The world's largest money manager has sold most of its holdings in China Telecom Corp., the latest divestment from Chinese firms that are the subjects of U.S. sanctions.
BlackRock, which Thursday revealed a record $8.7 trillion in assets under management, said in a regulatory filing with the Hong Kong stock exchange it had sold over 818 million shares in China Telecom Corp. Calculations show the divested shares amount to about HK$1.6 billion ($206 million).
The filing, which said the "event" happened Tuesday, showed BlackRock now has a 0.2% holding in the telecommunications firm, down from 6.1%.
A reason for the divestment was not given. A BlackRock spokesman was not immediately available to comment.
The firm has been reducing its holdings in China Telecom and two other sanctioned firms, China Mobile and China Unicom Hong Kong, in recent weeks, with plans to continue divesting, Bloomberg reported Monday.
The divestment is the latest from Chinese firms that have been sanctioned by the U.S. administration. On Nov. 12, President Donald Trump published an executive order banning U.S. investment certain Chinese companies starting Jan. 11 and requiring holdings to be divested by Nov. 11.
Other managers that have addressed the issue include Vanguard Group, which had liquidated its holdings of U.S.-sanctioned Chinese firms as of Jan. 8, according to Bloomberg; State Street Global Advisors, which said in a statement this week that, as of Jan. 8, it had divested or was seeking to divest from holdings in sanctioned securities in all vehicles other than its Tracker Fund of Hong Kong; and Aberdeen Standard Investments, which confirmed in a news release on Jan. 7 that none of its U.S.-domiciled funds hold any sanctioned securities or are in the process of divesting.
"In the limited instances where divestment is required under the Executive Order, the exposure to CCMC securities does not represent a significant portion of the portfolio (no more than 3%)," the ASI release said.
Index providers have also removed sanctioned Chinese companies from their indexes.