World’s biggest fund cuts more firms linked to Myanmar

World’s biggest fund cuts more firms linked to Myanmar

Norwegian wealth fund says Indian and Chinese firms sold weapons to military junta

An injured Myanmar refugee is put on a stretcher before being transported to a hospital in Mae Sam Lap, after crossing the Salween River into Thailand while fleeing from air strikes in eastern Karen state in March 2021 following the February military coup. (Photo: Royal Thai Army via AFP)
An injured Myanmar refugee is put on a stretcher before being transported to a hospital in Mae Sam Lap, after crossing the Salween River into Thailand while fleeing from air strikes in eastern Karen state in March 2021 following the February military coup. (Photo: Royal Thai Army via AFP)

Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, the world’s biggest, has dropped two companies from China and India for selling weapons to Myanmar, the Norwegian central bank said on Wednesday.

The fund said it had divested from AviChina Industry & Technology and Bharat Electronics due to the “unacceptable risk that the companies are selling weapons to a state that uses these weapons in ways that constitute serious and systematic breaches of the international rules on the conduct of hostilities”.

The fund — which was valued at 13.2 trillion kroner ($1.3 trillion) — owned 0.37% of the Chinese group and 0.32% of the Indian company at the end of 2021, the most recent figures available.

The fund last month dropped PTT Plc and PTT Oil and Retail Business Plc (OR) from its portfolio, saying the Thai energy conglomerate’s activities in Myanmar could help fund the junta’s abuses.

It said AviChina had delivered light airplanes in December 2021 to Myanmar, which has been in turmoil since The army overthrew the civilian government of Aung San Suu Kyi almost two years ago.

Bharat Electronics delivered a remote-controlled weapons station to Myanmar in July 2021, the fund said.

The decision to exclude the two companies was taken by Norway’s central bank, based on a recommendation by an ethics board.

The fund, in which the Norwegian state’s oil revenues are placed, is one of the biggest investors in the world with stakes in more than 9,000 companies. It also has holdings in bonds and real estate.

It is governed by rules that prohibit it from investing in companies involved in serious human rights violations, those that manufacture “particularly inhumane” or nuclear weapons, as well as coal and tobacco products.

As a result it has previously divested from a number of companies, including Airbus, Boeing, Glencore, Lockheed Martin and Philip Morris.


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