The President of the Government, Pedro Sánchez, will meet this Tuesday with Dilham Pillay, CEO of Temasek, one of the investment arms of Singapore, within the framework of the World Economic Forum in Davos (Switzerland). The sovereign fund of the Asian country, which is one of the largest in the world together with the state funds of Norway, China or the United Arab Emirates, already has interests in Spain, especially in the transport of liquefied natural gas through the company Pavilion Energy .
In 2020, this subsidiary company of Temasek bought the liquefied natural gas business from Iberdrola and, shortly after, joined Gasnam, the Iberian Peninsula hydrogen and gas transportation association.
In recent months - and coinciding with the energy crisis caused by the war in Ukraine, which has revived the project to convert Spain into a gas warehouse for the European Union to reduce dependence on Russia—, Temasek requested an appointment at the "first level", according to government sources. That meeting will take place at the Davos Forum, "after several technical meetings", the same sources have confirmed to elDiario.es.
The Executive remarks that the sovereign fund of Singapore has interests beyond liquefied natural gas, and that it has been attracted by "the dynamism of the recovery and the impact of European funds".
These "other" interests are related to the "priorities" of the Recovery Plan itself, among which are digitization and the energy transition.
"Singapore has two sovereign wealth funds, GIC and Temasek. The latter tends to take more risks and has entered financial services companies [tiene participaciones importantes en VISA, Mastercard, BlackRock (hasta un 4%) o en los principales bancos chinos]. The former has bought a lot of technology in China. It is difficult to know what might interest him in Spain, but I would not rule out that the President is looking for him to invest in an electric battery project because it is an important sector for Singapore and it is clear that Spain has a comparative advantage in the automotive components sector", explains Alicia García-Herrero, chief economist for Asia-Pacific at Natixis.
Recently, Volkswagen, the second largest car manufacturer in the world after Toyota, announced an investment of nearly 3,000 million euros in total to build a battery gigafactory in Sagunto (Valencia). An initiative promoted by the Strategic project for the recovery and economic transformation (Perte) of the electric and connected vehiclefinanced with European money.
The Temasek fund itself has told elDiario.es that "as it is a private meeting, there is nothing more to comment", in response to several questions about the meeting of its CEO with Pedro Sánchez.
“Temasek has an office in Brussels and invests in Europe. It is not a new trend. Singapore has been trying to diversify out of Asia for a long time. Spain has come out of the pandemic well and is receiving European funds to modernize the economy, so Singapore surely has interest in assessing opportunities", continues Alicia García-Herrero.
According to data from the sovereign wealth fund itself, two thirds of its investments are in Asia, and a quarter in Singapore. "Our global portfolio spans a wide spectrum of industries: financial services; telecommunications, media and technology; consumer; transportation and industry; as well as health and agri-food [tiene un 3% de la alemana Bayer]", details.
GIC, another Singaporean investment arm, has been investing in the real estate sector in Spain, and has significant holdings in the capital of Axiare, GMP or Azora, all of them Socimis (Listed Real Estate Investment Companies).
Although its main investment in a Spanish company is the 7% it reaches in Cellnex, the largest communication tower company in Europe, which it entered indirectly through an investment vehicle led by the Benetton family and then continued to gain weight until get a seat on the company's board of directors, which is held by Alexandra Reich.
According to Tax Justice Network, Singapore is the third country in the world most condescending to financial secrecy, after the United States and Switzerland. Namely, favors the concealment of assets and patrimonial portfolios of companies and individuals.
The Asian country has just 5.5 million inhabitants. Its economic activity is about a third of that of Spain, so the GDP per capita is one of the 10 largest in the world. In recent decades, it has experienced strong growth, with characteristics similar to that of the other tigers in the region, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea.
Together with Singapore, Pedro Sánchez's other priority at the Davos Forum is to present the latest microchip Perte to the industry, which will be approved by the Council of Ministers this Tuesday and will be explained by the first vice president, Nadia Calviño.