MOSCOW, April 4 (Reuters) - Franklin Templeton’s high-profile bond fund manager Michael Hasenstab has taken a “substantial” position in Ghana’s cedi-denominated government bonds via this week’s jumbo debt auction, a source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters on Tuesday.
The investment by Hasenstab, whose flagship $41 billion Templeton Global Bond fund seeks to pick up out-of-favour credits and made successful contrarian punts on Ireland and Hungary in recent years, is a boon for Ghana as the new government tries to stabilise the economy and review terms of an International Monetary Fund loan.
Ghana’s Monday sale of $2.2 billion worth of bonds was the single-biggest daily transaction in sub-Saharan Africa. It included a debut 15-year bond that raised 3.42 billion cedis ($790 million) at a 19.75 percent yield.
The Finance Ministry statement had reported “a very substantial investment in the 15-year bond by a very well respected global financial investor”.
The ministry could not immediately be reached for comment. But a senior government official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Franklin Templeton had participated in the sale.
The first source declined to say why Hasenstab had made the investment. But the move is in keeping with the fund manager’s strategy of buying unloved assets and betting on eventual turnaround and full payout over the maturity of the debt.
Hasenstab, who oversees portfolios worth over $120 billion in total from his office in San Mateo, California, was not available for comment. It is not clear which of Hasenstab’s funds was behind this week’s Ghana investment.
He has held Ghanaian debt before, however, in 2013 purchasing 10-year dollar bonds for his emerging markets fund.
In recent months, Hasenstab moved to his biggest position in Latin American, buying up Mexican bonds which had been battered by U.S. President Donald Trump’s trade and immigration threats .
His Global Bond Fund ranks No. 1 in terms of performance over a 10-year period in its category, according to fund research house Morningstar. (Additional reporting by Matthew Mpoke Bigg in Accra; Editing by Alison Williams)