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CIC and Noble Enter into Investment and Cooperation Agreement

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Press Release states, “The Noble Group (SGX: NOBL) is pleased to announce today an agreement to place 573,000,000 number of shares, for a total consideration of approximately USD 850,000,000 to China Investment Corporation (“CIC”) at a price of SGD2.1137 per share. The placement comprised of 438,000,000 newly issued shares by the Company and 135,000,000 shares from trusts associated with the interests of Noble founder and CEO Richard Elman. The placement is subject to approval of the respective boards of directors of Noble Group and CIC and final legal documentation.

The placement was the result of extensive discussions between the two parties and underscores the expertise the Noble Group has developed in supply chain management and the distribution of commodities, particularly agricultural products. Noble’s diverse agricultural activities include farm production in Argentina, Uruguay, and Brazil which is linked to an internal logistic and storage capability. Access to export markets is further supported by 5 owned port facilities throughout South America. Noble’s other agricultural assets include crushing plants and sugar refineries.

The newly issued shares will provide the Noble Group with additional capital to pursue strategic investments in key agricultural markets globally.

The shares sold by interests associated with Mr. Elman represent a small fraction of his holdings in the Noble Group and are only the second such sale by Mr. Elman since he founded the Group. It is the intention of Mr. Elman to use some of the proceeds associated with the sale of his interests in Noble to fund a charitable foundation with a focus on fostering international relations amongst Asian nations. The sale by Mr. Elman in no way reduces Mr. Elman’s commitment to Noble Group, the company which he founded and continues to be involved in day to day management.

CIC and Noble have agreed to enter into this partnership for the purpose of jointly investing in infrastructure assets and supply chain management related to agricultural commodities. It is the intention of both companies to bring to bear their respective strengths to achieve results which are satisfactory to their respective shareholders and bring benefits to consumers of agricultural products worldwide.

Mr. Elman commented “We are all extremely pleased with the investment by CIC in Noble and heartened that they, like us, evaluate the evolution and success of a company over decades as opposed to merely fiscal quarters. We think the opportunities to work together over the coming decades will be tremendous and we look forward to working together.”

Merrill Lynch (Singapore) Pte. Limited acted as the sole placement agent for Noble Group. J.P. Morgan Securities (Asia Pacific) Limited acted as financial advisor to CIC.”

read more: Press Release: The Noble Group

Anne Sheehan to Retire, CalSTRS 1st Corp Gov Director

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Anne Sheehan, the first Corporate Governance Director at California State Teachers’ Retirement System (CalSTRS) and the current one, plans to retire March 30, 2018. Sheehan’s team manages an activist portfolio worth around US$ 4.1 billion, seeking to influence and help turnaround its large portfolio holdings in select public companies. Sheehan was hired back in 2008.

Christopher J. Ailman, CalSTRS’ chief investment officer, said in a organization release, “Anne has been my most unconventional, best hire.”

A replacement search is underway.

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Temasek Rides with Google on Go-Jek

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Singapore’s Temasek Holdings has reportedly joined forces with Google LLC and Chinese on-demand service provider Meituan-Dianping as part of a US$ 1.2 billion fundraising effort for Indonesian ride-hailing startup Go-Jek that has put regional rivals like Uber and Singapore-based Grab on notice.

Screen Shot Go-Jek, January 19, 2018

Although exact figures for individual stakes have so far been kept secret, the new infusion of capital puts Go-Jek, incorporated as PT Aplikasi Karya Anak Bangsa, at a valuation of roughly US$ 4 billion. Samsung Venture Investment Corporation also participated in funding, as well as existing private equity investors KKR & Co. LP and Warburg Pincus LLC.

Google’s direct involvement in Go-Jek’s growth – rather than through its Google Ventures unit – highlights its faith in the latent potential of ride-sharing services – and the tech-enabled consumer services sector as a whole – in Southeast Asia. Home to more than 640 million potential customers, the region was identified as the fastest growing emerging market for e-commerce globally in an industry report published jointly by Google and Temasek last December. According to data compiled by the internet-giant and the Singaporean sovereign wealth fund, ride-sharing in Southeast Asia is expected to grow into a US$ 20.1 billion industry by 2025, compared to US$ 5.1 billion in 2017.

2011 Origin Story

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Temasek Leads Series B Round for Chinese Robo Startup Rokid

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Rokid Corporation Limited, a Chinese robotics startup that specializes in smart devices assisted by artificial intelligence (AI), announced the closing of a Series B extension round through its WeChat account on January 18, 2018. The capital-raising effort was led by Singapore’s Temasek Holdings, with additional contributions from Credit Suisse Group, China Development Bank’s overseas investment arm CDIB Capital International, and existing investor IDG Capital. Although Rokid did not disclose the size or terms of the deal in its announcement, the technology company reportedly secured US$ 100 million in funding.

Founded in 2014 by chief executive Mingming Zhu and chief financial officer Eric Wong, Rokid’s core products consist of its smart speakers, the Rokid Pebble and Alien, as well as the newly debuted Rokid Glass augmented reality spectacles. The company’s most exciting offering, however, is its Full Stack Open Platform, a collaborative effort made in partnership with Alibaba that gives third-party developers backdoor access Rokid’s software suite and hardware integration and will – it hopes – help give its offerings the accessibility and recognition they need to thrive outside its home market of China.

Rokid is particularly keen on bringing its products to the U.S., where it believes it can challenge Google and Amazon’s dominance in the smart home arena. Amazon makes the Amazon Echo, while Google has Google Home.

The Series B

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