Singapore investment firm Temasek Holdings has sold its stake in British bank Barclays at a loss of 500-600 million pounds (815.38-978.45 million US), a report said on Thursday.
Unnamed officials were quoted by the Straits Times as saying that Temasek had disposed of the shares, estimated at two percent, between December and January. However, the state-linked firm declined to comment.
“It is inappropriate for us to comment on unsourced reports,” a Temasek spokesman said in a statement to AFP.
Temasek and the Government of Singapore Investment Corp, the city-state’s other state investment vehicle, poured billions into Western banks but have seen their holdings’ value dive as they were hit by the global economic crisis.
Last month, Temasek announced it had sold its stake in Bank of America without giving any details, although industry analysts calculated it lost about 4.6 billion US dollars in the transaction.
Temasek’s chief executive Ho Ching said last month that it would reduce its exposure to Western nations and increase its focus in Asia and other emerging markets such as Latin America and Russia.
“As Asia continues to develop, it continues to de-risk. We are increasingly more confident on Asia’s future,” Ho said.
Finance minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam defended Temasek’s track record, saying it made a net gain of 39 billion US dollars over five years from 2003.
He also said Temasek as an investor should not be based on any individual transaction but on how it performed over the years.
“Temasek is a long-term investor... but being a long-term investor does not mean being locked into every individual investment, regardless of major changes in the environment or a new investment proposition,” he told parliament recently.