(Bloomberg) -- Danish pension fund AkademikerPension has completed a multi-year divestment program designed to purge its portfolio of oil and gas stocks.
The fund, which oversees $20 billion in client assets, said on Thursday it has sold its stake in Eni SpA, which means it has now divested fossil fuel stakes worth a combined 3.7 billion kroner ($520 million), with the divestments spread out over half a decade.
AkademikerPension started revamping its portfolio before the pandemic with a view to exiting companies it judged weren’t serious about aligning their business with the goal of limiting global heating to 1.5C.
A spokesperson for Eni said the company “reiterates its strong commitment toward net zero emissions by 2050, while contributing with its diversified resources portfolio to meet the global energy demand, supporting security of energy supplies and economic sustainability of energy.”
AkademikerPension’s Eni stake had been valued at 33 million kroner, according to the fund.
It took the first major step toward divesting oil stocks in 2019, when it sold stakes in Exxon Mobil Corp., BP Plc, Chevron Corp., PetroChina Co. Ltd., Shell Plc, TotalEnergies SE, Petrobras and Equinor ASA. The fund exited Repsol SA earlier this year.
Anders Schelde, chief investment officer at AkademikerPension, said the divestments followed years during which the fund together with other investors “tried to get these companies to change their climate strategy.” But it’s now clear that senior managements in these major oil and gas companies “simply refuse” to change, he said in the statement.
Overall, the divestments have had a “neutral to slightly positive” effect on returns, according to AkademikerPension.
--With assistance from Alberto Brambilla.
(Adds Eni comment in third paragraph.)
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