Thursday, September 10, 2015

On SG Budget Babe's: The Truth About Temasek vs Chee Soon Juan's Claims

A friend of mine asked me to take a stab at the article from SG Budget Babe about Chee Soon Juan's Claims about Temasek (see below).

This was the first time I have come across this blog. But I was impressed by the quality of her writing and her blogpost. (Ok I know, I'm not here to promote other people's blog. I'm here to analyze, so I'll continue)

She had 3 major investigations:

1) Did Temasek really pay $4 billion for Shin Corp, an "investment that ultimately ended up in smoke?"

SG Budget Babe's (SGBB) analysis led to her conclusion that Temasek made a 57% increase in unrealized gain. Therefore, the "investment did not ultimately end up in smoke."

To run my analysis, I analysed various news report and poured through 9 years of Temasek's Annual Reports from 2006 to 2014. My analysis results below.

Based on the analysis, Temasek indeed realized SGD 1.9Bn from the investment in Shin Corp and this is a 61.8% gain over a 9 year period or a CAGR of 5.46%.

Conclusion to Investigation 1: The investment in Temasek did not end up in smoke. Although, the value of Shin Corp fell substantially immediately after the sale, Temasek patiently waited for 9 years before selling it's stake in Shin Corp. 

Although it was a substantial gain of 61.8%, the compounded annual growth rate of this investment was a slightly more modest 5.46%. 

In summary, SG Budget Babe was right in this aspect.

Her second investigation was:

2: Did Temasek really lose "billions through investments in banks like Citigroup and UBS" in 2008?

SG Budget Babe's (SGBB) analysis led to her conclusion that

i) GIC sold it's stake in Citigroup in 2009 for $1.6bn profit. 
ii) She wasn't sure if Temasek who bought Citigroup at it's peak has sold it's stake in Citigroup but she concluded that the share price had increased 70% in just 4 years.

I did some research and came to slightly different conclusions

i) GIC sold it's stake in Citigroup in 2009 for $1.6bn profit. That is correct and widely documented in news sources.

ii) Citigroup share prices did NOT increase 70% in just 4 years. 

Her conclusion that Citigroup shares went up 70% was false. She had failed to account for the 10-1 reverse stock split by Citi in 2011.

In layman term's, a reverse stock split is when a company reduces the number of shares it has.

For example, 

A company has 200 shares outstanding. Each share is worth 10 cents each. The total value of the company is 200 * 10 cents = $20.

If the company did a 10-1 reverse stock split, it would have 20 shares outstanding. However, the total value of the company is still the same at $20. This means that each share of the company will be worth $20 / 20 = $1.

Therefore for a true apples to apples comparison, Citi would be worth about $5 per share and not $50. This is a huge loss from the $29.50 she claimed Temasek bought Citi for in 2007.

However, she can heave a sigh of relief, because Temasek Holdings did not buy Citibank shares in 2007, she got the whole transaction confused with GIC's. (who thankfully made a $1.9bn gain. Phew!) 

Instead, Temasek had invested in Merrill Lynch shares, investing USD4.4bn at USD48 per share in 2007.

So therefore Temasek did not make a loss on Citibank shares. (Phew!)

In conclusion, Temasek's performance isn't as bad as it is made out to be but there were some discrepancies in SGBB's analysis. However this was a case where 2 wrongs happened to make a right.


On the National Swing

Link to Excel File

Temasek's Shin Corp Investment Analysis:

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

Hello Lam,

On Shin Corp investment analysis and deduction, I would certainly prefer your version than SG Budget Bade's, even though both have similar conclusion.

Why? Yours includes detailed data, a proper walk through of your logic, simple-to-understand explanation and deduction for lay-persons and hence, yours is certainly much more convincing (even though you do not have total access to all the raw data).

I think our govt needs to learn from you and take your approach.

Please keep up the good work and thank you again. I look forward to seeing Part 2 of this post, if and when it is available.