The government of Singapore has quietly purchased a little over 1 per cent stake in India’s largest company Reliance industries. The exact stake purchase date is not known but the Singapore government figures among the list of shareholders with over 1 per cent holding, according to the disclosure for the quarter ended December 31, 2011.
During the same period, Indian government-controlled insurance behemoth LIC appears to have sold a large chunk of shares of India’s most valued company. LIC held as much as 7.18 per cent in Reliance Industries as of September 30, 2011, but by end of December, it doesn’t figure among those with over 1 per cent stake. This could mean the bulk of the Singapore government’s stake in Reliance Industries might have been purchased from LIC.
Although the shareholding disclosure does not disclose the entity through which the Singapore government invested in Reliance Industries, it is believed to be done through the two sovereign wealth funds – GIC and Temasek.
These two also happen to be among the most active sovereign wealth funds in India with investments in some of the biggest firms including Bharti Airtel & Bharti Infratel (the country’s largest telecom firm and its telecom tower arm), Fortis Healthcare (India’s largest healthcare services firm), Tata Sky (the second largest DTH service provider), ICICI Bank (largest private lender) and Ballarpur Paper (housing the commodity paper assets of country’s largest paper company BILT), to name a few.
Reliance is India’s most valuable company in terms of market capitalisation. The company’s scrip rose 3.78 per cent to close at Rs 740.35 on the BSE in a strong Mumbai market on Tuesday. At this price, Singapore government’s stake is currently valued at Rs 2,650 crore (around $510 million). Reliance Industries’ scrip had hit its 52-week low early this month at Rs 687 a share.