Norway bullish on Indian equities debt

Norway's sovereign wealth fund, the largest across the world, increased its exposure to Indian stocks by 38 per cent to $2.57 billion in 2012, while its holdings of Indian debt securities have also risen manifold.

The Government Pension Fund Global of Norway, which manages assets worth over $700 billion and is ranked as the world's largest sovereign wealth fund, has close to 120 companies in its equity investment portfolio and these include giants like Reliance Industries, Infosys, State Bank of India and Tata Consultancy Services.

While the total number of Indian stocks in its portfolio has remained unchanged, the aggregate exposure to them rose to $2.57 billion at the end of 2012, from $1.8 billion a year ago, the Fund said in its annual portfolio report.

In the debt market portfolio, the Norwegian fund ramped up its exposure to Indian debt securities floated by the Government of India, Indian Oil Corporation and State Bank of India to over $1 billion in 2012, from just about $150 million at the end of 2011.

Globally, its largest bond holdings are in US Treasuries, followed by Japanese and German government bonds.

Of its $713 billion assets, the fund holds over 61 per cent in stocks, 38 per cent in bonds and less than one per cent in real estate.

Norway had set up this fund in 1990 as a fiscal policy tool to support long-term management of the government's petroleum revenue. Norway regularly transfers its petroleum revenue to the fund, which makes further investments in international equity and fixed-income markets and real estate.

The Fund, managed by the Norges Bank Investment Management (NBIM) and also known as Norwegian oil fund, holds shares in more than 2,000 companies from the US market alone.

The fund gave returns of 13.4 per cent in 2012, helped by over 18 per cent return on equity investments in over 65 countries, including India, China, the US and the UK.

Its top 10 India equity holdings include Infosys ($233 million), RIL ($172 million), Bajaj Auto ($106 million), SBI ($92 million), TCS ($83 million), Maruti Suzuki ($78.80 million), HDFC ($76 million) and Bharti Airtel ($75 million).

Besides, it holds shares worth over $25 million in 20 other Indian companies such as Tata Chemicals, HDFC Bank, Tata Motors, ONGC, Container Corp, Tata Steel, NTPC and Glenmark.

The return of 13.4 per cent on the fund's overall investment portfolio in 2012 is the second highest in its history.


Posted On : 11 March,2013