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November 22, 2008

Singapore's state firm plans pay cuts
Singapore's state investor Temasek Holdings plans to cut pay across the board in a bid to slash costs as the firm projects tough economic conditions in 2009 and beyond, Reuters quoted the company as saying Friday.

Temasek, headed by Ho Ching, the wife of Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, said senior managers had volunteered to take a pay cut of between 15 and 25 percent.

"We anticipate a global recession in 2009 and possibly beyond. Therefore, Temasek will institute a firm-wide wage cut," said Robert Chong, managing director of human resources at Temasek.

Chong also said the current crisis "will throw up tremendous opportunities" and that the majority of wage savings will be borne by their key managers. Temasek said it aimed to increase headcount by 15 percent over the next two years.

Temasek owns stakes in global banks such as Standard Chartered , Barclays , Merrill Lynch , Bank of China and India's ICICI Bank , the stocks of which have all fallen as the credit crisis unfolded, some of them very sharply.

Final government data released on Friday confirmed that Singapore was in recession. The city-state's economy shrank at a worse-than-expected rate of 6.8 percent on an annualised and seasonally adjusted basis in the third quarter, and the government said the economy may shrink next year.

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