Norway's central bank has excluded Adani Group's port firm, APSEZ from its government pension fund over ethical concerns, making it the 15th Indian company to face such action with previous ones being the likes of ONGC, GAIL, NTPC and Vedanta.

Norges Bank, which manages the sovereign wealth fund, on May 15 stated that it has decided to exclude Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone due to "unacceptable risk that the company contributes to serious violations of individuals' rights in situations of war or conflict." APSEZ, which was on the central bank's watch list for possible exclusion from investment since March 2022, faced the action due to its business association with the armed forces in Myanmar.

Sources however said the Adani group firm sold the Myanmar asset entirely in May last year, and there has been no incremental disclosures made regarding that asset, as the company has fully exited.

The Norwegian fund's Council of Ethics acknowledged APSEZ's May 2023 disclosure that it had sold its port-related operations in Myanmar to Solar Energy Ltd but said "no information on buyer is available, and APSEZ has stated that it cannot share any such information on the grounds of confidentiality." "Lack of information means that the Council cannot establish whether APSEZ has links to the enterprise concerned. In a situation in which extremely serious norm violations are taking place, this constitutes an unacceptable risk that the Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG's) investments in APSEZ may breach its ethical guidelines," it added.

The Norwegian Fund started buying into APSEZ in mid-October, post the May 2023 disclosure. It made near 70 per cent on its first purchase in nearly 6 months, until it exited in April. APSEZ joins more than a dozen Indian firms which had faced similar action over the past few years, according to information on the website of Norges Bank Investment Management.

The Norwegian bank had excluded ITC in January 2020 over production of tobacco. Similar action followed against Zuari Agro Chemicals in October 2013 over alleged human rights violations. Vedanta faced similar action in January 2014 over 'severe environmental damage'.

Coal India, NTPC, Reliance Power, Tata Power and three other power producers faced a similar action in April 2016 for production of coal or coal-based energy.

BHEL faced action in May 2017 and January 2023 over environmental damage and sales to states in armed conflicts.

Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) was charged with serious violations of individuals' rights in situations of war or conflict when it faced similar action in September 2021. GAIL was charged with the same in April 2023.

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