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Temasek freezes staff pay, cuts top execs’ bonus on coronavirus fears
Photo Credit: Reuters

Singapore state investment firm Temasek Holdings has decided to freeze the salaries of all its employees and cut the bonus of senior management to raise funds with an aim to fight infectious diseases after the coronavirus outbreak.

Temasek said in a statement on Tuesday it was freezing wages for the April compensation cycle as the coronavirus crisis that began in China continues to spread globally.

It didn’t specify the duration of the freeze, saying only that this would be determined by the market.

The firm also said its senior management will take a partial cut in their bonuses. In addition, the senior staff have voluntarily given up to 5% of their base salaries for one year to Temasek’s staff volunteer initiative T-Touch.

T-Touch supports public health infectious diseases emergencies globally where Temasek makes dollar-for-dollar matching contributions.

Temasek said it has previously implemented salary freezes and reductions several times in the past, including during the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) in 2003 and the global financial crisis a decade ago.

“These actions are part of our commitment to stand as one firm in support of our portfolio companies and the wider community,” the firm said. “It is an important demonstration of our ownership mindset, sharing gains and pains alongside our shareholder, and supporting our wider communities.” 

China accounts for 26% of Temasek’s S$313 billion portfolio. Singapore makes up another 26%, according to its 2019 annual report.

The coronavirus has killed more than 2,500 people in China, most of them at the epicentre in Wuhan district.

Almost 80,000 people have been infected globally, most of them in China. Singapore has confirmed 91 cases thus far, according to the city-state’s health ministry.

The outbreak has caused many countries to put travel bans in place. India, too, is not allowing anyone who was in China after January 15 to enter the country.

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