MELBOURNE (Reuters) – S&P Dow Jones Indices said it is removing India’s Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd from its sustainability index due to the firm’s business ties with Myanmar’s military which is accused of human rights abuses after a coup this year.
The company, which is building a $290 million port in Yangon on land leased from the military-backed Myanmar Economic Corporation (MEC), did not immediately respond to a Reuters emailed request for comment.
Adani Group said late last month it would consult authorities and stakeholders on the project after human rights groups reported that its ports unit had an agreement to pay millions of dollars in rent to MEC.
The military coup on Feb. 1 and ensuing crackdown on protests has seen some 700 people killed, drawing international condemnation including sanctions last month from the United States and Britain on MEC and another military-controlled conglomerate, Myanmar Economic Holdings Public Company Ltd (MEHL).
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the sanctions were imposed to promote “accountability for the coup and the abhorrent violence and other abuses”.
Adani Ports will be removed from the index prior to the open this Thursday, S&P Dow Jones Indices said in a statement.
The decision was hailed by activists.
“This shows that there are commercial consequences for Adani Ports and other businesses that continue to disregard their human rights responsibilities by financing the Myanmar military,” said Yadanar Maung, a representative for activist group Justice For Myanmar.
Shares in Adani Ports were down 1% in early Tuesday trade. Its shares have in general been little affected by the Myanmar issue, having climbed some 40% since Feb. 1.
Some international firms have moved to sever or review ties with Myanmar firms linked to the military.
Japanese drinks giant Kirin Holdings in February scrapped its beer alliance with MEHL while sources have said South Korean steelmaker POSCO has begun weighing how it can exit a joint venture with MEHL.
(Reporting by Melanie Burton; Additional reporting by Sudarshan Varadhan; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)