Australian Ethical Investment, the Sydney-based sustainability investment specialist with A$801.7m (€520.4m) in assets under management, has sold out of listed geothermal energy firm Petratherm after it shifted into drilling for shale oil and gas.
The fund firm had been an investor in the Adelaide-based company for several years, attracted by its development of geothermal energy technologies, which it says offers one of the most promising alternatives to fossil fuels.
But in 2013 the company announced it had applied for a license to explore for unconventional fossil fuel resources in Tasmania. Last month it announced that the Tasmanian government had granted its wholly owned subsidiary PetraGas an exploration licence.
Petratherm said the move leverages its geology and drilling expertise and its knowledge of the Australian electricity and gas markets.But Australian Ethical sees it as a “major shift” from its pure focus on renewable energy: “We do not compromise on our commitment to our ethics and we have consequently divested from Petratherm.”
Petratherm, which listed on the Australian Securities Exchange in 2004 – and which is constituent of the ACT Australian CleanTech Index – says it is “committed to the exploration and development of emission free, geothermal energy projects that are commercially sustainable”.
In February Australian Ethical announced that net profit after tax was up 150% to A$1.2m on revenues of $9.7m (up 25.9%). It is the first listed company in Australia to be certified as a registered B Corporation.
“Our net flows are strong, new client numbers are almost triple what they were a few years ago and our costs are being kept under control,” said Managing Director Phil Vernon. Link