Norway’s sovereign wealth fund pulls out of troubled Adani Group

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Fuelled by revenues from Norway's state-owned oil and gas companies, the fund is aimed at financing future spending in the generous welfare state. (AFP)
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  • Between 2014 and 2023, the fund had already divested from six subsidiaries of the Adani conglomerate, mainly for environmental reasons.
  • The business empire of Indian billionaire Gautam Adani lost around $120 billion in value after Hindenburg Research accused it of artificially inflating share prices.

Oslo, Norway–Norway’s $1.2 trillion sovereign wealth fund, the world’s largest, said Thursday it has completely divested its assets in the troubled Indian conglomerate Adani.

The fund, which is set up to put the country’s oil and gas revenues to work, held some $200 million worth of shares in the group at the end of 2022.

It had a stake of 0.14 percent in Adani Green Energy, 0.17 percent in Adani Total Gas and 0.3 percent in Adani Ports & Special Economic Zone.

“Since year-end, so the five weeks since year-end, we have further reduced our exposure in Adani companies significantly,” said Christopher Wright, the head of environmental, social and governance (ESG) risk monitoring at the fund.

“So today for all intents and purposes, we have no exposure left,” Wright added.

Between 2014 and 2023, the fund had already divested from six subsidiaries of the Adani conglomerate, mainly for environmental reasons, namely their role in deforestation and their high greenhouse gas emissions.

The business empire of Indian billionaire Gautam Adani lost around $120 billion in value after US short-selling investment group Hindenburg Research accused it of artificially inflating share prices in a report released in January.

It clawed back some of that this week after pledging to repay $1.1 billion worth of early loans in a move meant to reassure investors.

Hindenburg accused Adani of artificially boosting the share prices of its units by funneling money into the stocks through offshore tax havens.

Adani has repeatedly denied the allegations and accused the US investment firm of a “maliciously mischievous” reputational attack.

Last year, the Norwegian fund divested from a record 74 companies worldwide, judging their ESG practices to be detrimental to their profitability, and from 13 others after recommendations from an ethics council.

The fund has investments in about 9,000 companies, as well as bonds and real estate, and is governed by ethical rules that prohibit it from investing in companies that commit serious human rights abuses, manufacture nuclear weapons, or are involved in coal and tobacco.

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