World  Business and Economic Analysis 

Iran,

  • Royal Dutch Shell Settles Debt With Iran, Eases Further Investment

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    Shell repays £1.4 billion to Iran for its crude oil deliveries; Bidness Etc discusses whether the energy company is eyeing investment opportunities


    By Muhammad Ali Khawar

    Royal Dutch Shell plc (ADR) (NYSE:RDS.A) has paid around £1.4 billion (1.77 billion euros) to National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), according to Reuters, to settle debt repayment against Iran. The US and EU sanctions that had crippled the oil-rich country’s economy were lifted earlier this year, easing repayment of debt which was accumulated over many years.

    The US sanctions on Iran still hinder dollar-based transactions, which is why all payments have been made in euros. According to news sources, the payments were made over a course of three weeks.

    Following the imposition of western sanctions on Iranian export in 2006, several international energy companies owed billions of dollars to the state-owned oil company. The companies did not pay for the oil deliveries, which they had imported before the sanctions were imposed. European companies owed around $4 billion to Iran for their crude oil imports.

    In July 2015, Iran entered into a Nuclear Deal with the US and other countries, which expects the former to reduce its nuclear activities in exchange for removal of sanctions. Earlier this year, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) assessed Iran’s performance and gave a green-light to lift economic sanctions on the country. This has opened the world’s fourth largest owner of oil reserves for international trade and has also allowed global energy companies to start making repayments to Iran.
    Shell: Eyeing an Increase in Asset Base in Iran?

    In February, the Anglo-Dutch oil and gas company announced plans to repay $2 billion in debt to Iran. According to news sources, the debt repayment would allow Shell to make new capital investments in the country.

    Iran, which owns the largest gas reserves in the world, is one of Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC)’s biggest exporter of crude oil. It exported 2.5 million barrels of crude oil per day (bpd) before the sanctions were imposed. Following the Nuclear Deal, the Islamic Republic expects to increase its crude oil exports by 1 million bpd in March.As the country increases its crude oil exports to 4 million bpd for the year, it is struggling to increase foreign investment in its oil and gas industry.

    In November, Iran's Minister of Petroleum, Bijan Namdar Zanganeh conducted a two-day conference in Tehran. He introduced the new oil contract model and urged oil giants to conduct business in the country. Top executives of Total SA (ADR) (NYSE:TOT), BP, Statoil, and Shell attended the conference. Earlier this year, Total entered into a deal with Iran to import 150,000–200,000 bpd from the country.

    In the past, Shell had expressed intentions to invest in Iran, and to expand its global asset portfolio. Following the $70 billion merger with London-based BG Group plc, the energy giant has increased its exposure to Brazilian offshore and liquefied natural gas (LNG) markets. Investment in Iran would further strengthen the oil major’s balance sheet.
    Iran to Reestablish Oil Industry

    Iran has also indicated that it needs billion of euros, which are owed by global energy companies. The country needs funds to reestablish its oil and gas industry.

    As other global oil producers including the US and Russia are planning to cut their oil production amid a low crude environment, Iran plans to increase its output and crude oil exports. The country has not expressed its interest in joining Saudi Arabia and Russia to freeze output at January level.

    If Shell and other energy giants invest in Iran in the coming months, the country’s production is expected to increase further. Industry experts are already predicting that increasing production from Iran, in the face of low demand from China, one of the biggest energy consumers, would continue to pressurize crude oil prices in the near future.

    Currently, Brent is trading at $40.59 per barrel and US crude oil benchmark, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) is trading at $37.71 per barrel. In June 2014, oil prices were above $110 per barrel.

  • S Korea vows to support Iran in development of capital markets

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    A senior financial regulator said  that South Korea will support Iran in the development of its capital markets, citing ongoing financial cooperation between the two countries.

    Jeong Eun-bo, vice chairman of the Financial Services Commission, said bilateral cooperation has gained further urgency to meet growing financial needs following the lifting of international sanctions on Tehran earlier this year.

    Jeong made the comments in a meeting with Shapour Mohammadi, head of Iran's Securities and Exchange Organization, in Seoul, though he did not elaborate.

    South Korea is seeking business opportunities in Iran as the oil-rich country is aggressively working on infrastructure and development projects.

    President Park Geun-hye visited Tehran in May and met with her Iranian counterpart.

    Industry data showed that the trade volume between Korea and Iran stood at US$6.1 billion in 2015, down sharply from $17.4 billion in 2011 due to the sanctions.

  • S. Korea Makes Inroads Into Iran Opening

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    South Korean companies are briskly moving to tap into Iran’s fast-growing construction and consumer markets, regarding the Iranian boom as a breakthrough to their prolonged business slump amid the global economic slowdown.
    Local business executives expect that President Park Geun-hye’s visit to Iran, slated for May 1-3, as well as the dispatch of a large-scale business delegation to Tehran, will provide fresh momentum to their inroads into Iran, which is in the midst of rebuilding its infrastructure following the lifting of western sanctions, Yonhap News Agency reported.
    The construction sector was quick to move, as major builders are eying large-scale deals with Iran.
    Hyundai Engineering & Construction Company is pushing to secure a $500 million contract to build a hospital and medical facilities, a project initiated by Iran’s Ministry of Cooperatives, Labor and Social Welfare. GS Engineering & Construction Co. and Daelim Industrial Co. have sent their staff in preparation for more deals.
    Trade firms have also been rushing to Iran. SK Networks, which handled about 14% of Iran-bound exports last year, increased the number of its local staff from nine to 13, with a plan to expand its business.
    Shipyards are among those keenly interested in business deals with Iran. Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., a major shipyard here, is reportedly in talks with Iran’s state-run shipper IRISL on a deal to build three container ships for an estimated $350 million.

