OSLO, Jan 11: Norway’s sovereign wealth fund has excluded two companies due to concerns over ethics and has re-admitted three others, the government said on Friday.
The fund, valued at around 3.8 trillion kroner (526 billion euros), sold the 0.67 per cent and 1.1 per cent stakes it held respectively in the US groups Jacobs Engineering and Babcock & Wilcox, because of their involvement in the manufacturing of nuclear weapons.
Meanwhile, the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund re-introduced British company BAE Systems and Italy’s Finmeccanica after their joint venture, missile maker MBDA, stopped producing ASMP-A nuclear warhead missiles for the French army.
However, the third shareholder in MBDA, European aerospace giant EADS which has activities in the military nuclear industry, remains on the blacklist of companies that the fund will not invest in.
The US chemicals group FMC Corporation, which was excluded from the fund in 2011, has also been re-admitted after putting an end to its phosphate acquisitions in Western Sahara, a territory annexed by Morocco in 1975.
The Norwegian finance ministry also decided to take German company Siemens off of its observation list, where it had been placed in 2009 after a series of corruption scandals.
The Norwegian fund, which contains all state revenues from the country’s massive oil and gas sector, was created in the early 1990s to help finance the generous welfare state system once the wells run dry. It invests in equities, bonds and real estate.
Strict ethical regulations bar it from investing in “particularly inhumane” weapons makers, the tobacco industry and companies that are found guilty of violating human rights, causing serious environmental damage or corruption.
Following Friday’s decisions, the blacklist consists of 54 companies, including Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Safran, Philip Morris, British American Tobacco, Wal-Mart and Rio Tinto. According to the specialised SWF Institute, the Norwegian sovereign wealth fund is the largest in the world, ahead of that of the UAE. —AFP