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Singapore’s Temasek buys into Virgin Mobile Latin America

16 May 2014

(AFP) Singapore’s state investment firm Temasek Holdings has invested in Virgin Mobile Latin America (VMLA) in its latest move to extend its global reach into other regions and sectors.

The wealth fund giant confirmed in a statement it was the lead investor in a new round of capital funding for VMLA totalling $86 million, but did not give a breakdown of its share.

“The equity will help launch the Virgin Mobile brand in Mexico in 2014 and Brazil in 2015,” Temasek said in a statement posted on its website on Thursday.

It said the investment would also “fund growth and expansion opportunities as they arise in the region, including the company’s existing operations in Chile and Colombia.”

Tweaking its global portfolio, Temasek has recently invested substantially in emerging sectors such as retail and African resources to ensure future growth as it reduces heavy reliance on the financial sector.
The telecoms, media and technology sector make up 24 percent of Temasek’s Sg$215 billion ($171 billion) global portfolio, compared with 31 percent in financials.

While anchored in Asia, Temasek has also said it is on the lookout for investments in other regions such as Latin America, which accounts for just two percent of its worldwide holdings. It has offices in Brazil and Mexico.

VLMA said in a separate statement that it had also secured an agreement to extend its debt facility to a total of $41.5 million with the World Bank-linked International Finance Corporation and the Central American Mezzanine Investment Fund II LP.

The telco, founded in 2010, does not own its own wireless network infrastructure and relies on leased capacity from third-party networks.

It is adding more than 100,000 new subscribers a month and will soon reach one million customers in Latin America, according to the company.

Temasek is listed as one of the top 10 global players by the US-based Sovereign Wealth Fund Institute.

Its wide spectrum of interests spans banking, telecoms, transport, life sciences and property. More than 70 percent of its investments are in Asia.