     1st Presidential Visit Since 1962
    From May 1-3, President Park is to visit Iran for a summit with her Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani. The president is likely to be accompanied by more than 200 businesspeople from such fields as construction, energy, finance, shipping and steel.
    Her visit, the first of its kind by a South Korean president since the two sides established diplomatic relations in 1962, comes as Iran has been emerging as a high-potential market after years of sanctions were lifted in January.
    “Relevant government agencies are now making all-out efforts to ensure that the summit talks could lead to more orders and exports in the Iranian market,” a South Korean government official said on condition of anonymity.
    With a population of over 80 million, the Middle East country abounds in natural resources, holding the world’s fourth-largest oil reserves and the largest gas reserves.
    In the past decades, South Korean builders had clinched deals worth $12 billion with Iran, but since 2009 there have been few deals, due mostly to the economic sanctions that the United Nations imposed on the country over its nuclear program in 2010.
    A World Bank report earlier forecast that Iran’s economy will grow 5.1% and 5.5% this and next year, respectively, possibly turning around the negative growth seen in the previous two years.
    South Korea once enjoyed active trading with Iran before the crippling sanctions were imposed on Tehran. Government data showed that South Korea’s exports to Iran hit an all-time high of $6.26 billion in 2012 but it had nearly halved to $3.76 billion last year.
    Talks have been actively underway between the two countries to put their economic and business ties back on track in many areas.

      Construction Sector at Forefront
    In late February, the two sides held a meeting of a joint commission for economic cooperation in Tehran and agreed to expand cooperation in infrastructure, including power plants, petrochemical factories, dams and railroads. This raised hopes that construction might be one of the key areas that could benefit from the opening of the Iranian market.
    “South Korea will push for partnership and cooperation with Iran from a long-term perspective,” Joo Hyung-hwan, South Korean minister of trade, industry and energy, said at the meeting. He cited three major fields: Iran’s campaign to restructure its industry, the nation’s efforts to improve welfare services, including healthcare and education, and the joint development of social overhead capital.
    In one of close to 300 potential deals discussed, POSCO Energy Co., a unit of South Korea’s top steelmaker POSCO, signed a memorandum of understanding with Iranian steelmaker PKP to build an off-gas power plant in the Middle Eastern country.
    “In particular, the construction sector will likely get a boost from the opening of the social overhead capital in Iran,” said Hong Joon-pyo, a researcher at Hyundai Research Institute, a private think tank.
    “We expect the president’s visit to resolve sensitive issues and break any logjam... What the president has to do is to reduce risks and uncertainties facing businesses seeking to enter the market.”
    During her stay in Iran, talks will likely be held about cooperation in the energy sector and more specifically the construction of hospitals and multipurpose dams and seaports there, sources said.
    Bracing for increasing exchanges going forward, both sides are expected to discuss ways of building settlement systems using such currencies as the euro and the renminbi to facilitate bilateral trade, which has been hampered by sanctions, they added.
    The corporate circle seems to be keenly interested in the president’s trip to Iran, with the sights trained on their own possible business opportunities.
    The list of companies joining the delegation has not been finalized but the number will likely grow to over 300, industry sources said. It would be more than three times larger than a similar delegation led by the commerce minister who visited Iran in late February.
    According to media reports, high-ranking officials from large business groups such as SK, Hanjin and KT Corp. have already expressed their intention to join, as they are seeking deals in each of their interested areas, namely energy, airline and telecommunications.

  • S. Korea Makes Inroads Into Iran Opening

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    South Korean companies are briskly moving to tap into Iran’s fast-growing construction and consumer markets, regarding the Iranian boom as a breakthrough to their prolonged business slump amid the global economic slowdown.
    Local business executives expect that President Park Geun-hye’s visit to Iran, slated for May 1-3, as well as the dispatch of a large-scale business delegation to Tehran, will provide fresh momentum to their inroads into Iran, which is in the midst of rebuilding its infrastructure following the lifting of western sanctions, Yonhap News Agency reported.
    The construction sector was quick to move, as major builders are eying large-scale deals with Iran.
    Hyundai Engineering & Construction Company is pushing to secure a $500 million contract to build a hospital and medical facilities, a project initiated by Iran’s Ministry of Cooperatives, Labor and Social Welfare. GS Engineering & Construction Co. and Daelim Industrial Co. have sent their staff in preparation for more deals.
    Trade firms have also been rushing to Iran. SK Networks, which handled about 14% of Iran-bound exports last year, increased the number of its local staff from nine to 13, with a plan to expand its business.
    Shipyards are among those keenly interested in business deals with Iran. Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., a major shipyard here, is reportedly in talks with Iran’s state-run shipper IRISL on a deal to build three container ships for an estimated $350 million.

     1st Presidential Visit Since 1962
    From May 1-3, President Park is to visit Iran for a summit with her Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani. The president is likely to be accompanied by more than 200 businesspeople from such fields as construction, energy, finance, shipping and steel.
    Her visit, the first of its kind by a South Korean president since the two sides established diplomatic relations in 1962, comes as Iran has been emerging as a high-potential market after years of sanctions were lifted in January.
    “Relevant government agencies are now making all-out efforts to ensure that the summit talks could lead to more orders and exports in the Iranian market,” a South Korean government official said on condition of anonymity.
    With a population of over 80 million, the Middle East country abounds in natural resources, holding the world’s fourth-largest oil reserves and the largest gas reserves.
    In the past decades, South Korean builders had clinched deals worth $12 billion with Iran, but since 2009 there have been few deals, due mostly to the economic sanctions that the United Nations imposed on the country over its nuclear program in 2010.
    A World Bank report earlier forecast that Iran’s economy will grow 5.1% and 5.5% this and next year, respectively, possibly turning around the negative growth seen in the previous two years.
    South Korea once enjoyed active trading with Iran before the crippling sanctions were imposed on Tehran. Government data showed that South Korea’s exports to Iran hit an all-time high of $6.26 billion in 2012 but it had nearly halved to $3.76 billion last year.
    Talks have been actively underway between the two countries to put their economic and business ties back on track in many areas.

