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Temasek offloads its Bank of America shares

SINGAPORE state investment company Temasek Holdings sold its stake in Bank of America Corp, a move that likely added to large losses last year from its investments in American and European banks.

Temasek held 188.8 million Bank of America shares in January, worth about US$2.6 billion, after it converted a 13.7 percent stake in Merrill Lynch & Co. Bank of America bought Merrill Lynch in January.

A Temasek spokeswoman declined to comment yesterday on details of the transaction. Bank of America closed at US$11.31 a share Thursday after dipping below $4 in March.

Temasek said its investment portfolio fell about US$39 billion, or 31 percent, between March and November last year to US$85 billion. Chief Executive Ho Ching - the wife of Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong - announced her resignation in February, and will be replaced by former BHP Billiton CEO Charles Goodyear later this year.

Under Ho, the fund saw big bets on the financial sector go sour, including a US$5 billion investment in Merrill Lynch in late 2007.

Temasek also has large stakes in other financial companies such as Standard Chartered Plc, DBS Group Holdings Ltd and Barclays Plc.

Singapore's Ministry of Finance is Temasek's only shareholder.

The company, which is smaller than the city-state's other sovereign wealth fund, the Government of Singapore Investment Corp, owns large stakes in many of the country's biggest companies.


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