Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Burma disinvestment news

Hat-tip to John G for the news on Danish pension fund ATP selling off its holdings in Total (which does business in Burma). Any pension fund trustees reading this might want to check out if their fund has a holding in it. It is a CAC 40 stock (ie French-listed) but a big one so if you have a European equities portfolio you may well hold it.

Obvious thing to do is ask your fund manager what their views are on Total's involvement in Burma, whether it is having an affect on the share price, and whether they are engaging with Total's management over the issue. Some funds (ie TU staff funds) might even want to consider whether to disinvest if they hold it.

Here's a very short exceprt from the FTUB statement on sanctions:

We salute and thank the unions, like France’s CGT coordination body within the TOTAL Group, who have called on their own employer to quit Burma, or those who are prepared to call on their own pension funds to withdraw from multinationals doing business with our country. Please understand: trading with Burma benefits only the military!

And here's IPE's story on ATP:

DENMARK - Danish labour market pension fund ATP said it has decided to sell its shares in Total and other oil companies working directly with Myanmar Oil.

“ATP’s board of directors came to this decision at its meeting today, after a debate about ATP’s investments in companies that also had activities in Burma,” the DKK 438bn (€58.75bn) scheme said in a statement.

The holdings it will sell include ATP’s stake in French oil and gas company Total, it said.

”In addition, ATP will of course adhere to the new sanctions from the EU concerning timber and precious metals from Burma,” ATP added.

Jørgen Søndergaard, chairman of ATP’s supervisory board, told IPE two or three smaller investments will be divested too, but did not name the businesses involved. He said the stake in Total – which is worth DKK935m – is a small fraction of ATP’s total equities portfolio.

The pension fund said its board came to the decision in the light of the new declaration from the Danish government on its position regarding sanctions against Burma.

Søndergaard said the Danish government had been pressing at the latest EU summit for sanctions against Burma to include oil companies as well as those involved in the timber and precious metals trade.

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