Temasek’s Fullerton Buys Stake in India’s Eros International

Fullerton Fund Management Co., owned by Singapore’s Temasek Holdings Pte, bought a stake in Indian film distributor Eros International Plc, gaining a foothold in the local movie industry known as Bollywood.

Fullerton now holds 8.7 percent in Eros, according to a Nov. 25 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The stake was bought on Nov. 13, the day Mumbai-based Eros began trading on the New York Stock Exchange. The stake is valued at about $22 million, based on the company’s closing price yesterday. The filing didn’t say what Fullerton’s previous stake in Eros was. Temasek’s deemed interest in Eros is 7.4 percent, according to a separate SEC filing.

Singapore’s government-owned investment firms have expanded in India to capture growing wealth in Asia’s third-largest economy. Temasek invested S$128 million ($102 million) in Godrej Agrovet Ltd., a producer of agricultural products, in its financial year ended March, while GIC Pte last week said it plans to invest as much as S$600 million in Indian real estate.

“Eros International’s rationale to get NYSE-listing was to get a wider range of investors, which has been proven right by the Temasek investment,” Urmil Shah, a Mumbai-based analyst at Kim Eng Securities Pvt, said in a phone interview.

Shares of Eros International Media Ltd., a unit that co-produces and distributes Indian-language films, closed 0.2 percent lower at 161.90 rupees in Mumbai after rising as much as 4.5 percent.

Indian Entertainment

Eros, the owner of the world’s largest library of Indian entertainment, is benefiting from the country’s growing middle class and increasing disposable income, according to a presentation on its website. The company went public on the New York exchange after being delisted on London’s Alternative Investment Market as it sought higher valuations, Chief Financial Officer Kamal Jain said in December.

Stephen Forshaw, a spokesman for Temasek, confirmed in an e-mailed statement that it had made a filing with the SEC.

“Fullerton Fund Management Company operates independently, and manages funds for third parties, in addition to Temasek,” he said in the e-mail. “They have their own investment mandates and are not directed by us.”

Rachel Tan, a spokeswoman for Fullerton, declined to elaborate in a separate e-mailed statement, citing company policy of not discussing “individual securities in order to safeguard the interests of our clients.”

Jyoti Deshpande, Eros’s chief executive officer and Amita Naidu, a spokeswoman for Eros International Media, didn’t respond to an e-mail seeking comments, while calls to their mobile phones weren’t answered.

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