PTT sets out stance on Myanmar after fund exit

PTT sets out stance on Myanmar after fund exit

Norwegian wealth fund drops Thai energy firm and subsidiary amid rights concerns

PTT Group has clarified its stance on Myanmar, after a major investment fund decided to divest shares of PTT Plc and its subsidiary PTT Oil and Retail Business Plc (OR), which is operating a petroleum business in the country.

OR holds a 35% share in Brighter Energy, a joint venture that transports petroleum products and provides a storage service in Myanmar, PTT said in a statement on Thursday.

Because business is continuing at a time of serious conflict and human rights violations in Myanmar, following the military coup early last year, Norway's sovereign wealth fund, the world's largest with assets of $1.3 trillion, decided on Dec 15 to drop PTT and OR from its equity portfolio.

PTT executives reaffirmed the group's respect for human rights principles and said it was committed to building better societies and protecting the environment under sustainability goals.

As a minority shareholder, OR asked Brighter Energy to consider suspending the construction of a storage facility, currently in the development phase, while the situation in Myanmar remains volatile and many countries have sanctions against the country, said Disathat Panyarachun, chief executive of OR.

OR will not inject additional capital and has demanded Brighter Energy avoid financial transactions with people on a sanctions list, he said.

"We strictly comply with our policy not to be involved in the support of violence and human rights violations through Brighter Energy," said Mr Disathat in a letter submitted to the Stock Exchange of Thailand.

OR invested in Brighter Energy in 2019, with the aim of jointly establishing a petroleum business that can raise the quality of life for people in Myanmar, he said.

Auttapol Rerkpiboon, president and chief executive of PTT Plc, said the group will continue to build a good relationship with stakeholders and remain in compliance with laws and internationally acceptable practices.

"Respecting human rights is one of PTT Group's most fundamental practices," said Mr Auttapol. "We are deeply concerned about atrocities committed in Myanmar following the 2021 coup."

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