Temasek looks to step up India investment pace
Photo Credit: Reuters

Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings plans to enhance its exposure to India in coming years, as it seeks to tap into opportunities arising out of a growing economy and an expanding middle class.

Temasek says its exposure to India is now around $11 billion. In percentage terms, this has risen to 5% of Temasek’s total assets in the year through March 2019 from 4% the year before.

“Our aspiration is to step up the firm’s India exposure even further,” Promeet Ghosh, Temasek’s deputy India head, told VCCircle on Thursday.

“There are some strong underpinnings of long-term growth in India such as a rising middle-income [population], which is creating affluence, and rising urbanisation,” Ghosh said.

Temasek’s plan to expand in India come at a time when it has warned of slowing global growth and cautioned about its investment return outlook.

Earlier this week, the firm reported its smallest rise in its portfolio in three years. Temasek's portfolio grew 1.6% for the year through March 2019, far slower than the 12% increase the year before. Total shareholder return slipped to 1.5% in local currency terms from 12% the year before.

However, the firm is positive about the way the consumption and technology themes are playing out in India.

“We've been consistently investing about $1 billion every year in India,” said R Venkatesh, India managing director at Temasek. “We hope to keep that pace going.”

Temasek and its sister concern GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, are among the most prolific private equity-style investors in India.

In the year through March 2019, Temasek invested more than $1 billion in Indian companies such as AU Small Finance Bank, BillDesk, Dr Agarwal's Health Care Ltd, cab-hailing company Ola, payments company Pine Labs and UST Global.

It also made a fund-level investment in the Indian government’s National Investment and Infrastructure Fund.

The firm fully exited Info Edge (India) Ltd and GMR Infrastructure Ltd in the last financial year. Besides, it sold a marginal stake in Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Ltd as part of a portfolio management exercise.

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