      Construction Sector at Forefront
    In late February, the two sides held a meeting of a joint commission for economic cooperation in Tehran and agreed to expand cooperation in infrastructure, including power plants, petrochemical factories, dams and railroads. This raised hopes that construction might be one of the key areas that could benefit from the opening of the Iranian market.
    “South Korea will push for partnership and cooperation with Iran from a long-term perspective,” Joo Hyung-hwan, South Korean minister of trade, industry and energy, said at the meeting. He cited three major fields: Iran’s campaign to restructure its industry, the nation’s efforts to improve welfare services, including healthcare and education, and the joint development of social overhead capital.
    In one of close to 300 potential deals discussed, POSCO Energy Co., a unit of South Korea’s top steelmaker POSCO, signed a memorandum of understanding with Iranian steelmaker PKP to build an off-gas power plant in the Middle Eastern country.
    “In particular, the construction sector will likely get a boost from the opening of the social overhead capital in Iran,” said Hong Joon-pyo, a researcher at Hyundai Research Institute, a private think tank.
    “We expect the president’s visit to resolve sensitive issues and break any logjam... What the president has to do is to reduce risks and uncertainties facing businesses seeking to enter the market.”
    During her stay in Iran, talks will likely be held about cooperation in the energy sector and more specifically the construction of hospitals and multipurpose dams and seaports there, sources said.
    Bracing for increasing exchanges going forward, both sides are expected to discuss ways of building settlement systems using such currencies as the euro and the renminbi to facilitate bilateral trade, which has been hampered by sanctions, they added.
    The corporate circle seems to be keenly interested in the president’s trip to Iran, with the sights trained on their own possible business opportunities.
    The list of companies joining the delegation has not been finalized but the number will likely grow to over 300, industry sources said. It would be more than three times larger than a similar delegation led by the commerce minister who visited Iran in late February.
    According to media reports, high-ranking officials from large business groups such as SK, Hanjin and KT Corp. have already expressed their intention to join, as they are seeking deals in each of their interested areas, namely energy, airline and telecommunications.

  • S. Korean Firms Eye Multibillion Dollar Deals

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    South Korea’s president heads to Iran on Sunday targeting billions of dollars of economic and energy deals in a landmark visit.
    President Park Geun-hye will help establish a “foundation of cooperation” with Iran by becoming the first South Korean president to visit Tehran since the nations established diplomatic ties in 1962, a presidential spokesman said ahead of the visit, The Wall Street Journal reported.
    She will meet Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Monday and possibly hold talks with Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
    Officials in Seoul say the primary purpose of the visit is economic, as Korean companies eye deals in areas such as construction, autos and electronics.
    Park will be accompanied by Seoul’s biggest-ever traveling business delegation of over 230 executives during the three-day visit.
    East Asian nations are scrambling to boost economic links with Tehran after it won relief from western sanctions last year by agreeing to restrictions on its nuclear program.
    Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Iran in January and announced ambitious trade plans, while Japan signed an investment treaty with Iran a month later.
    South Korea is also eager to boost its oil supply from Iran, which used to account for 10% of its oil imports before sanctions were imposed.

     Banking on Past Loyalty

    According to South Korean government sources, contractor Daelim Industrial is expected to sign a $4.9 billion contract to build a railroad in Isfahan and a $2 billion contract to build the Bakhtiari hydroelectric power plant, Korea JoongAng Daily reported.
    These will be the first major contracts won by a South Korean company since GS Engineering & Construction won a gas field development project in South Pars in October 2009, which was before the imposition of western economic sanctions on Iran in 2010.
    Daelim’s advantage is its strong connection with Iran. The contractor maintained four employees in Iran even after the economic sanctions went into effect. That kept its networks going and earned points with Iranian government officials and businesspeople.
    The company is known for having successfully completed the Kangan gas refining building project during the Iran-Iraq War. In 1998, the year that war ended, 10 of its employees were killed in an airstrike by Iraq. The contractor has completed 26 projects worth $4.55 billion in Iran over the past 40 years.
    “Earning and keeping the trust of clients are very important,” a Daelim spokesman said. “No matter what happened, it was important for us to finish our jobs there. We have been carefully monitoring what is going on in Iran and we are happy to resume our partnership with the country this time.”
    Daelim is not the only company with such a history. Contractors like Hyundai, Daewoo, Samsung and GS have similar experiences. They also maintained offices in Iran all through the sanctions, even though they couldn’t do any business, to keep up their connections. Now, they’re poised for new contracts.
    Earlier this year, the Iranian government announced the launch of large construction projects totaling 214 trillion won ($186 billion) through 2020. The big opportunities are in construction, automobiles, information technology and consumer goods.
    Iran is poised to grow faster than most countries in the Middle East, thanks to its nuclear accord with the international community and its enormous oil and gas reserves.
    “Korean companies and Iran are expected to carry out new deals as early as the second half of this year,” said Kim Hyung-keun, a researcher at NH Investment & Securities.
    “Major contractors that have experience in Iran will try to penetrate sectors they are strong in. Daelim will knock on the doors of the gas and oil refining companies, while Hyundai will look into power plant projects and Daewoo will focus on industrial infrastructure.”
    Construction is the most promising sector.
    According to the International Contractors Association of Korea, Korean companies completed projects worth $1.2 billion through 2009 and Korean builders could win projects of up to $20 billion in the next few years, nearly twice the size of contractors’ overseas orders, which hit $11.8 billion as of last month, a 44% drop from a year earlier.
    Last year, South Korea only won $46.1 billion worth of projects, the lowest amount since 2007, mainly due to shrinking demand in the Middle East.

     Ambitious Lineup

    Hyundai Engineering is close to signing a framework agreement on the Iranian South Pars Gas Field’s Phase 12 extension work worth $3.6 billion.
    Hyundai and Posco Daewoo are trying to join a project for building a 1,000-bed hospital for Shiraz University of Medical Sciences worth $500 million.
    Now that sanctions are removed, Iran is preparing to export more crude oil. According to industry data, Iran currently has 30 to 50 million barrels of oil ready to be shipped.
    The Iranian government said in April that it will increase its daily crude oil exports from 2 million barrels to 4 million barrels until next March. That policy will positively impact South Korean oil refiners, as the average international oil price is expected to fall.
    In January and February, South Korea imported twice as much crude oil from Iran than it did last year and that significantly helped oil refiners improve their profits.
    Korea’s No. 1 oil refiner, SK Innovation, reported 844.8 billion won operating profit in the first quarter, a 153.2% rise from a year earlier. Iranian crude is about $2.5 cheaper per barrel than Saudi crude.
    Korean automakers like Hyundai Motor, which is sending its president, Chung Jin-haeng, as a member of President Park Geun-hye’s delegation, expect to resume their partnership with Iran.
    “Car sales in Iran shrank from 2011’s 1.7 million units to 1.1 million units in 2014, but we believe that the market will grow in the future, as the country’s overall economy is expected to boom,” said Hwang Kwan-sik, a spokesman for the carmaker.
    Joo Won, a researcher at Hyundai Research Institute, said opportunities in consumer goods like cosmetics and electronics, as well as airlines, will be seen in Iran.
    “The most important key to successfully launching businesses will be financing. The Korean and Iranian governments need to seriously discuss how they will support businesses,” he said.

