Indiana News

Indiana Pension Funds Unloading Investments in Sudan-Linked Firms

State law requires divesting $16M uncovered in semiannual review

10/25/2011

Indiana's pension funds have begun unloading nearly $16 million in investments in two companies which do business in Sudan.

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Sudan's human rights violations prompted legislators in 2007 to prohibit pension-fund investments in companies doing business there.

Indiana Public Retirement System executive director Steve Russo says three companies were dropped from Indiana's watchlist after the fund contacted them in February, but the state is in the process of shedding investments in mining-equipment company Atlas Copco and the natural gas and diesel engineering firm Wärtsilä OYJ.

The law requires Indiana to be rid of half those investments by next month, and the rest by mid-May.

$55 million invested in eight more companies, most of them energy firms, run afoul of a similar ban passed in 2009 on companies doing business with Iran and Syria. The State Department lists those countries, along with Cuba and Sudan, as state sponsors of terrorism.

The law gives INPRS three years to start that divestment process, and five years to complete it. 85 percent of those investments are in the French oil-and-gas company Total, and Royal Dutch Shell, the parent of Shell Oil.

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