Norwegian fund Norges allots RM800mil to invest in Malaysian small, mid-cap stocks

  • Business
  • Thursday, 31 Jul 2014

PETALING JAYA: Norwegian fund Norges has allotted RM800mil more to invest in small to mid-cap stocks in Malaysia.

A market source said the foreign fund appointed Eastspring Investments Bhd about a month ago and was investing in general equity, with a preference for the small to mid-cap equity space.

“There are no specific guidelines as to which sector Norges is keen on. It wants to look at good companies and it so happens the local small and mid-cap space is doing well this year,” the source said.

Norges has been one of the largest foreign fund investor in Malaysian equities since 2010.

In April, StarBiz reported that the foreign fund had invested about RM1.7bil in 53 Bursa Malaysia-listed companies, managed by Kenanga Investors Bhd.

At the time, the fund was already sitting on a paper gain of some RM600mil, with its entire holdings in Malaysia valued some RM2.3bil. Its performance in Malaysian equities was attributed to the big run-up in many of the small oil and gas companies since last year.

The source added that Norges was still looking for more fund managers to manage its investment in Malaysia.

“It has always had this allocation for Malaysia which it had not entirely fulfilled yet. So it is continuously looking for fund managers,” the source said.

PublicInvest Research in its strategy note for the second half of 2014 said smaller-capitalised stocks in Malaysia have had a good run year-to-date, reflected by the FBM Small Cap Index’s 18.6% gain compared with the FBM KLCI’s 0.3% gain and FBM Mid 70 Index’s 1.2% rise.

Eastspring Investments had about US$105bil (RM334.2bil) in assets under management as at March 31.

The asset management house was named Asia’s leading retail fund manager for 2013 in an annual survey by Asia Asset Management.

Norges, also referred to as the Norwegian oil fund, has a market value of 5,038 billion kroner (RM2.73 trillion) as of end-2013.

Norges is managed by Norges Bank Investment Management, the asset management unit of the Norwegian central bank.

As of end-2013, it is invested in 8,000 stocks in 82 countries and owns 1.3% of the world’s listed companies, delivering annual returns of 5.7% since 1998.

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