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Singapore's Temasek sells Bank of America stake

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[May 15, 2009]  SINGAPORE (AP) -- Singapore state investment company Temasek sold its stake in Bank of America Corp., a move that likely added to large losses last year from its investments in U.S. and European banks.

InsuranceTemasek held 188.8 million Bank of America shares in January, worth about $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 Friday to comment on the price the fund sold its shares for or the timing of the sale. Bank of America closed at $11.31 a share Thursday after dipping below $4 in March.

Temasek said its investment portfolio fell about $39 billion, or 31 percent, between March and November of last year to $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 $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.

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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, including Singapore Telecommunications, bank DBS Group Holdings and Singapore Airlines.

[Associated Press]

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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