PRESSURE COMPANIES IN BUSINESS WITH TERRORIST STATES
FT reports:Outrage over SEC terrorism ‘blacklist.’ They may be outraged but I am delighted. If only USG had done this in 2001 or 2002 we would be in better shape now. But, never mind. It does me good to see Total SA warning easily available to consumers with a conscience:
We have activities in certain countries which are subject to U.S. sanctions and our activities in Iran could lead to sanctions under relevant U.S. legislation.
Or consider this warning:
Transactions with counter parties in countries designated by the U.S. Department of State as state sponsors of terrorism may lead some potential customers and investors in the U.S. and other countries to avoid doing business with us or investing in our shares.
Does it matter? You bet:
By clicking on each country, investors see a list of companies that mention that country in their latest annual reports. The companies are mostly non-US and include Unilever, Cadbury, HSBC, Nokia, Siemens and Total.
Christopher Cox, SEC chairman, described the site as falling under the commission’s investor-protection mission. “No investor should ever have to wonder whether his or her investments or retirement savings are indirectly subsidizing a terrorist haven or genocidal state.”. . .
Todd Malan, president of the Organization for International Investment, representing 1,200 foreign companies with US listings, said: “My phone has been ringing off the hook. It makes it look like they are sitting around drinking tea in Tehran and writing big cheques.”
He said the list “had no threshold for judging whether a company does a material level of business in a country”.
We in the bloggersphere can increase the pressure by spreading the word. We bought Danish products now we can stop buying products doing business with terror sponsoring companies. To find the list of those companies in business with Iran, Syria, Sudan, North Korea and even Cuba click here. Clicking on the individual countries brings up a list of companies involved with them. Clicking on the individual companies provides information about the extent of its involvement and also whether it has been expanding or constructing its business there.
Claims that their ties are marginal does not hold water. Au contraire if they are so marginal, they can be dropped with little consequence to the companies' financial health. Right? So, let's hold their feet to the fire. Let's get their phones to ringing. If we are lucky we may just be able to forgo another war.
Here are some of my preliminary targets for scorn.
REAL BAD GUYS:
A range of our products, particularly Plastics and Performance Products, is delivered mostly to private companies. . . . Sales to customers in Iran of dual-use products, which are products that can be used for both civil and military purposes and could be used as precursors for agents in chemical weapons. . . . The customers of these dual-use products are state-owned companies.
Nokia Corp does not even try to apologize. DO NOT BUY NOKIA!
Siemens Aktiengesellschaft Siemens has only curtailed its business in Sudan but not in Iran and Syria. Do not buy Siemens products.
Royal Dutch Shell plc ADMITS it does not comply with US sanctions! Buy your gas elsewhere!
Statoil ASA They cut a new deal with Iran at the end of 2006 which they admit may not comply with US sanctions. This is an oil company owned by the Norwegian government - For shame!
ENI SpA They are active not only in Iran but in Venezuela.
BP tries to avoid US sanctions on Iran. We can buy our gas elsewhere.
Through non-US subsidiaries or other entities, BP conducts or has conducted limited marketing, licensing and trading activities and technical studies in certain countries subject to US sanctions, in particular in Iran and with Iranian counterparties, including the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) and affiliated entities, and has a small representative office in Iran.
Bank of Tokyo — Mitsubishi UFJ, Ltd. Attempting to downplay the significance of its actions, the bank mixes its Cuban and Iranian investments. But the difference is glaring:
We do not believe our operations relating to Iran and Cuba are material to our business, financial condition and results of operations, as the loans outstanding to borrowers in or affiliated with Iran and Cuba as of March 31, 2006 were approximately $1,078.4 million and $17.0 million, respectively, which together represented less than 0.1% of our total assets as of March 31, 2006.
ING Groep NV has been doing business with Iran, Syria and Cuba and is reviewing its involvement. I am going to make some phone calls.
Unilever N.V. Not buying their products is not easy. You will find the list of their food products (Wishbone, Country Crock, Knorr, Bertolli olive oil, Lipton, Slimfast, Ben&Jerry ice cream) here, Homecare (Surf) here and personal care (Axe, Dove, Lux, Pond's, Rexona, Sunsilk and Vaseline here.
Imperial Tobacco Group PLC feels it may be in trouble.
Double Hull Tankers, Inc knows it should stay away from Iran but has not yet committed itself to so doing.
Millicom International Cellular SA terminated relationship with Iran.
I hope I got this right but if not, let me know and I will be glad to correct or add stuff. hopefully, others with greater expertise in this field will continue digging. In the meantime, let's keep those phones ringing. Tom Lifson reports on our tightening the screws on Iran. We can help.
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