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Temasek opens first European office

Singapore's state investment company - which has been active in secondaries in the past - has formally opened in London and plans a New York office opening this year.

Singapore-based Temasek has opened an office in London to support its investments in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, according to a statement.

“Our new office in London serves as a home base to advise Temasek on investment and partnership opportunities with growth companies here in Europe and further afield,” said Boon Heng Lim, chairman, in the statement.

The office is the first one in Europe for Temasek. Other locations where the company has a presence are Singapore, Brazil, China, India, Mexico and Vietnam.

The company expects to open another new office in New York later this year.

Investor sentiment in general has been muted for Asia as the US Federal Reserve’s asset buying program winds down and GDP growth slows in major markets. At the same time, investors are warming to the US and Europe, where economic recovery is gathering momentum, according to PEI’s Drew Wilson.

Secondaries Investor understands Temasek is in advanced talks to sell nearly $1 billion of fund shares to Ardian on the secondaries market.

Temasek’s current investments in Europe, or those with exposure to European markets, include: Repsol 6 percent; Evonik Industries (4.6 percent); Standard Chartered (18.2 percent); Lloyd’s Banking Group (<1 percent) and Markit Group (10 percent).

In addition, earlier this month Temasek bought a 25 percent interest in Hong Kong-based health and beauty retailer A.S. Watson, paying owner Hutchinson Whampoa HK$44 billion ($5.67 billion; €4.1 billion) for the stake, Private Equity International reported earlier.

“Though AS Watson is a Hong Kong company, this investment would increase our exposure to Europe,” Lim said in a separate statement. “About half the group’s stores are in Europe, with many of them in central and Eastern Europe.”

Temasek, a Singapore-government owned investment company, was incorporated in 1974. It had a $171 billion (S$215 billion) portfolio at the close of the last financial year on 31 March 2013.[hr]

Original reporting by Drew Wilson