News Wrap

IN THIS morning’s News Wrap: Oxford weighs scrapping fossil fuels from $3.9 billion endowment; Labor MP says pro-nuclear debate ‘getting easier’; and investors want low-debt South32.

Lou Caruana

Oxford weighs scrapping fossil fuels from $3.9 billion endowment

Oxford University will consider Monday whether to become the most prominent academic institution to join a growing movement in favour of divesting from publicly traded fossil fuel companies, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

Leading universities have been divided on the issue, with Harvard and Yale universities, which control the biggest endowments in the US, ruling out action for now. About 200 institutions worldwide have pledged to scale back investments in polluting industries, including Glasgow University in Scotland and Stanford University in California.

Labor MP says pro-nuclear debate ‘getting easier’

South Australian Labor MP Leesa Vlahos says pro-nuclear advocates have started to win the debate in the five weeks since Premier Jay Weatherill announced a royal commission into the nuclear industry, according to the Australian Financial Review.

Vlahos, who was elected to the South Australian parliament in 2010, is going against the trend of the traditional ALP platform across the nation of being staunchly against the nuclear industry. She is among more than 510 people or organisations to have made submissions as the inquiry prepares to get underway on Thursday.

Investors want low-debt South32

Large BHP Billiton shareholders say the $US13 billion ($17.1 billion) spin-off South32 should start life with modest debt of less than $US1.5 billion, giving it the flexibility to make acquisitions to grow and fund dividends, according to the Australian Financial Review.

This week, BHP will release 2000 pages of shareholder documents on the much-talked-about spin-off, which is slated to list in June.

Andrew Preston, senior investment manager at Aberdeen Investment Management, said the fund manager would “look upon it very positively if the company is not overburdened with debt”

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