Sightline Daily | News & Views for a Sustainable Northwest, January 8, 2014
By Eric de Place
[This post is part of the research project: Northwest Coal Exports]
The news is everywhere: finance titan Goldman Sachs is selling off its stake in SSA Marine, the would-be coal exporter of Whatcom County. (To be precise, Goldman Sachs Infrastructure Partners, a subsidiary of the big firm, is selling its stake in FRS Capital Corp and Carrix, the parent companies that house SSA.) Many see the move as a major bet against the economic viability of Northwest coal export schemes.
Though it is important to remember that SSA Marine is a big company with a range of port terminal holdings around the globe, there is evidence for believing that the sale is connected to worries about coal.
Goldman Sachs last July posted a warning for investors that coal exports would decline in future years. Tuesday’s announcement prompted a prominent coal opponent, Crina Hoyer of ReSources for Sustainable Communities, to say, “Goldman Sachs’ stepping away from coal export is yet another sign from Wall Street that coal export is a losing investment.”
Just as interesting as Goldman bailing out is that a billionaire Mexican investor, Fernando Chico Pardo, is stepping up to buy the 49 percent equity stake Goldman is unloading. Pardo is a longtime partner of oligarch Carlos Slim, one of the richest people on earth and the dominant player in numerous economic sectors of Mexico.