN and the insurance industry to address environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks and opportunities to foster a healthy, safe, resilient and sustainable society.
Singlife has co-seeded several sustainable funds since the start of 2022, committing $50 million (S$69.6 million) to the Altrium Sustainability Fund I, managed by Azalea Investment Management, indirectly owned by state investment firm Temasek. The insurer has also appointed European sustainability data provider Matter to increase the company’s oversight of its sustainability performance.
Source: Singlife with Aviva
Cloversoft, a homegrown manufacturer of bamboo tissue in Singapore, has raised an undisclosed seven-figure sum in seed funding from Apricot Capital, the investment vehicle of the Teo family behind instant coffee maker Super Group.
The funds will help Cloversoft expand to international markets and conduct research and development into more eco-friendly household products, the company said in a press release on July 18. It is looking to expand to Indonesia, Vietnam and the US by the end of 2023.
Founded in 2014, Cloversoft has thus far been self-funded by its founders, former HSBC investment bankers Angela Sim and Lynn Yeo. The company said that it has seen a three-fold growth year-on-year in sales on average and has a growing customer base in Asia-Pacific markets including Cambodia, Myanmar and Taiwan.
Source: Business Times