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National Pension Reserve Fund Has €21m Worth Of Investments With Tobacco Firms

Published on Feb 6 2014 6:39 PM in Retail

National Pension Reserve Fund Has €21m Worth Of Investments With Tobacco Firms

The government's National Pension Reserve Fund (NPRF) has €21 million worth of equities and bonds in leading international tobacco firms, Checkout has learned.

The information was revealed by the CSNA's Vincent Jennings at the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children hearing earlier today, on the proposed Public Health (Standardised Packaging of Tobacco) Bill. It is taken from the NPRF Annual Report for 2012.

In terms of equities, a total of 133,215 shares (worth €8.4 million) are with Philip Morris International, 75,369 shares (worth €2.8 million) are with British American Tobacco (BAT), 38,549 shares (worth €1.1 million) are with Imperial Tobacco, 67,900 shares (worth €1.5 million) are with Japan Tobacco International (JTI), 8,662 shares (worth €0.8 million) are with Lorillard (makers of the Newport brand in the US), and 28,759 shares (worth €0.9 million) are with Reynolds American.

In addition, 8,352 shares (worth €0.2 million) are with Swedish Match, which is the largest manufacturer and distributor of snus, a product that is currently banned by the EU for consumption within the Union.

With regard to bonds, the NPRF has 2.56 million Imperial Tobacco Bonds (worth €2.91 million), 1.3 million BAT Bonds (worth €1.44 million) and 880,000 Philip Morris Bonds (worth €0.91 million).

Addressing the Committee during today's hearing, Jennings said that it was "extraordinary" that the government has such a sizeable investment in tobacco companies via the NPRF, and suggested to the Committee that they "earnestly request the redirection of this €21 million, which is 'tainted money', to tobacco control measures."

While there is a list of companies that the National Pension Reserve Fund is not permitted by law to invest in (including certain armaments makers), there are no tobacco companies on this list.

As well as the CSNA's Vincent Jennings, Joe Sweeney of NFRN Ireland, Tara Buckley of RGDATA, Paul Candon of Topaz/Retail Excellence Ireland, Sharon Higgins of IBEC and packaging consultant Mike Ridgeway were among those presenting to the Committee at today's hearing.

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