     Posco to Export Technology

    Pohang-based multinational steelmaker Posco is looking to enter the Iranian market through exports of its proprietary technologies.
    Since the inauguration of current CEO Kwon Oh-joon, the company has raced to procure new sources of revenue through sales of self-developed technology like Finex and Compact Endless Cast & Rolling Mill.
    In March, the company formalized plans to begin selling its steelmaking technologies, engineering models and management systems during its 48th general shareholders meeting.
    Under this new business model, Posco will collect royalties from steelmakers who make direct use of their technology, as well as part of the revenue from orders won by companies using their management systems. Posco also expects to profit by dispatching its engineers to overseas facilities.
    The company’s decision comes amid saturation in the global steel market. Having determined only so much profit can be made from the sale of steel products, it is looking to capitalize on the wealth of technology it has accumulated through 48 years of constant research and development.
    This February, Posco signed a memorandum of understanding with Iran’s Pars Kohan Diar Parsian Steel (PKP) to tap into the country’s high-potential market. Under the agreement, it will build a plant with an annual production capacity of 1.6 million tons in Iran’s Chabahar free economic zone.
    The project will be carried out in two stages, with the first involving construction of an integrated steel mill using Finex and CEM technology. The second stage will involve the addition of a cold rolling mill and a continuous galvanizing line.
    Posco aims to break ground on the plant within the first half of next year, with commercial production slated to begin in 2018.
    The MoU also involves Posco transferring its innovative steelmaking technology, which combines Finex and CEM, to its Iranian partner.
    Posco’s subsidiaries are partnering with South Korean companies to ease the multinational steelmaker’s entry into the Iranian market.
    Posco Daewoo, along with Hyundai Engineering & Construction, signed a deal with Iran’s Ministry of Health and Medical Education to build a hospital for Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, one of the country’s top medical schools. Posco Daewoo will supply medical equipment, while Hyundai will be responsible for construction.
    Posco Energy, in cooperation with the Korea Electric Power Corporation, Posco and PKP, recently signed an MoU for an off-gas power plant and desalination project in Iran. Posco Energy and Kepco will be in charge of operating and maintaining the plant and desalination facility, while Posco will oversee their construction.

  • S. Korean President to Lead Economic Mission


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    South Korean President Park Geun-hye, accompanied by five ministers and a 300-member economic mission, is due to visit Iran in early May, according to director general of International Affairs Office at Korea International Trade Association KITA, Hakhee Jo. “Ten memoranda of understanding are expected to be signed during the trip,” Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture’s news service quoted the South Korean official as saying during a meeting with the chamber’s deputy for international affairs in Tehran last week. Park would be the first South Korean president ever to visit Tehran. In late February, Korean Minister of Trade, Industry and Energy Joo Hyung-hwan led 250 delegates from 100 South Korean companies during a two-day visit to Iran and attended the South Korea-Iran Business Forum organized by KITA. During the trip, Tehran and Seoul signed a finance agreement based on which South Korean trade insurance corporation K-Sure pledged to invest up to $5 billion in Iran’s development projects.

  • Seesaw Trade at Tehran Stock Exchange

     

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    Tehran Stock Exchange overall index staged a sharp rally at the very beginning, however, banking and auto sectors weighed on TEDPIX performance to dissipate early gains.


     Tehran Stock Exchange overall index staged a sharp rally at the very beginning, however, banking and auto sectors weighed on TEDPIX performance to dissipate early gains.

    According to TSE data, TEDPIX wrapped up Saturday trade in the green and edges up 56.5 points or 0.07% to end at 81,536.9.

    Stocks in Tehran rose in the first trading week of the new Iranian year (started March 20) on optimism about dissipation of ambiguities and economic growth. TEDPIX leaped 1.5% to notch a fresh 26-month high.

    The first market index picked up 21.4 points or 0.07% to close at 31,011.1. The first market index declined 176.4 points or 0.3% to settle at 57,749.9. The second market index gained 1,408.9 points or 0.82% to stand at 174,195.9. The free float index retreated 239.4 points or 0.25% to level at 93,908.3. The industry index was up 117.6 points or 0.17% to reach 67,706.4. The TSE 30 index was down 9.9 points or 0.29% to close at 3,440.5 and the TSE 50 index perked up 2.4 points or 0.07% to end at 3,313.2.

    TSE recorded transaction of almost 1.2 billion shares valued at $91.4 million. Auto manufacturers registered the highest daily trade volume among listed companies at TSE. Saipa Investment Company witnessed transaction of more than 236 million followed by Iran Khodro and Saipa Group with 90.76 and 77.11 million shares respectively.

    Most of listed companies fell short to end Saturday trade in green territory. 49% of listed companies weighed on benchmark with Mobarakeh Steel Company on top of them. MSC with 78.19 points negative contribution surpassed market laggards. Saipa Group and Mobile Telecommunication Company of Iran with 61.86 and 36.33 points stood next in line.

    Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines outperformed and with 103.3 points crowned TEDPIX’s positive contributors. Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company and Tamin Petroleum and Petrochemical Investment Company with 101.93 and 62.48 points took the second and third places respectively.

     

  • Sina Holding plans $500m investment bank for Iran

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    Iran’s Sina Financial and Investment Holding Company plans to launch a new investment bank this year with a target size of $500 million by 2021, its CEO has revealed.

    The Tehran-based holding group offers financial leasing and insurance services related to commodities, funds and stocks and shares.

    CEO and board member Behzad Golkar told Arabian Business on Wednesday that Sina had applied for permission from the government to open a new investment bank in Iran.

    He said the group has also begun courting international banks in an attempt to find a shareholder based outside of Iran with whom to partner and access global investment markets.

    Under the plans, the bank would be seeded with an initial $100 million, with a target to grow to $500 million within the next five years.

