Norway’s Wealth Fund Divests From 3 Israeli Firms Over Settlements
Norway’s sovereign wealth fund announced on Friday the exclusion of three Israeli firms from its portfolio due to their connections with Jewish settlements in the West Bank. The $1.4 trillion wealth fund, established in 1996 to invest revenues from Norway’s oil industry, holds 1.4% of globally listed shares. Its Council on Ethics recommended the exclusion of Israeli firms ELCO, its subsidiary Electra, and Ashtrom. Electra builds roads in the West Bank settlements and recently won a tender for a major road project. Ashtrom’s construction and property business includes various projects and industrial premises in West Bank settlements. At the end of 2020, the Norwegian fund had a $1.35 million stake in ELCO and $7.8 million investment in Electra, while its Ashtrom shares were worth $749,000. At the same time, the fund announced its divestment from India’s leading petroleum producer, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), over the company’s participation in joint ventures with South Sudan. The Norwegian fund’s ethics watchdog referred to ONGC as “accepting a risk of contributing to serious abuse committed to enable oil production in the country.” The fund held $60.6 million in shares of ONGC.