More than US$10 billion in losses

"Temasek Selling Merrill Lynch Half or total of 87m shares have been sold off at a loss, according to US recorded filings. By Seah Chiang Nee Jul 24, 2008 Temasek Holdings has sold off half its ill-timed investment in Merrill Lynch - or about 87m shares, according to a mutual funds report on institutional trades on US stocks. The online report, MFFAIRS (Mutual Fund Facts About Individual Stocks), reported it sold off 86,949,594 shares (50%), leaving a current holdings of 86,949,594 shares (50%), according to the filings made public.... At that price Temasek would have suffered a loss of $17 a share - or a total loss of about US$1.48b for the 87mil shares.... Huge paper losses The disposal leaves Temasek Holdings and the Government Investment Corporation (GIC) still holding substantial parts of big troubled Western banks. Its remaining investments in UBS (Switzerland), Citigroup, Barclays and Merrill Lynch - at an original cost of US$21.88b - have declined on by some 47 percent in value. That is a paper loss of US$10.28b. However, Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew had said these investments were made as a long-term strategy of 30 years...." The above was extracted from www.littlespeck.com Murphy's Law working? Things that can go wrong will go wrong? When I first posted on the acquisition of these top international banks, I was a little optimistic that this was a god sent golden opportunity to be a big player in the internation financial market. I was also expecting that enough groundworks were put into it and the risk factor of this turning bad has been factored in. And should the investment becomes a bad deal, the losses are limited and we are protected from digging a big hole for our reserves. I am feeling very depressed now. It was a huge investment, an opportunistic one as someone has called it, but betting with such a big sum of money cannot be taken lightly. Didn't the financial experts cover their arses just in case it goes like what we are seeing? In stocks we always talk of trading in short term but often we are caught and short term trading turns out to be a bad long term investment that could eventually melt away. This is going to be a really long term investment now.


Anonymous said...

I think they are stuck in deep shit now and trying to wriggle their way out by saying that those are 'investment mistakes but no one benefitted from it'. But GIC obviously paid for it and they are trying to squeeze more money out of Singaporeans.

So, the long term strategy thing was all a farce. What does the guy in the Istana have to say about this since his job is to guard the reserves? Or does he really have a say in all this?

Mockingbird said...

Yup. Buying chunky stakes in loss-making banks is definitely a long-term investment. These banks would probably not turn around from their losses until at least 3 years down the road.

Anonymous said...

anything is a good bye if you have deep pockets and can wait 100 years

Anonymous said...

Long term? Think about this.. If another bank comes along to buy UBS or Citi or ML at a new level. There is a forced cut loss unless you want to buy it over and outbid the other party.. this part won't happen will it? SWF right?
So don't think the 'Long Term' can save you if the 'investment' turns sour and needs to be 'rescued' by another stronger bidder.
Food for Thought.

The SS

Anonymous said...

It was a massive error of judgement. But Temasek seems to be famous for this kind of farce. Talk about 'jinx' seems apt. Blame the one running the show.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

hi SS,

welcome to the blog.

in trading stocks, cutting loss position is very impt. if there is any cut loss position, it should have been done much earlier, 10% or 20%.

the loss now is massive.

for this kind of investment, a lot of due diligence and alternative plans will be worked out for differenent scenarios. these few cases seem very wild in the decision making process. utterly unprofessional.

Anonymous said...

We have been ingrained to think they are careful with SIN money, they presented themselves are those who study the market carefully before they act. That they have plan and counter-plan, they weight out decisions carefully... Do we continue to believe they really know what they are doing? or call it BS.

10 billion dollars divide by 2 million SIN = USD 5,000 each.

I was just wondering why there are so much partying these days in town. Partying is a form of medicine. it makes you forget the loss.

Anonymous said...

That guy sitting in the Istana is collecting millions in salary & wasting more SIN money and he is the man SUPPOSEDLY responsible to guard our reserves and the fact nothing was said is telling.

Anonymous said...

Are you refering to the prataman next to Singapore Plaza?

Anonymous said...

looks like this roger fellow has got it right shorting the banks' stocks; he shud be invited for tea and offered an advisory or a mentor position. we are badly in need of such talents.

Anonymous said...

From Reuters,

Denial from Temasek.

Temasek stake in Merrill unchanged since March-sources

From the report:

Merrill shares, which closed at $29.04 on Thursday, are 40 percent below Temasek's purchase price.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

some call it investment. but the bottom line is that it is all gambling. place your bets. win you laugh all the way to the bank and pronounce to the world that you are a genious.

lose, keep quite, and bet a few more to recover your loss, hopefully. gambling with other people's money is a great privilege only reserved for a very few.

Chua Chin Leng aka redbean said...

Only 5 million sold

Seah Chiang Nee has corrected his earlier post to confirm that only5 mil shares had been sold. And this is likely to skirt through the 10% restriction placed on foreign ownership. Technically Temasek is holding to a 43% loss based on the share price of Merrilly Lynch then and now.

Temasek is in for the long haul and probably some contingency plans have already been in place. Yes, Merrill Lynch will be likely called Merrilly Lynch when we become the major shareholder.

In the meantime, don't expect any heads to roll. We cannot afford to lose the few super talents that we have.