NORWAY - Eight defence companies have been excluded from the Petroleum Fund because of their involvement in cluster bombs, the Ministry of Finance says.

The companies include Alliant Techsystems, European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co., General Dynamics Corp., L3 Communications, Lockheed Martin Corp., Raytheon Co. and Thales SA.

"According to the Petroleum Fund's Advisory Council on Ethics, these companies manufacture key components for cluster bombs," said finance minister Per-Kristian Foss.

Under ethical guidelines set up in 2004, the fund must exclude companies that make key components for inhumane weapons must be excluded from the Fund.

In the Revised National Budget for 2004 it was made clear that cluster bombs can belong to this category of weapons.

A June 15 recommendation from the Petroleum Fund's Advisory Council on Ethics advised the exclusions.

The Council said the list is not exhaustive and that new exclusions may be called for at a later stage.

The council asked the companies to clarify if they make such weapons - and four of them confirmed that they do so. The other companies did not respond to the approach.

The Council based its recommendation on information from Janes' Information Group, company websites of other groups.

The Ministry of Finance told Norges Bank on June 30 to exclude the companies, with a deadline set at August 31.
“Disposal of stocks and bonds in the companies is now complete,” it said.