"Iran Business Responsibility" launches website

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre is working with International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran on the "Iran Business Responsibility" (IBR) project.

Visit the project website launched in June 2017, and explore the articles below for insights on the new investments in Iran.

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31 May 2016

Norway’s Hemla Vantage closes in on $600m Iran gas joint venture

Author: Financial Times

A Norwegian oil and gas company is closing in on a $600m contract with an Iranian petrochemical group for one of the first major gas deals since international sanctions were lifted.

The contract will be a joint venture between Hemla Vantage and the Kharg Petrochemical Company, a quasi-privately-owned company, to produce and export liquefied natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas by 2017.

“Hemla will secure debt financing and will be 50/50 equity partners with KPC/KGRC [the latter is a sister company of the former],” said Gerhard Ludvigsen, a founding member of Hemla group and director of Hemla Vantage...

The joint venture will purchase 200 million standard cubic feet of flared gas per day from offshore fields near Kharg Island over a period of up to 15 years. 

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23 May 2016

India's state-owned NALCO and Iranian mining company sign MoU to set up aluminium smelter in Iran

Author: Rakhi Mazumdar, Economic Times

"NALCO and Iranian mining company sign MoU to set up aluminium smelter in Iran"

State-owned major, National Aluminium Company Limited (NALCO) and Iranian Mines & Mining Industries Development Renovation Organization (IMIDRO) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to jointly explore the possibility of setting up an Aluminium smelter in Iran. The signing of the MoU coincides with the visit of prime minister Narendra Modi to Iran. 

The smelter- cum-gas based power plant, is slated to be part of a joint venture aluminium company to be set up by Nalco in that country. It will utilize supply of alumina from Nalco's refinery in India. The MoU also envisages tolling arrangement with existing smelters in Iran for producing aluminium from alumina supplied by Nalco and also proposes to look into other businesses. 

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5 May 2016

"What to Know About Doing Business in Iran"

Author: Matthew Spivack, Harvard Business Review


Even with these challenges there are foreign companies seizing the opportunity ahead of their competitors. While the oil and gas sector gets the most attention, Iran’s diversified economy is attracting companies across industries. In particular, consumer-oriented sectors are counting on Iran’s large (nearly 80 million), young (more than 60% under 30 years old), and urbanized (more than 70%) population to be loyal customers in the future.

For example, South Korea–based LG Electronics, which maintained an Iran presence despite sanctions, is in discussions to establish a manufacturing plant in Tehran that will produce more than 1.5 million refrigerators, televisions, and washing machines per year. French automaker Renault has taken advantage of sanctions relief, assembling nearly 15,000 cars between January and April, a sevenfold increase from the same period in 2015. And Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk is building on its Iran presence by doubling local staff to nearly 300 and investing $76 million in a new factory.

The country’s tourism sector attracted fewer than five million visitors in 2014 while neighboring Turkey attracted 39 million people. Given Iran’s top 10 ranking in the number of UNESCO world heritage cultural sites in the world, this is poised to change. Luxury hotel brand Melia is joining Accor and Rotana to open the country’s first international five-star hotel, the Gran Melia Ghoo...


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5 May 2016

Hyundai Rotem Wins Deal to Supply Diesel-driven Trains to Iran

Author: Business Korea

Hyundai Rotem, a Korean manufacturer of railway systems, announced on May 4 that it has signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Iranian Islamic Republic Railways (RAI) on the 3rd (local time) to sell 150 diesel-driven trains.

The company has won the deal in six years after a similar contract had to be put on hold due to the imposition of international sanctions on Iran in 2010.

Under the agreement, RAI will purchase 150 diesel multiple unit (DMU) cars from Hyundai Rotem. Korea's Ministry of Strategy and Finance will finance 85% of the contract, while the Iranian government will underwrite the cost. The two companies will ink the official contract in late July through negotiations on commercial and technical conditions...


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5 May 2016

OMV signs MOU for fields in Iran

Author: Oil & Gas Journal

Austria’s OMV AG signed a memorandum of understanding in Tehran with National Iranian Oil Co. for evaluation of various fields in the Zagros area of western Iran.

OMV entered Iran in 2001 as operator of the Mehr exploration block in the Zagros fold belt in Khuzestan province. That led to the Band-E-Karkheh oil discovery in 2005...

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18 April 2016

Italian company Carlo Maresca to build solar power plant on Iran’s Qeshm Island

Author: Tehran Times

"Italian Company to Build 50 MW Solar Power Plant on Iran's Qeshm Island"

TEHRAN- The Italian company of Carlo Maresca S.p.A. is to build a 50-megawatt solar power plant on the southern Iranian island of Qeshm due to its signed agreement with the Qeshm Free Zone Organization, ISNA reported on Sunday.

The deal was signed between Fabio Maresca, the chairman of the Italian company, and Hamidreza Mo’meni, the head of Qeshm Free Zone Organization, on the sidelines of Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s visit to Iran.

