Norway's Oil Fund Excludes Companies Including BAE Systems on Ethical Grounds

Norges Bank Investment Management, the arm of Norway's central bank that manages the country's $1.1 trillion oil fund, said Tuesday that it has excluded a further nine companies from the fund on ethical grounds.

Among those excluded is U.K. weapons maker BAE Systems PLC because of its involvement in the production of nuclear weapons. Data from the end of 2016, the latest available, shows that the oil fund held a 1.47% stake in BAE Systems.

AECOM, Fluor Corp. and Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. have also been excluded for the same reason, while Honeywell International Inc.'s exclusion is maintained based on this criterion, it said.

The Norwegian Ministry of Finance has issued specific guidelines for the oil fund with criteria for observation and exclusion endorsed by Norway's parliament.

These criteria say the fund must not invest in companies which produce weapons that violate fundamental humanitarian principles through their normal use, produce tobacco, or sell weapons or military material to certain countries. Companies may also be excluded if there is an unacceptable risk of conduct that is considered grossly unethical.

Norges Bank decides on the exclusion of companies from the fund's investments, or to place them on an observation list.

Further exclusions announced Tuesday include Evergreen Marine Corp (Taiwan) Ltd, Korea Line Corp., Precious Shipping PCL and Thoresen Thai Agencies PCL due to the "risk of severe environmental damage and serious or systematic violations of human rights."

Pan Ocean Co. has been placed under observation based on the same criteria while Atal SA has also been excluded due to unacceptable risk of serious or systematic violations of human rights, Norges Bank said.

There are currently over 140 companies excluded from the fund and around 20 under observation.

-Write to Dominic Chopping at; Twitter: @domchopping @WSJNordics

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

January 16, 2018 05:37 ET (10:37 GMT)