Ho Ching announced on her Facebook page today (2 Jul) that Temasek Holdings would delay releasing its annual report until September, which is 2 months after the General Election (GE). It was slated to be released this month originally.
She blamed it on the COVID-19 pandemic. “This year, covid has delayed the financial reporting for many companies, especially those with operations all over the world,” she said. “Many Temasek portfolio companies have businesses that span the globe.”
She said that to accommodate the delay of global consolidation for financial reporting, Temasek’s own annual reporting will be delayed from July till September.
She also gave a glimpse of the financial situation of Temasek, saying that Temasek has been in a net cash position since 2007/2008, just before the global financial crisis hit.
“Although we didn’t anticipate a covid pandemic, the economic indicators had become worrisome since last year,” she added. “So the Temasek team had been making preparations to beef up our balance sheet further. This has come in handy as we work through the covid crisis.”
On Temasek’s recapitalization of Singapore Airlines, Ho Ching explained that the support from Temasek is to provide a foundation for SIA to emerge stronger and better.
She also added that Temasek is committed to a more sustainable world by 2030, by working towards “carbon neutrality” for its portfolio so as to support a “carbon neutral world”.
On Temasek’s contribution to the Singapore budget through the NII/NIR framework, she noted that half of Temasek’s expected long term returns can be used for budget spending. “Together, GIC, MAS and Temasek provide the largest single source of govt revenues over the last 20 years. Without these, taxes would have to be raised for everyone,” she shared. But Heng Swee Keat has already promised that if PAP is voted in, GST would be raised from current 7 to 9 per cent.
“The NIR contributions from Temasek, GIC and MAS are more than corporate income tax from businesses, more than personal income tax collected from taxpayers, more than revenue from GST, more than betting taxes, customs & excise duties, road tax and various other forms of taxes or fees,” she continued.
“So yes, Temasek is a taxpayer like any other taxpayer, and government spending comes from taxpayers like you and me, and companies like Temasek and others.”
She then went on to describe how Temasek has been contributing to the communities by “generously” allowed some of the earmarked funds to be redirected for COVID-19 response, over and above what Temasek needs as a company. She added, “These funds have gone to support covid responses on various fronts, including the DET30 masks now being distributed, a free pair each to all residents of Singapore, citizens and non citizens alike.”
Finally, she thanked Temasek staff for “tirelessly” building up Temasek, “These (Temasek) funds have been accumulated over the efforts of generations of Temasek staff, tirelessly building up Temasek, for our future generations.”
In any case, Singaporeans won’t get to see Temasek’s annual report before the GE. In its news reporting, Bloomberg noted that it is a rare decision for Temasek to delay its annual report.
“The delay comes at a difficult time for Temasek, which saw its public equity holdings take a beating in the first quarter,” reported Bloomberg.