23 May 2007 - 09:35
  • News Code: 105368

TEHRAN -- Iran plans to start privatizing banks in a few months, Economy and Finance Minister Davud Danesh-Ja’fari said on Tuesday, without giving details on which would be offered for sale.

The world’s second-largest oil exporter tried to revive stalled privatization last year by ordering the stock market flotation of 80 percent of several firms, but said the upstream oil sector and key banks would remain in state hands.

 

“Privatizing banks should start at the same time as (the privatization of) other economic institutions,” Danesh-Ja’fari told state television.

 

“A few months from now, maybe three months, we would be ready to present the first shares of banks at the stock exchange,” he said.

 

The head of the Tehran Stock Exchange (TSE) Ali Rahmani said this year industries which will be privatized consist of 711 companies with a total value of $125 billion, including banks, insurance firms, telecommunications, mining, and other sectors.

 

Forty percent of the shares would be transferred to low-income earners and the government would retain 20 percent, while the rest would be offered to foreign and domestic investors.

 

In a report in February, the International Monetary Fund said the private sector’s role in large-scale economic activity remained negligible. It said the planned privatization program had a “strong regional and social orientation”. Foreign investment

 

Foreign investment is on the rise in Iran, Muslim countries, and most states with proper economic conditions, Danesh-Ja’fari told reporters.

 

Prior to September 11, most of Muslim magnates and those from the Third World were investing in developed countries, but they switched to other countries after the incident.

 

Thereafter, most countries among them Iran have faced foreign capital inrush.

 

According to him, the foreign capital Iran attracted in the previous Iranian calendar year 1385 (ended on March 20, 2007) was more than the figure in its preceding year.

 

He affirmed that available statistics on ways to use foreign capitals and direct overseas investment reveal the foreigners’ willingness to invest in Iran.

 

The minister put sum of the direct overseas investment in Iran at some one billion dollars prone to more growth.

 

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News Code 105368

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