NYC pensions target Halliburton, Conoco business in Iran

Houston Business Journal

New York City's pension fund chief said on he wants a review of Halliburton Co., ConocoPhillips and General Electric Co. operations in countries that sponsor "terror," such as Iran and Syria, Reuters reported on Monday.

City Comptroller William Thompson, in a statement, accused Houston-based oil services company Halliburton, Houston-based oil company ConocoPhillips and Fairfield, Conn.-based GE, of possibly hurting shareholder value, citing their sales and services in "terrorist-linked" countries.

The $31 billion pension funds for New York City's police and firefighters sponsored the resolutions.

Halliburton spokeswoman Wendy Hall told Reuters that the activities of Halliburton's subsidiary in Iran are "very limited" and staffed by non-U.S. personnel. "The company believes the operations of these subsidiaries are compliant with U.S. laws."

ConocoPhillips did not immediately return calls for comment, Reuters reported.

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To reduce the risk to shareholders that their investments could be harmed, Thompson filed shareholder resolutions asking the three firms' boards to set up committees to review operations in "terror-linked" countries.

Thompson accused the firms of setting up offshore and United Kingdom subsidiaries to sidestep U.S. laws against doing business with Iran and Syria countries that Washington says sponsor "terrorism." Shareholder value is threatened by possible negative publicity, public protests and a loss of consumer confidence, he said.

Five New York City pension funds, including the fire and police retirement systems, own $23 million in Halliburton securities, a $31 million investment in ConocoPhillips and $951 million in holdings of General Electric.