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Alaska oil wealth fund's India exposure crosses Rs 1,000 crore

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Alaska Permanent Fund Corp, which oversees the American state's oil wealth portfolio, has increased its investment in Indian stocks to over Rs 1,000 crore with increased holdings in bluechips like ICICI Bank, Infosys, HDFC and Reliance Industries Ltd.

The global fund, that oversees $46 billion worth assets invested across 70 nations, had equity investments worth about $190 million (over Rs 1,000 crore) across shares of at least 75 listed Indian companies at the end of fiscal 2012-13 ended last month, shows its latest portfolio.

The fund's major Indian investments as on March 31, 2013 included shares of L&T ($20.3 million), HDFC ($19.38 million), Axis Bank ($15.74 million), Rural Electrification Corp ($13.79 million) and ICICI Bank (10.54 million).

In January-March quarter when domestic benchmark indices fell by over 3 per cent, the specialised fund managers hired by Juneau-based Alaska Permanent Fund Corporation (APFC) hiked their investments in 38 Indian stocks.

These included ICICI Bank, Lupin, Infosys, HDFC, HCL Tech, RIL, HDFC Bank, TCS, ITC, NTPC, L&T, HUL and SBI. Besides, the fund kept its holdings unchanged in 32 stocks, including DLF, BHEL, Jain Irrigation, Hindalco, Tata Steel, Cipla and Asian Paints unchanged.

However, the fund lowered its holdings in stocks like Axis Bank, Bharti Airtel, Gail India and Tata Motors.

When contacted, Alaska Permanent Fund Corp spokesperson Laura Achee said that the fund also has Indian debt security holdings of $650,000 (about Rs 3.5 crore). The fund first began investing in stock and bond markets outside of the US in 1990, she added.

The APFC Board's goal is to achieve an average annual real rate of return of five per cent (5 per cent) at risk levels broadly consistent with large public and private funds.

In order to meet this goal, the board sets an asset allocation that includes holdings across a broad range of investments. At present, it has around 25 fund managers for stock investments.

During construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline in the 1970s, oil companies flooded Alaska state coffers with money paid for leases to explore and secure drilling rights.

The state spent all $900 million of that initial lease money within a few years. Alaskans realised that they were about to receive a great deal more money from oil when the pipeline was complete.

In 1976, Alaskans voted to amend the constitution to put at least 25 per cent of the oil money into a dedicated fund and thereafter the Alaska Permanent Fund was created. 

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