Olam – Is it a bailout using public funds?

Olam – Is it a bailout using public funds?
Chua Chin Leng aka redbean March 20th, 2014


Olam’s stock prices from 21 Sep 2012 to 20 Dec 2012
The acquisition of Olam by Temasek is raising eyebrows and frowns from many quarters.Kenneth Jeyaratnam has commented negatively on it. Below is Christopher Balding’sarticle on the buyout of Olam. Temasek seems to be very bullish in this commodity trading company. It came out in full support when it was shorted down by Muddy Waters a year ago. Now it is making an offer with the possibility to buying over the company at a high price of $2.23 when it could have had the company for a song when it was under attack. Why? Why buy at such a huge premium and not when it was about 90c? Another case of buying high? OPM?

Why is Temasek supporting a foreign owned company to want to commit $2b on it when it could buy it for less than half the present price? Another long term strategy stuff?
‘Just had to write about this interesting little tidbit I saw today about Temasek and Olam. According to news reports, Temasek through a subsidiary is going to buy Olam at a 12% premium to the current share price. This is an interesting development and to me raises a couple of questions. First, I am intrigued that Temasek is paying a 12% premium after the stock has already increased 30% since the first of the year.
This means that Temasek is either paying nearly a 45% premium to what it could have paid just two months ago and is really slow to spot a value in its own portfolio or insiders were buying the stock in advance of a buy out offer they knew was coming. This 30% increase is even more abnormal considering the Straits Times (Index) is essentially flat for the year. Neither scenario is particularly attractive.
Second, this seems like a very oddly timed buy out. Prior to the first of the year, Olam had traded primarily in the $1.50-1.75 SGD range and this follows on the announcement that profit declined 13%. If Temasek felt this strongly about Olam and its long term business prospects, it would seem to be a better proposition to buy at the bottom of the market because you know the business well and believe the market is undervaluing the business. Not wait until there is a 30% increase in two months and then offer a 12% premium. The general philosophy of long term investors is buy low and sell high. I am just a professor though, so what do I know.’
Christopher Balding


About bambooinnovator
Kee Koon Boon (“KB”) is the co-founder and director of HERO Investment Management which provides specialized fund management and investment advisory services to the ARCHEA Asia HERO Innovators Fund (www.heroinnovator.com), the only Asian SMID-cap tech-focused fund in the industry. KB is an internationally featured investor rooted in the principles of value investing for over a decade as a fund manager and analyst in the Asian capital markets who started his career at a boutique hedge fund in Singapore where he was with the firm since 2002 and was also part of the core investment committee in significantly outperforming the index in the 10-year-plus-old flagship Asian fund. He was also the portfolio manager for Asia-Pacific equities at Korea’s largest mutual fund company. Prior to setting up the H.E.R.O. Innovators Fund, KB was the Chief Investment Officer & CEO of a Singapore Registered Fund Management Company (RFMC) where he is responsible for listed Asian equity investments. KB had taught accounting at the Singapore Management University (SMU) as a faculty member and also pioneered the 15-week course on Accounting Fraud in Asia as an official module at SMU. KB remains grateful and honored to be invited by Singapore’s financial regulator Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to present to their top management team about implementing a world’s first fact-based forward-looking fraud detection framework to bring about benefits for the capital markets in Singapore and for the public and investment community. KB also served the community in sharing his insights in writing articles about value investing and corporate governance in the media that include Business Times, Straits Times, Jakarta Post, Manual of Ideas, Investopedia, TedXWallStreet. He had also presented in top investment, banking and finance conferences in America, Italy, Sydney, Cape Town, HK, China. He has trained CEOs, entrepreneurs, CFOs, management executives in business strategy & business model innovation in Singapore, HK and China.

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