    It would seek to invest in capital markets in Iran and beyond, with Golkar saying that the partner bank would help Sina to form “a bridge” into foreign markets.

    The board has decided on a name for the new investment bank – it will fall under Sina Holding’s branding – but Golkar declined to reveal the exact name until the plans are approved by government.

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    It is understood that current restrictive rules related to financial custodianship in Iran would have to be amended before the bank can be incorporated.

    However, Golkar said Sina Holding is eyeing a launch by mid-2016.

    The group has also launched two €50 million funds targeting the UK and Germany, Golkar said.

    One is a fixed income fund and the other is a liquidity fund, and both are open-ended.

    Sina Holding has advisors in both the UK and Germany that are helping to raise the money. It is targeting a 20 percent rate of return for each.

  • South Korea's Bank launches service desk in Iran

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    Iran’s media reported  that South Korea’s Woori Bank has opened a Korea Desk in Iran’s capital Tehran to provide services for South Korean companies over their Iran business.


     South Korea’s Woori Bank has launched a “Korea Desk” in Tehran to help Korean companies over their business activities in the Islamic Republic.   

    The move, a first by a foreign bank for post-sanctions activities in Iran, has been announced by the Central Bank of Iran (CBI).  The CBI added that Woori Bank, which is one of major commercial banks in South Korea, has launched the Desk at a domestic bank in Tehran.

    This will help the bank to relay financial regulations and market information in Iran to Korean companies and in Korea to Iranian firms.

    CBI Deputy for Foreign Currency Affairs Gholam-Ali Kamyab has been quoted by the media as saying that the move could prepare the ground for the opening of Woori branches in Iran.

    South Korea’s media reported in early March that a deal is in the pipeline between Woori Bank and Iran’s second largest lender Bank Pasargad to set up a Korea Desk.

    The initiative was also described as a temporary market-probing arrangement to provide services for Korean companies ahead of their full entry into the Iranian market.

    Woori Bank would decide by the end of this year whether to open a branch or incorporated entity in Iran after the trial service, reported South Korea’s media in March.

    Korean companies will be able to use Woori Bank’s service in the Iranian bank or the Korean bank’s outlets in neighboring cities of Bahrain and Dubai for their businesses in Iran, reports added.

    Woori Bank has been aggressively seeking to advance into countries in the Middle East. It is one of two Korean banks where the Central Bank of Iran has accounts. After U.S. dollars were banned in direct trading with Iran, companies in Iran and Korea have been trading with each other in dollars indirectly through these accounts.

  • South Pars 19th phase starts exports to S Korea

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    South Korea has been the first destination of newly operating South Pars 19th phase gas condensate products.

    Bouncing since JCPOA implementation, Iran’s oil and gas exports to South Korea has almost doubled daily soaring to 400,000 barrels of crude. Gas condensate exports also followed the same trend. South Pars 19th phase had dispatched its first tanker of gas condensate to this East Asian country on Saturday as its first destination. The Iranian tanker carried 300,000 barrels of gas condensates which left southern port to South Korea.

    Seyed Pirouz Mousavi, Head of Iran Oil Terminals Company (IOTC) told reporters that this amount of gas condensate had been loaded through floating liquefied natural gas (FLNG) terminal.

    Still in a related story, Seyyed Mohsen Ghamsari, NIOC Executive Director for International Affairs had told Mehr News earlier on May that Iran had signed deals to sell gas condensates to two South Korean industrial giants SK and Hyundai which was in addition to crude oil agreements with these countries. In early May, Bijan Namdar Zanganeh met with Kang Hoin, Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport of the Republic of Korea, where he announced improvements in Iran’s exports of crude and gas condensates after JCPOA implementation.

     

  • Spain to build hotel chain in Iran


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    By Fatemeh Shokri & Farzam Vanaki

    Iran is required to attract more than 20 million tourists by 2025 as stipulated in the Sixth Five-Year Economic Development Plan (2016-20).

    This is not an unattainable target in the light of the fact that the country's provinces boast 19 tourist attractions, which are registered on the UNESCO list of world heritage sites, in addition to thousands of natural and historical tourist attractions.

    Although, international sanctions and Western media's negative propaganda have adversely impacted Iran's tourism industry in the past few years, the irresistible attractiveness of the country's tourist resorts have always lured foreign tourists to the country even during the years of stringent embargoes.

    In addition to the large number of tourists currently flocking to Iran's historical and natural sites, scores of political and trade delegations are, at present, being provided accommodation at the country's top hotels as well as facilities for holding meetings with Iranian counterparts, thanks to the removal of the sanctions.

    Although Iranian provinces are equipped with favorable tourism infrastructures, it is a herculean task to address the needs of the increasing number of tourists that have, all of a sudden, decided to visit the country.

    With the growing enthusiasm of foreign tourists to visit Iran, travel agencies have encountered daunting challenges in lodging them or reserving hotel rooms for them.

    To tackle this challenge, Iranian officials plan to convert historical houses into tourist lodgings and build hotels in joint ventures with foreign investors.

    A large number of foreign investment delegations have visited Iran over the past few months for talks in this respect. Due to Spain's considerable experience in the tourism sector, the officials of Iran Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization attach great importance to expanding cooperation with the country.

    This is while, in light of Iran's huge tourism potentials, Spain has decided to seize this opportunity and voiced willingness to participate in the construction of hotels in the Middle Eastern country.

    A little while has elapsed since the visit to Iran by Spanish Minister of Industry, Energy, and Tourism José Manuel Soria López and significant steps have been taken by both sides to forge favorable ties in this respect. Spain has signed a contract with Iran to build a five-star hotel in Mazandaran Province by the end of 2017. This will be the first part of a project by Spain to construct a hotel chain in Iran.

    During his visit, López voiced his country's willingness to construct 300 hotels in Iran. Meliá Hotels InternationalGroup is the Spanish company responsible for building the hotels.

    Commenting on the project in an exclusive interview with Iran Daily, Maria Zarraluqui, the global development managing director of Meliá Hotels International Group, said Iran is a very exciting country with huge tourism potentials and a large number of tourist attractions.

    "This made us absolutely determined to initiate the project in the country. We believe that Iran's tourism potentials as well as Iranian's rich culture will bring a large number of tourists to the country in near future."

