(Adds reaction from Dutch Heart Foundation)
AMSTERDAM, Jan 11 (Reuters) - ABP, the largest Dutch pension fund, plans to sell its remaining holdings in tobacco companies and nuclear arms manufacturers, worth roughly 3.3 billion euros ($4 billion), it said on Thursday.
ABP said in a statement it aimed to divest the holdings, which were not named, within a year.
“ABP is taking the next step in its sustainable and responsible investment policy,” it said. “Participants, employers and other stakeholders have growing concerns about investments in tobacco and nuclear arms.”
With assets worth roughly 400 billion euros, ABP said the decision reflected the company’s new investment criteria.
ABP’s head of investment policy, Erik van Houwelingen, said the investments had posed a dilemma for some time and the decision reflected changing social perceptions and new laws and regulations.
Floris Italianer, director of the Dutch Heart Foundation, praised ABP for taking a leading role in helping to discourage tobacco use and called on other financial institutions to follow suit.
“ABP has provided a good example: it is high time to stop investing in this deadly sector,” Italianer said. “Smoking is by far the leading preventable cause of disease and death in the Netherlands. Every year 20,000 people in the Netherlands die due to the consequences of smoking.”
$1 = 0.8323 euros Reporting by Anthony Deutsch; Editing by Susan Fenton and Mark Potter