DENMARK - More Danish pension funds are moving to offload holdings in French oil company Total and US firm Chevron, in support of the Danish government's stance on trade with politically-troubled Burma.
Denmark's Pensionskassernes Administration (PKA), the country's largest occupational pension funds administrator, said it will sell the shares worth DKK65m (€8.65m) it holds in Total.
Corporate pension fund Sampension has also said it will sell its holdings in Total and Chevron, both of which were on its watch list because of human rights and environmental risks, the pension fund said. The fund holds around DKK12m in Total shares and DKK88m in Chevron stock.
"Following a statement from Per Stig Møller, the minister for foreign affairs, that he would have preferred sanctions on Myanmar Oil and Gas to be put in place, we felt unable to retain our shares in Total," said PKA spokesman Thomas Bucktrup Knudsen.
PKA, which administers DKK116bn of pensions assets, said it was also considering divesting its DKK160mn stake in US firm Chevron and its DKK10mn holding in Cinopec - China Petroleum & Chemical Corp - as a result of their involvement in politically-troubled Burma.
"We're following the same procedure as we did for Total, looking at how these companies operate in Burma," said Bucktrup Knudsen. "Then we will decide whether to hold or sell, but the expectation is that we'll sell," he said, adding this decision would be made "very soon".
Following last week's move by the EU to introduce a trade embargo related to the Burmese forestry and gemstone industries, PKA said it had then waited for further political reactions to developments in Burma.
But when the Danish government said it wanted to take the restrictions further, and the opposition parties broadly backed this position, PKA said it felt it could no longer maintain its investments in Total.
Sampension said it had decided to sell shares in oil companies working directly with Myanmar Oil following a board meeting earlier this week. The holdings involved were in Total and Chevron, but equities investments in various Chinese oil companies, which also worked directly with Myanmar Oil, were wound up earlier this year, the fund said.
Anne Charlotte Mark, head of equities at Sampension, said the latest public debate and statements from the Danish government concerning EU sanctions towards Burma had triggered the decision, and indicated there could be further divestments.
"We are in the process of going through our portfolio to look for other exposures to significant activities in Burma," she said.
On Wednesday, Danish labour market pension fund ATP announced that it would divest its DKK935m stake in Total, along with smaller holdings in other oil companies working directly with Myanmar Oil.
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