Norway sovereign fund ups exposure to Indian stocks, debt
New Delhi: Norway's sovereign wealth fund, the largest across the world, increased its exposure to Indian stocks by 38 percent to USD 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 USD 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 RIL, Infosys, SBI and TCS.
While the total number of Indian stocks in its portfolio has remained unchanged, the aggregate exposure to them rose to USD 2.57 billion at the end of 2012, from USD 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 Corp and State Bank of India to over USD 1 billion in 2012, from just about USD 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 USD 713 billion assets, the fund holds over 61 percent in stocks, 38 percent in bonds and less than one percent in the 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 percent in 2012, helped by over 18 percent return on equity investments in over 65 countries, including India, China, the US and the UK.
Its top 10 India equity holdings include Infosys (USD 233 million), RIL (USD 172 million), Bajaj Auto (USD 106 million), SBI (USD 92 million), TCS (USD 83 million), Maruti Suzuki (USD 78.80 million), HDFC (USD 76 million) and Bharti Airtel (USD 75 million).
Besides, it holds shares worth over USD 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 percent on the fund's overall investment portfolio in 2012 is the second highest in its history.