    She added given the removal of the sanctions, the ground is fully prepared for initiating the mutual cooperation.

    Commenting on the number of Iranian tourists visiting Spain each year, Zarraluqui said, "I do not know the exact figure. All I know is that Iranians constitute a significant percentage of tourists to Spain."

    She noted that the Spanish people know a great deal about the Iranians and the country's tourist attractions, adding perhaps, they constitute a significant number of tourists to Iran.

    "Following the launching of the first phase of our chain hotels in Mazandaran Province, we plan to construct hotels in other Iranian provinces such as East Azarbaijan, Tehran, Gilan, Khorasan Razavi and Isfahan."

     

     

    Regional tourism hub

    ----------------------------

    Speaking on the sidelines of the ceremony to sign the agreement between Iran and Spanish company for constructing the hotels, Carlos Aragon Gil de la Serna, the deputy head of the mission at the Spanish Embassy in Tehran, said Iran is capable of turning into a regional tourism hub in the near future.

    "He added relations between Iran and Europe are at their peak. Following the July 14 nuclear accord between the country and P5+1, ties are strengthening."

    Iran is interested in competing with its international rivals in the field of tourism and constructing quality hotels across its provinces, Serna stressed, adding the country would soon turn into the region’s main trade and tourism destination.

    "Our aim is to increase our trade volume with Iran in the coming years."

    According to the envoy, international investors are interested in business with Iran in various sectors including tourism.

    Serna further described the construction of qualified hotels as an essential requirement for investment in tourism industry.

    The envoy further said Iran’s ties with the EU have improved since President Hassan Rouhani assumed office in 2013.

     

     

    Hotels for all social classes

    -----------------------------------

    In another exclusive interview with Iran Daily, Sirous Etemadi, a member of the Iranian Tour Operator Association, put the annual number of tourists visiting Iran at 4.5 million, adding, efforts are underway to increase the figure to more than 20 million by 2025.

    He said due to the row between Turkey and Russia, there is growing probability that Iran would replace Turkey as a destination for Russian tourists.

    Etemadi added, "Given its high tourism capacities, Iran will soon turn into a regional tourism hub. A tsunami of tourists is headed for Iran."

    He further underline that the country faces a serious challenge in providing accommodation for the growing number of tourists.

    The head of Iran Cultural Heritage, Handcrafts and Tourism Organization, Masoud Soltanifar, he said has predicted that Iran is required to increase the number of its five- and four-star hotels to 400 in the next 10 years.

    "There are about 1,100 hotels across the country, of which only 130 are four- and five-star. Although we are required to build luxury hotels, we should not forget about other [low-income] classes of our tourists."

    He stressed that in addition to being a regional tourism hub, Iran is an important scientific center.

    A large number of university students visit the country annually to carry out their research activities, Etemadi said, adding they need cheap but clean lodgings.

    Tourism industry fetched Iran about at least $6.1 billion during the year to mid-March 2015.

     

     

  • Spain, Denmark to invest in iran's petchem industry

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    An NPC official has announced that two Spanish and Danish firms have voiced readiness to participate and invest in Iran's petrochemical industry.

    Director for Investment of National Petrochemical Company (NPC) Hossein Alimorad, while describing the latest status of negotiations with new developmental partners in the country's petrochemical industry, said "following the talks with German banks and firms on reopening a three-billion-euro Line of Credit (LOC), similar dialogues have been conducted with companies from Spain and Denmark."

    "SERCOBE (Spanish National Association of Capital Goods Manufacturers) has expressed willingness to partake in the Iranian industry," noted the official asserting "reopening of new LOCs remains as one axis of talks with the Spanish side."

    He stressed that talks have begun to determine timespan of joint cooperation estimating that final agreement will be soon reached with SERCOBE.

    A high-ranking SERCOBE official, on the sidelines of a meeting with NPC authorities in Tehran, had voiced his company's eagerness to provide Damavand Petrochemical Company with long-term financing.

    Alimorad also elaborated on the held talks with Haldor Topsøe, as the largest chemical industry company of Denmark, explaining "three issues have so far been dealt with in the course of negotiations with the Danish firm."

    "The three axis of talks include transfer of technical knowledge, investment and finanicng," said the official reiterating that Haldor Topsøe has expressed readiness to continue its participation in Iran's petrochemical industry.

    Earlier on the sidelines of K Trade Fair 2016, the world's premier fair for the plastics and rubber industry in Germany, Managing Director of the National Petrochemical Company (NPC) Marzieh Shah-Daei and Director general of the Association of Petrochemical Industry Corporations (APIC) Ahmad Mahdavi held talks with top officials of Haldor Topsoe over investment, knowledge and technology transfer and the supply of Iran’s petrochemical projects with licenses.

    On the basis of the negotiations, the Danish firm expressed readiness to participate in new projects for production of urea, ammonia and methanol in Iran’s petchem industry.

  • Spanish companies eyes to invest in Iran

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    Spanish Secretary of State for Trade met and talked with Mohammad Khazaei, President of Organization for Investment, Economic and Technical Assistance of Iran.
     
    Mohammad Khazaei pointed to the potential for high investment in Iran and added  Spain is willing to invest in Iran's insurance coverage with no limitation.
    Mutual economic cooperation, investment in automobile parts, tourism industry, petrochemicals, oil and gas, and financial cooperation, particularly insurance coverage, were among the issues discussed in the meeting, he said.The volume of bilateral trade has declined since 2011 and we are trying to increase the volume of trade relations to $3 billion,he added.
    Spain's economy is a great economy and it is necessary that the two countries' banks, which did not work together for a long time, become familiar with each other to facilitate investment, Khazaei stressed.
    It was agreed that Spain's banking board would begin serious negotiations to renew relationships and facilitate financial transactions with the banking system of our country, he added.
    In the meeting, García-Legaz, Spanish Secretary of State for Trade, expressed his country's interest to expand economic cooperation and investment with Iran.
    Spain is ready to cover the funding needed to provide investment in Iran, he stated, adding: the financial measures are scheduled to take place from October.
    Investment in petrochemical sphere is important to us, because we have strong companies that currently operate in various countries including America, García-Legaz stressed.

