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NZ Super to exclude gun company stocks from portfolio

A Gun City store stands in Wellington, New Zealand, on Friday, March 22, 2019.

The NZ$41.2 billion ($27.8 billion) New Zealand Superannuation Fund, Auckland, announced Friday that it will exclude gun companies from its portfolio, divesting NZ$19 million of investments in listed firearms manufacturers.

The move follows the New Zealand government's passage of beefed up gun control legislation last week in the wake of the March 15 Christchurch mosque attacks that left 50 dead.

New Zealand Super, in an April 12 statement, said the sovereign wealth fund would divest its holdings of seven gun-related companies identified with the help of external adviser MSCI ESG Research. The fund did not provide a timetable for the divestment in the statement.

The companies being excluded from the portfolio include Springfield, Mass.-based American Outdoor Brands Corp., maker of Smith & Wesson guns, and Clayton, Mo.-based OLIN Corp., the owner of the Winchester rifle brand.

At NZ$19 million, the fund's combined investments in those gun-related firms come to less than 5 basis points of the total portfolio.

The NZ Super statement said it's possible more companies could be identified for exclusion in the future.

Other companies currently excluded from the sovereign wealth fund's portfolio include makers of cluster munitions, anti-personnel mines and tobacco, as well as those involved in the manufacture or testing of nuclear explosive devices, the processing of whale meat or recreational cannabis.