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Bloomberg: Shell, Total, 6 Other Energy Firms Queried by Pensions on Iran

By William Selway

July 24 (Bloomberg) — A group of the nation’s largest public pension funds called upon Royal Dutch Shell Plc, Total SA, and six other energy companies doing business with Iran to explain how they will guard their stock prices from the risks of escalating tensions.

The group, which includes the California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the New York State Common Retirement Fund and New York City’s pensions, sent letters asking how the companies will mitigate the risk that tighter economic sanctions, divestment campaigns and regional conflict could pose to share prices. The group owns $3.7 billion of stocks in the companies, New York City Comptroller William Thompson said in a statement.

“It is increasingly likely that the worsening situation and tightening economic sanctions will negatively impact companies doing business there,” Thompson wrote in one of the letters. “In addition, historically, regional conflict has exposed facilities and infrastructure to the risk of attack, as evidenced by the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s.”

Florida last month enacted a law to pull state retirement funds from companies doing business with Iran. Other states, including California and Texas, are considering similar steps. The California Public Employees’ Retirement System, the biggest pension fund in the U.S., has estimated it would need to sell more than $8 billion of stocks and bonds if its Legislature seeks limits.

Other companies receiving pension group letters are: India- based Oil & Natural Gas Ltd., China Petroleum Co., Inpex Holdings Inc. of Japan, Russia’s Gazprom OAO, Respol YPF SA of Spain and Eni S.p.A. of Italy, Thompson said in the statement.

The pension fund group also includes the North Carolina Retirement System and Illinois State Board of Investment.

To contact the reporter on this story: William Selway in San Francisco at [email protected] .
Last Updated: July 24, 2007 14:45 EDT

 

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