Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund company Temasek Holdings is putting up its 65% stake of the heavily-indebted and bleeding national shipping line, Neptune Orient Lines (NOL), for sales at US$2.3 billion. The 47 year old national shipping line company is one of the world’s largest shippers and it lists 35% of its stocks on the Singapore Stock Exchange but its performance has always been poor. Currently, the company is valued at S$8 billion according to S&P Capital IQ, with a market capitalisation of S$2.3 billion.
NOL has been losing money for the past 3 years as the worldwide shipping industry sees falling freight rates. In 2014, it lost S$260 million, the largest ever after 2013’s S$76 million loss.
Temasek Holdings also own another container-shipping business, PSA International Pte Ltd. Although Singapore has no natural resources, it has been a flourishing trading port and a competitive economy among in the world since 1819 when the British founded the island state.