Korean steel producer Posco C&C has terminated its joint venture with Myanmar Economic Holdings, a company controlled by Myanmar’s military – a step taken after APG’s engagement with Seoul-listed Posco on the matter.

“We are happy and proud of this engagement success,” APG – the asset manager for the Dutch pension fund for government and education ABP – said in a statement. Posco will, however, continue to produce steel in Myanmar.

“We are pleased to see that Posco’s top management and board finally addressed investors’ concerns pertaining to its joint venture with military-linked businesses,” said Yoo-Kyung Park, sustainability specialist at the Dutch pension asset manager, who conducted the engagement with the firm.

The action group Justice for Myanmar published a report last month in which it highlighted APG’s investments along with fellow pension asset manager PGGM in several mainly Asian firms that have commercial relationships with Myanmar’s military.

Following the publication of the report, APG published a statement on its website voicing “deep concern” about human rights violations committed by Myanmar’s military following February’s coup.

In the statement, APG also said it has asked the companies concerned to reconsider their ties to the country.

Park said: “We have since called on Posco to end their activities in Myanmar through contacts with their management and by placing an advertisement in a large newspaper.”

She added: “It’s good to see Posco has listened to ABP’s concerns and to those of other investors.”

APG said it is also in conversation with a number of other companies to end their ties with Myanmar’s military. According to Justice for Myanmar’s report, these firms include Hilton and several Japanese companies including brewer Kirin. The latter already announced it will end two joint ventures with military firms in Myanmar.


PGGM, the other Dutch pension asset manager that was called out by Justice for Myanmar, told IPE it has asked all companies concerned about their ties with Myanmar’s military regime and what they are doing to address the current situation in the country.

“Depending on the feedback these firms will give us, we will take further steps. Obviously, we do not want to invest in firms that are involved in human rights violations. This is part of our investment policy,” a PGGM spokesman said.

On Posco specifically, PGGM received a letter from the Korean firm last Tuesday in which Posco said it was planning to cut its tie with Myanmar’s junta.

“However, it’s still not clear to us how they are exactly going to do that,” the PGGM spokesman told IPE. “They told us they will end their joint venture with the military but they will remain active in the country. This could involve Posco buying out the military’s stake in the joint venture,” he said.

The spokesman contrasted Posco’s actions with those of two other of PGGM’s investee companies, Kirin and Woodside Petroleum. “These firms have told us they will simply pull out of their joint ventures with the Myanmar military.”

Posco also has ties to a gas business in Myanmar which is now also under military control. APG’s Park said she was “concerned” about this, and that she would continue to monitor the issue closely.

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