Denmark’s AkademikerPension announced it is selling off DKK2bn (€269m) of oil and gas bonds issued by fossil fuels firms, including Petroleos Mexicanos, Gazprom, Qatar Energy, Petrobras and SouthWestern Energy – having previously divested the equities of such companies.

The €20.1bn pension fund, which mainly covers upper secondary school teachers, said that since it started divesting shares in fossil companies that extract oil, coal, tar sands and gas back in 2018, there had been a desire both from its members and internally to sell its oil and gas bonds too.

“The divestment of the upstream fossil fuel related corporate bonds must be completed by 31 December this year,” it said in a statement released today.

Up to now, AkademikerPension said, there had been return-related issues surrounding a sell-off of the bonds, but that analysis work lead by its chief investment officer Anders Schelde had showed the divestment would not harm its portfolio returns.

Janne Gleerup, chair of AkademikerPension, said the board was “very proud” to be able to announce the divestment of oil and gas bonds.

“This is something we have wanted for a long time, but it has been difficult and we have had to take many factors into consideration, not least the potential impact to future investment returns,” she said.

“New solutions and market developments” had now changed the previous conclusion about the negative effect of such a divestment, the pension fund said.

Schelde said: “We can see a tendency that fossil fuel bonds, like fossil fuel shares, start to price in stranded asset risks even in during the last year with strong performing energy assets, and we believe this may be the start of new headwinds for these bonds for the years to come.”

AkademikerPension said the divestment would contribute to a significant decrease in the carbon footprint of its portfolio.

The pension fund announced three days ago that it had excluded the Hungarian airline Wizz Air from its investment universe, saying it had lost patience with an engagement process after the company had repeatedly refused to recognise the freedom of association of employees and the right to enter into collective bargaining in multiple countries.

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