  • Stockholm ready to participate in Iranian power projects

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    The visiting Sweden's Minister for Energy Ibrahim Baylan, in a Saturday meeting with his Iranian counterpart Hamid Chitchian in Tehran, expressed his country’s willingness to take part in various projects of Iran’s power sector.

    According to the IRNA news agency, referring to the proper ground set for expansion of mutual cooperation in energy sector, following the removal of anti-Iranian financial embargo, the Swedish minister suggested that the Swedish company of ABB, a leading supplier of products and systems for power transmission, can make ties with Iran Grid Management Company under the approval of the Iranian energy ministry.
    Baylan, who headed a delegation of representatives from Swedish private companies, referred to the 27,000-megawatt-capacity of Sweden and the country’s high amount of experience in the electricity sector and said that Stockholm can enhance cooperation level with Iranians in various fields namely power generation, smart grids, energy storage, energy efficiency and other areas.
    The Iranian minister, for his part, noted that Iran's electricity grid is to witness a great improvement and underlined that the government’s priority in power sector is implementation of joint projects which transfer information into the country.

  • Swiss firm gets foothold in Iran’s oil and gas industries

     

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    An engineering company from Geneva has become the first Swiss firm to win a contract with Iran’s oil and gas industries since international sanctions against the country were lifted as part of last year’s historic nuclear deal.

    Welding Engineers, a Geneva-based company that supplies synthetic rubber finishing lines, signed a contract with Iran’s Sadaf Petrochemical Assaluyeh Co., according to Swiss and Iranian news agencies.
    The Swiss company, along with some Italian firms, will help build a plant in southern Iran that makes several categories of finished products and a synthetic rubber product used in the petrochemical industry.
    Swiss businesses, like many others around the world, have been eager to get a foothold in the Iranian market now that most trade sanctions have been lifted.
    Due to its political neutrality, diplomacy and development interests, Switzerland has maintained a decades-long special relationship with Iran; however there remain obstacles to doing business with the Mideast nation.
    Iran’s newly opened marketplace results from the nuclear deal among six world powers and Iran to curb the Mideast nation’s nuclear program.

  • Swiss MSC to expand services to Iran

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    Switzerland's MSC - the world's second largest shipping company - plans to expand its services to Iran.

    Iran said on Sunday that the world’s second largest shipping company MSC from Switzerland will soon expand its services to the country’s ports.

    Iran’s Ministry of Roads and Urban Development in a statement said an agreement had been signed with the MSC by means of which the global shipping giant will increase calls to Iran’s Bandar Abbas, Chabahar and Bandar Imam ports.

    The agreement – that has been signed with the Ports and Maritime Organization Iran - will also facilitate the shipment of Iranian goods from international ports to the country through MSC.   

    This came at a time that Swiss President Johann Schneider-Ammann is in Iran on a landmark three-day visit.   

    The media reported in January that the MSC had started calling at the country’s southern ports after a hiatus of six years.

    This came after an MSC container ship has docked at Shahid Rajaie port in the Persian Gulf coastal city of Bandar Abbas.

    Iran’s shipping industry became the target of a series of US-led sanctions over the past few years that disrupted the traffic of ships to the country’s ports.

    Those sanctions were officially removed last July when Iran and P5+1 group of countries – the five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany - marked a milestone with their conclusion of nuclear negotiations.

    Iran relies on container and bulk carriers to transport much of its basic needs, including food and consumer goods. Those willing to risk the liability associated with the Iran trade faced further deterrents as they could not get insurance coverage.

  • Swiss Team, CBI Examine Roadmap

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    The governor of the Central Bank of Iran has called on the government of Switzerland to help introduce Iran’s banking sector to Swiss business leaders and entrepreneurs to help build cooperation between the two countries in the post-sanctions era.
    Pointing to the banking relations between the two sides in the past, including during the nuclear-related international sanctions, Valiollah Seif welcomed the resumption of bilateral ties to the pre-sanctions level.
    During a meeting with a Swiss economic delegation at the CBI headquarters in Tehran, Seif asked Swiss authorities to remove Iran from the list of countries that allegedly finance terrorism.  
    “In light of the anti-terrorism bill passed by the Majlis we ask Switzerland to take the necessary measures to remove Iran from the list of states (accused of) sponsoring terrorism and the high-risk countries,” the CBI website quoted him as saying late Saturday.
    Iran’s Parliament passed a bill in February 2010 to counter terrorism financing, but due to some flaws, the Guardian Council –a vetting body which oversees the passage of laws -- sent the proposal to the judiciary to resolve some aspects it said were ambiguous. The amended bill is still pending final approval.
    “We suggest regular meetings between the two countries’ banks to familiarize you with Iran’s progress in anti-money laundering measures and enhance banking ties,” Seif said.

      Anti-Money Laundering Agreements
     Iran’s anti-money laundering initiatives, consists of about 45 technical ordinances concerning banks, insurances, stock market, customs and notary publics. Iran has also signed six anti-money laundering agreements with other countries to share knowledge and experience in relevant fields.
    Seif said Iranian banks have been trying to improve their operations in accordance with international standards, including Basel II and III. “The Majlis has also ratified anti-money laundering laws and laws against financing terrorism.”
    Basel II is an international business standard that requires financial institutions to maintain enough cash reserves to cover risks incurred by operations. Basel III is a comprehensive set of reform measures designed to improve the regulation, supervision and risk management within the banking sector.
    Seif noted that some of the terms in Iran’s nuclear accord with the six world powers last July need to be clarified .“The central bank has formed a special committee to clarify any misunderstanding about the nuclear agreement concerning banking relations with Iran.”
    The Swiss delegates may refer to this committee should they have any questions, Seif said.

      Issues Clarified
    René Weber, Swiss Head of Markets Division at the State Secretariat for International Finance told the meeting that his country is keen on enhancing ties with Iranian banks and provide training and technical knowledge as well as boost cooperation in legal and financial areas.
    “In the meetings so far many issues have been clarified,” he said, welcoming Seif’s proposal for holding joint meetings.  “Such events can help expand corresponding banking relations between the Iran and Switzerland.”
    Weber invited CBI officials to visit Switzerland to prepare the grounds for normalization of banking relations between the two sides.
    A delegation of Swiss officials, led by President Johann Schneider-Ammann arrived in Tehran Saturday for an official visit. The two countries released a joint statement on Saturday, outlining a roadmap to expand cooperation.
    It set out the details of the roadmap in 13 articles covering a wide range of areas, including politics, trade and finance, transport, agriculture, tourism, science, research and technology, environment, human rights, migration and consular relations.

