A partial victory on Fidelity
Since it went public in January, the campaign to get Fidelity to divest from a subsidiary of Petro China has gotten a lot of attention. PetroChina does oil business in Sudan, and the campaigners successfully pushed the message that Fidelity was "funding genocide" by investing in the company. The campaign got extra steam when the Save Darfur Coalition jumped aboard, too.
This week, the campaign had a major victory: a filing by Fidelity showed that it had taken 91% of its ADR's in PetroChina (whatever that means) out of the company. Some initial articles implied this meant it had removed 91% of it's total investments in PetroChina, but soon the articles explained that in fact the ADR's represented less than half of Fidelity's investment in the company.
Eric Cohen, who leads the Massachusetts-based Fidelity Out of Sudan campaign, explained the detalis in an email to supporters:
When Fidelity files an updated 13G report revealing the extent of their overall global holdings of PetroChina, only then will we understand the impact on their total holdings of PetroChina. To illustrate this point, if Fidelity neither reduced nor increased their holdings of H shares, their reduction in ADR holdings means that their total holdings would have been reduced by approximately 38%.
Meanwhile, Fidelity says it's all a coincidence -- that this move has to do with financial reasons, not with Darfur reasons. Hah. Not surprising; it would be a terrible move for a company to admit that they can be pressured into changing policy.
The Boston Globe gets comment from a John Bonnanzio, editor of a newsletter for Fidelity shareholders: "It would certainly be an extraordinary coincidence for them to have sold these shares..."