November 12, 2001

A new report published today by the Burma Campaign UK finds that companies investing in Burma expose themselves to economic and political risks that could damage their profitability.
The report: Investing in Burma – A review of the risks for investors and companies, was commissioned by the Burma Campaign UK from former Goldman Sachs Executive Director, Fixed Income Research, Kirsty Jenkinson Thomas. It is aimed at investment fund managers, city analysts and market brokers.
It finds that companies investing in Burma face not only macro-economic risks resulting from the disastrous state of the Burmese economy, but also severe political risks due to instability inside the country, and reputational risk arising from consumer boycotts. The report contains a case study of Premier Oil detailing the negative impact on that company of its investment in Burma. There are current rumours that Amerada Hess will sell its 25% holding in Premier this month, as a result of public campaigning against Premier by the Burma Campaign UK, and shareholder activisim in the US.
“The moral case against investing in Burma is overwhelming”, said John Jackson, Director of the Burma Campaign UK. “Now this report throws the economic case into doubt. There are serious grounds for fund managers to reconsider the wisdom of investing in companies operating in Burma.”
In recent months Sara Lee (US), Fosters (Australia) and Kvaerner ASA (UK/Norway) have pulled out of Burma, following pressure from human rights groups. They follow the footsteps of PepsiCo, Levi’s, Warnaco and Heineken who have also withdrawn.
“Our message to investment funds and others who own shares in companies operating in Burma is to get out quick”, says John Jackson. “Not only are you providing financial support to one of the most brutal dictatorships in the world, you are also exposing investors to substantial and unnecessary financial risk.”

For more information and a copy of the report contact John Jackson on 020 7281 7377, mobile 07961 357 391.

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