Norway’s Wealth Fund Puts Kirin on Watch for Myanmar Ties

Norway’s sovereign wealth fund put Kirin Holdings Ltd. under observation due to the risk that the beverage maker might contribute to serious violations of human rights.

“The Council on Ethics has recommended to place the company under observation based on Kirin’s business cooperation with an organization with ties to the military in Myanmar,” Norges Bank Investment Management, the fund’s official name, said in a statement late on Wednesday.

The Oslo-based fund, which is the world’s biggest stock owner, is managed according to a wide range of ethical guidelines and puts companies under observation or excludes them from its investment universe based on advice from the ethics council.

Kirin has already announced it intends to end its business cooperation in Myanmar, and the wealth fund said it will follow up on that with the company.

The council also recommended placing ThyssenKrupp AG under observation due to what it characterized as an unacceptable risk that the company might contribute to, or is responsible for, gross corruption. Instead of following that recommendation, the wealth fund said it will track ThyssenKrupp’s conduct through active ownership for three years.

Thyssenkrupp has a “zero tolerance” policy on compliance issues which it takes “very seriously,” a spokesman for the company told Bloomberg. The industrial conglomerate is “in regular and constructive dialog” with the Norwegian wealth fund, including on the governance issues, he said.

Atal SA, which was excluded from the fund’s portfolio in 2017 amid concerns it had contributed to serious violations of human rights due to the use of North Korean workers at construction sites in Poland, was removed from the exclusion list.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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