Danica to divest weapons exporters to Saudi Arabia after govt ban
One of Denmark’s largest pension providers is to blacklist investments in companies that export arms to Saudi Arabia, along with its parent company Danske Bank.
Danica Pension – Denmark’s second biggest commercial pension fund with total assets of DKK566bn (€76bn) – and Danske Bank backed the Danish government’s ban on domestic companies exporting weapons to Saudi Arabia, a spokesman for Danica Pension confirmed to IPE.
Anders Svennesen, CIO of Danske Bank Asset Management and Danica Pension, told IPE: “Decisions to divest will be made on a case by case basis, based on thorough research and company dialogue.”
As yet, he said he had no estimate of how much money the divestment would involve.
Research was currently being conducted on the arms trade to Saudi Arabia, taking into account the Danish government’s decision in November as well as companies’ due diligence on arms trading, he said.
“We have followed the situation surrounding the conflict closely, and following Denmark’s ban on Danish companies’ arms exports to Saudi Arabia, we have in this special case decided to support Denmark’s ban,” Svennesen said.
“We have thus made it clear that we will not invest our customers’ funds in companies if they do new deals for weapons exports to Saudi Arabia that would have been against the ban for a Danish company.”
According to a recent report in Danish newspaper Information, 14 of the 17 biggest pension funds in Denmark have invested more than DKK1.1bn in firms that supply military equipment to Saudi Arabia.
Last November, the Danish foreign ministry decided to suspend the approval of arms exports and “dual-use products” sales to Saudi Arabia following the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and developments in Yemen.