Singapore state investor Temasek continues to follow a ‘bottom-up’ approach as it scouts for new investments in India amidst global macro headwinds.
“While we are mindful of the volatilities in fluctuations, they’re not a large cause of concern for us. We have a flexible mandate with longer-term investment horizon, with no obligation to exit at a particular point of time,” Mohit Bhandari, Managing Director, Investment (India) at Temasek, told DealStreetAsia in an interview.
Having been in India for almost 20 years now and invested across all stages and industries, the firm’s investments currently are being guided by four structural trends – digitisation, sustainable living, future of consumption and longer lifespans.
“The market’s fundamentals remain sound and resilient, and we continue to be excited about opportunities here [in India],” said Bhandari, adding how the firm sees “digitisation and sustainable living as megatrends, with pervasive impact across many sectors.”
Since its foray into India in 2004, Temasek’s portfolio exposure to the country, based on its underlying assets, is $16 billion which is 5% of its global $297 billion portfolio. Over half of that is in direct investments which include prominent names such as ride-hailing giant Ola, digital payments platform BillDesk, meat brand Licious, food services company Devyani International and Godrej Consumer Products, which sells everything from soaps and hair care to home care and health.
While these sectors continue to be on Temasek’s radar, going forward, it also looks to spruce up its investments in the financial services sector wherein it counts SBI Life Insurance and ICICI Prudential Life Insurance among its portfolio companies.
“To us, the sector [finanical services] is a proxy for underlying economic growth… we are bullish on growing penetration across products on the back of increasing financialisation, formalisation and digitisation on the back of a robust growing economy,” said Bhandari.
“This reflects in our investments across various sub-segments within the financial services space – banks, life insurance, general insurance, asset management, exchange, fintech and payments.”
Apart from direct investments, Temasek has also pumped in capital in PE and venture capital firms to augment its exposure to diverse sectors, said Bhandari. Examples of its portfolio include its investment in National Infrastructure & Investment Fund (NIIF), through which it seeks to boost infrastructure financing in India; as well as Info Edge Ventures, “an investment we made to further increase our exposure to technology and technology-enabled businesses in the country,” said Bhandari.
Edited excerpts from the interview: