MOSCOW, November 20 (RIA Novosti) - Shares of the Russian metals giant Norilsk Nickel have been excluded from the portfolio of the Government Pension Fund of Norway, the country's Finance Ministry said in a statement.
The decision has been made under the ethical guidelines outlined by the fund's Ethical Council due to extensive environmental degradation related to the company's activities on the Taymyr Peninsula.
The council said Norilsk Nickel facilities on the peninsula emitted unacceptable amounts of sulfur dioxide and heavy metals in the atmosphere.
Norway's Finance Ministry sold Norilsk Nickel shares held by the Government Pension Fund of Norway by October 31.
The Fund does not announce exclusions until it has completed sales of its positions, so as not to affect the share price at the time of the transaction.
Norilsk Nickel accounts for more than 20% of global nickel output, more than 10% of cobalt production and 3% of copper.
The company said on October 19 that its net profit under International Financial Reporting Standards declined 84%, year-on-year, in January-June 2009 to $439 million.