University of California regents voted unanimously to divest pension fund and endowment assets of nine companies doing business in Sudan. The divestment proposal identified Bharat Heavy Electricals, China Petroleum and Chemical (Sinopec), Nam Fatt Co. Bhd., Oil & Natural Gas ., PECD Bhd., PetroChina Company, Sudan Telecom (Sudatel), Tatneft OAO and Videocon Industries, according to the agenda of the meeting.
The university has $43.259 billion in pension assets and $5.52 billion in general endowment assets.
The regents conditioned implementation of the divestment policy on enactment of California legislation "providing indemnification for … individual regents, the university, its officers, agents and employees, for all costs and defense of any claim arising from the decision to divest."
In another development, the Maine Senate on March 16 approved a bill that would require the $8.9 billion Maine State Retirement System to divest its holdings in companies that do business with Sudan. The bill would require divestment "in accordance with sound investment criteria and consistent with the board's fiduciary obligations" and that the divestment be completed by Jan. 1, 2008. John C. Milazzo, chief deputy executive director and general counsel of the system, said it was too early to tell how much the system has invested in such companies.
The bill must pass a second vote in the state Senate and two votes in the state House before going to Gov. John E. Baldacci. Mr. Baldacci has indicated he would sign the bill into law.