May 15, 2019 / 5:56 AM / 2 months ago

Rothschild withdraws from advising Adani on Australia coal project

Indian billionaire Gautam Adani speaks during an interview with Reuters at his office in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad in this April 2, 2014 file photo. REUTERS/Amit Dave/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) - Rothschild & Co has decided not to advise India’s Adani in the financing or development of the $4 billion (£3.10 billion) Carmichael coal mine in Queensland, Australia, a letter from the bank to an environmental group said.

The bank is also not advising the firm on the planned sale of stake in the Abbot Point Coal export terminal, said the May 12 confidential letter to Friends of the Earth, France.

A spokeswoman for the bank confirmed the authenticity of the letter but provided no further comment.

The decision comes as banks and other financial institutions are facing increasing pressure to cut investments in coal, blamed for adding more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere than any other fuel, as the world moves to curb greenhouse gas emissions.

The Carmichael coal mine, which has been in planning since 2010, has become a lightning rod for debate on climate change ahead of Australia’s May 18 election.

Friends of the Earth said in a statement on Tuesday that the decision by Rothschild came after several requests from Friends of the Earth and partner organisations.

It added that the announcement come two days before the release of a report that would reveal the bank’s significant activities in the coal sector.

“While other French banks have restricted their coal advisory services, Rothschild & Co sees a financial windfall and is currently advising Uniper on the sale of its French coal plants to EPH,” the NGO said in the statement.

It said the organisation will be present at Rothschild’s general assembly meeting in Paris on May 16, and would ask management to put an end to all financial services related to the coal sector.

Reporting by Bate Felix, editing by Louise Heavens

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