  • Tehran Examining Int’l Banking Alternatives


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    According to Financial Tribune ,Britain’s vote to leave the European Union and the rise of US presidential nominee Donald Trump have paralyzed efforts by western governments to encourage already highly reluctant international banks to do business with Iran.
    Under the nuclear deal, international financial sanctions on Iran were officially lifted in January this year and yet it has secured banking ties with only a limited number of smaller foreign institutions.
    One senior unidentified Iranian official told Reuters Tehran was examining alternatives. “Iran will continue to work with small banks, institutions as long as major European banks are reluctant to return to Iran,” said the official.
    “Our estimation is that this uncertainty will continue for a few years. We are in talks with many countries, mainly China, Russia and African countries to widen our banking cooperation aimed at resolving existing banking, financial problems.”
    US banks are still forbidden to do business with Iran under domestic sanctions that remain in force. European lenders also face major problems, notably rules prohibiting transactions with Iran in dollars - the world’s main business currency - from being processed through the US financial system.
    Britain says it remains committed to tackling the banks’ concerns, while the US Treasury says it won’t stand in the way of legitimate business with the country.
    However, Iranian officials and foreign bankers believe the British political upheaval after last month’s referendum has distracted governments in London and other European capitals, while the possibility that the shock will send the British economy into recession has deepened banks’ caution yet further.
    “Fear over Brexit’s financial consequences have made Britain and other European countries more careful over their interaction with Iran. Most of them have adopted the policy of watch and see,” another senior unidentified Iranian official told Reuters.

     Not interested
    “The British banks and authorities have a very big problem to deal with and since the vote, they have been less eager about Iran and I can even say almost not interested. Of course, we believe we can still work with British banks and have told them so.”
    European banks have generally cited the US elections as a political risk, while avoiding detailed comment on how a victory for the Republican nominee Trump might affect their business.
    However, another Iranian official, who also declined to be identified, said the election and Trump’s promise to tear up the Iran nuclear deal if he wins was complicating Tehran’s efforts.
    “Major European banks are worried about its outcome. An official from a German bank told us recently that they could not risk getting involved in Iran especially when Trump was a candidate,” the official said.
    A US Treasury spokeswoman said Treasury officials were not going to stand in the way of permissible business activities with Iran. They had travelled worldwide to provide guidance to governments, companies, and financial institutions, she noted.
    On July 12, Britain’s Foreign Office said a meeting between Iran’s central bank, the US Treasury, British officials and international banks in London had been postponed.
    The resignation of prime minister David Cameron following the Brexit vote and a cabinet reshuffle by his successor Theresa May, who took office on July 13, has complicated matters.
    “The new government has bigger priorities related to Brexit and the impetus to push the banking issue is likely to take more of a back seat now. Iran relations will also be affected by officials moving to other offices due to Brexit,” a western source said.
    A Foreign Office spokeswoman said it was in both countries’ interests that legitimate business was supported. “Some challenges remain, but we are committed to working through them with international partners, Iran, and the banking community,” she said.
    A British trade visit to Iran scheduled for May was postponed. Banking sources said this was partly due to bankers’ reluctance to join it.  A British official said the new government was keen for the visit to go ahead this year.
    But the UK sanctions manager was skeptical: “I would be hugely surprised if any of the UK banks would go. I do not think any of the banks want to stick their head above the parapet.”

  • Tehran hosting 2 international exhibitions

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    The second edition of “Project Iran” international exhibition and the 23rd International Exhibition of Detergent, Cleanser, Hygienic, Cellulous Products and Machinery of Iran titled “Iran Beauty and Clean 2016” opened on Sunday at the Tehran International Permanent Fairgrounds.

    In “Project Iran” exhibition, for the construction materials, more than 360 foreign companies are exhibiting. This is the first international exhibition in Iran in which only foreign companies are present and it does not involve any domestic participants, according to the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB).
    In this exhibition representatives of Armenia, Germany, Italy, Austria, Spain, Britain, the United Arabic Emirates, Jordan, Belgium, Bulgaria, China, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Greece, Lebanon, Hungary, South Korea, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal , Russia, Switzerland, Romania, Tunisia, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Serbia, Malaysia, Malta, India, Turkey are exhibiting.
    It is also scheduled for a number of local and foreign delegations to visit the event which will wrap up on April 27.
    Meanwhile, “Iran Beauty and Clean 2016”, which is the largest exhibition of its kind in the Middle East, is also being held for 4 days at the same venue.
    More than 200 domestic companies and 145 foreign companies are showcasing their latest products, equipment and services in the exhibition.
    Representatives from 14 countries, including Turkey, Germany, China, France, Italy, Spain, United Arabic Emirates, Malaysia, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Austria, India, Russia and South Korea constitute the participants of this international event.
    These events will bring thousands of leading manufacturers, exporters and industry professionals from all over the world to share a common vision and shape what will become the next regional economic giant, while at the same time offering them a guaranteed access to Iran’s multibillion dollar market.

  • Tehran to Host Oil, Rail and Ports Confab

     

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    The Islamic Republic of Iran Railways will host the First International Oil, Rail and Ports Conference on May 15-16 in Tehran.  The International Union of Railways—the worldwide professional association representing the railroad sector and promoting rail transport with 240 members in 95 countries—and ITE Group, which is an international organizer of exhibitions and conferences, are the organizers of the event. The conference will be held alongside the RAILEXPO 2016 exhibition and held under the patronage of the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development, Ports and Maritime Organization, and Iran’s Oil Ministry, the conference’s website reported. The event will host decision-makers involved in oil and gas transport and logistics in the Middle East and Central Asia, as well as representatives of railroad and intermodal operators, oil and gas terminals, ports and railroad manufacturers. For more information on the conference, people may visit www.oilrailports.com.

کتاب عملیات بانکی در عرصه بین الملل -سرفصل ها،ضمائم ،توصیه صاحب‏نظران ارزی و مدیران ارشد بانکی

Investment Consulting &Project Finance

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