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‘War ties’: Norway fund to sell Adani Ports stake – Times of India

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MUMBAI: Norges Bank, Norway’s central bank, has decided to exclude Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone from its government pension fund over ethical concerns. This means the $1.7-trillion fund – the world’s largest sovereign wealth fund by assets under management – will sell its remaining stake in Adani Ports.
The Norwegian pension fund invests in equities and bonds across most countries and markets.In a statement, Norges Bank said it has decided to exclude Adani Ports due to “unacceptable risk that the company contributes to serious violations of individuals’ rights in situations of war or conflict”. The port operator, part of billionaire Gautam Adani’s conglomerate, has been under its watch list since March 2022 and that “observation now ends given the exclusion decision”.

Adani Ports didn’t respond to TOI’s requests for comments on its exclusion from the Norwegian pension fund’s portfolio. Norges Bank said its decision to exclude Adani Ports from the fund’s portfolio was based on recommendations from Council On Ethics. COE is an independent body that makes recommendations to Norges Bank to either exclude companies from the pension fund or place them under observation. In a statement, the COE said that Adani Ports was under observation “due to its business association with the armed forces in Myanmar“, which in Feb 2021 staged a military coup.
The Indian company was involved with a port terminal in Myanmar, incurring an investment of $150 million. In May 2023, the company disclosed that it sold the Myanmar port to Solar Energy. The COE noted that no information on the buyer is available, and Adani Ports has stated that it cannot share any such information on the grounds of confidentiality. Lack of information means that the COE cannot establish whether Adani Ports still has links to the enterprise concerned.
“In a situation in which extremely serious norm violations are taking place, this constitutes an unacceptable risk that the government pension fund’s investments in Adani Ports may breach its ethical guidelines”. Norges Bank didn’t mention the quantum of stake the government pension fund holds in Adani Ports. The fund has been paring its exposure in Adani Ports over the last several quarters. In Feb 2023, it held 0.3% in Adani Ports. Besides Adani Ports, it held 0.14% in Adani Green and 0.17% in Adani Total Gas. ts latest holding in all the three Adani Group companies couldn’t be ascertained.

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