Companies urged to invest in ‘open door’ Iran

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Companies urged to invest in ‘open door’ Iran

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John Inglis, a legal counselor from Shearman & Sterling, talks to participants at the Iran investment seminar hosted by the Korea Eximbank on Tuesday at its headquarters in Seoul. Provided by the company

The Export-Import Bank of Korea (Korea Eximbank) held a joint Iran investment seminar on Tuesday with New York-based law firm Shearman & Sterling. More than 50 representatives from major corporations attended to hear about the changing investment environment and the opportunities in the Middle Eastern nation, the bank said on Wednesday.

Big-name construction-to-trading companies including Daelim Industries, Hyundai Engineering & Construction, Doosan Heavy Industries and LG International participated in the seminar as Iran prepares to open its doors to the world following prolonged sanctions.

Topics covered during the seminar included details on the framework of the nuclear deal, financing options and the legal environment. Officials from the companies also discussed Iranian business strategies, Korea Eximbank said.

The Iranian government plans to place plant and infrastructure orders worth around $160 billion next year, and the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), in particular, is expected to place over 45 orders spanning crude oil to natural gas industries, John Inglis, a legal counselor from Shearman & Sterling, was quoted as saying.

Iran, with a population of 77 million, is the second-largest market in the Middle East.

Prior to U.S.-led sanctions on the country, many Korean construction and heavy-industry companies had a presence there. The nation accounted for a significant portion of orders received by Korean firms, the sixth largest globally, according to Eximbank.

“Once the Iranian market re-opens, Korean construction and heavy-industry companies that are currently struggling with a drought of orders will be revived,” said Kim Young-ki, a senior official at Eximbank. “Iran is currently financially weak following a long sanction [period], and will probably ask for financial backing from builders. We will provide such financial support.”

Eximbank, a state-run bank that specializes in trade finances, has picked Iran as a country of special interest and has set up comprehensive support strategies for local firms.


BY PARK JUNG-YOUN [park.jungyoun@joongang.co.kr]

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