Underlining the new round of bilateral economic relations between Iran and Italy, Mo'meni noted that the government seeks to improve the southern island via expanding macro-economic activities there and reinforcing its infrastructure including construction of the intended solar power plant.

Maresca, for his part, vowed that his company will complete this project in eight months.

Heading a 250-strong political and economic delegation, Renzi arrived in Tehran in last Tuesday, making him the first Italian official in such capacity to visit Iran since 2001.

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14 April 2016

Italtel, a leading Italian telecommunciations company, signs Iran deal

Author: Lucy Dixon, Middle East Business Review

"Plans to modernise telecom network in Iran"

The Telecommunication Company of Iran (TCI) has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Italtel, a leading Italian telecommunications company in Network Functions Virtualization (NFV), managed services and all-IP communication, which will develop and modernise TCI’s telecom network.

The MoU was signed during an official Italian Government mission to Iran led by Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.

Italtel CEO Stefano Pileri said: “The MoU signed today represents a fundamental step forward in the cooperation between Italy and Iran and we are proud to be part of this important project. Telecommunications and ICT represent an accelerator for the development of many other areas and the economy in general”.

Having built up a wealth of experience in building and transforming complex networks of a large number of international operators, Italtel currently operates in the EMEA and LatAm markets, addressing large enterprises, public administration and service providers as a market leader in digital transformation.


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11 April 2016

Saipem Signs MoU For Toos Gas Field Project in Iran

Author: Saipem website

During the official State visit to Iran of the Italian Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, Saipem Chief Executive Stefano Cao and Ali Yadghar, Managing Director of Razavi Oil & Gas Development Company, entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) concerning potential cooperation on a major project in the country.

The MoU envisages discussions aimed at potential cooperation on the Toos Gas Field Development Project, located 100km northeast of Mashhad. The gas field, holding over 60 billion cubic meters of gas in place, has the capacity to produce some 4 million cubic meters of gas per day. The development project encompasses the drilling of 5 firm plus 2 optional wells, and the design and construction of all upstream gas production facilities and those for transportation and processing.

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4 March 2016

Western hotel groups scramble to enter Iran hospitality market

Author: Dalia Fahmy, BDlive

“Western hotel groups scramble to enter Iran hospitality market,” 4 Mar 2016

Iran…is getting its first foreign-branded seaside hotel…Melia Hotels International planned to open the five-star property in a 130m tower on the Caspian Sea…The announcement comes after a slew of trade sanctions on the Islamic Republic were lifted in January.

Iran’s first foreign-branded hotels in decades arrived in October, when French operator Accor opened a Novotel and an Ibis near Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport. Hoteliers, including Dubai-based Jumeirah and Abu Dhabi-based Rotana, want to cash in on growing tourism in one of the Middle East’s oldest civilisations, with its ancient ruins of Persepolis, pristine beaches, and snowcapped skiing slopes.

It will compete with a property being built by Rotana to become the first luxury hotel operated by an overseas company in Iran since Ayatollah Khomeini’s revolution forced Hyatt, Sheraton, and owners of other brands to flee in 1979.

Lodging revenue is set to increase about 25% during that time, the firm predicts, as the number of visitors is forecast to grow by a similar percentage, to 6.3-million.

"The quality of accommodation is not according to western standards, and we expect a great shift on that front, mostly through launches of international hotel chains."

Tehran and the religious pilgrimage site of Mashhad will probably draw most of the investment.

Still, some of the biggest hotel companies are holding back.

UK-based InterContinental Hotels Group, owner of the Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza brands, had no plans to expand to Iran, a spokesman said. US-based Hilton Worldwide Holdings was also holding off, despite seeing "significant potential for hospitality growth", the company said.

For Melia, the lifting of the sanctions means it can enter before US competitors do. "Our Mediterranean roots make it easier for us to connect with the Middle East hospitality concept ," Mr Escarrer said.

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2 March 2016

Melia Hotels to Build Luxury Hotel along Caspian Sea

Author: Bloomberg

"Iran to Get Luxury Hotel along Caspian Sea as Tourism Thaws"

Iran, where beaches are segregated by gender and alcohol is banned, is getting its first foreign-branded seaside hotel, complete with swimming pools, bars and a spa.

Melia Hotels International SA plans to open the five-star property in a 130-meter (427-feet) tower on the Caspian Sea as early as next year, the Spanish hotel operator said in a statement on Wednesday. The announcement comes after a slew of trade sanctions on the Islamic republic were lifted in January.

"We firmly believe in Iran’s tourism potential," Chief Executive Officer Gabriel Escarrer said in a statement, which didn’t say whether alcohol will be served at the bars. "We have always been pioneers in the development of new markets."

Iran’s first foreign-branded hotels in decades arrived in October, when French operator Accor SA opened a Novotel and an Ibis near Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International Airport. Hoteliers including Dubai-based Jumeirah and Abu Dhabi-based Rotana want to cash in on growing tourism in one of the Middle East’s oldest civilizations, with its ancient ruins of Persepolis, pristine Persian Gulf beaches and snow-capped skiing slopes.

Read the full post here