Iran’s Amin Bank Expects Foreign Deals After Nuclear Agreement

Amin Investment Bank Co., which arranges more debt sales in Iran than any other lender, is in talks with a European consumer goods company and two Dubai private equity funds about investment targets once sanctions are lifted.

Amin, which has about $1 billion of assets under management and organizes some 40 percent of the country’s capital market debt sales, is reviving a number of projects it was forced to abandon because of sanctions, Chief Executive Officer Ali Sanginian said Sunday in an interview. He didn’t identify the consumer industry company or the Dubai funds.

“We had lots of contact in the past with foreign investors who wanted to invest and work with us, particularly in the food and consumer sector,” Sanginian said in his office in Tehran. “But because of sanctions, those plans had to go on hold. Those talks have now restarted.”

A historic deal earlier this month between Iran and six world powers will lift wide-ranging sanctions on Iran’s economy, including U.S. Treasury designations affecting Amin and dozens of other financial entities, in exchange for the country agreeing to limits on its nuclear program. If the agreement is approved and enacted, it will enable the bank to resume plans to broker London share sales for Iranian clients, execute merger and acquisitions for foreign investors and issue debt for private Iranian oil and gas companies on international markets, Sanginian said.

Oil, Gas

Two years ago, Amin was in the process of underwriting a dollar-denominated debt sale for Mapna Group, an Iranian oil and gas construction conglomerate, before sanctions blocked financing.

“We also tried via Turkey, as a euro-denominated private placement, but again because of sanctions we couldn’t complete it,” Sanginian said. “Now, we are still in a position to do this and ready, not only for Mapna, but for other oil and gas companies.”

The Iranian lender has been in contact with a major European bank about plans for issuing dollar-denominated sukuks on the international market, Sanginian said, declining to name the potential partner.

Amin’s plans to arrange for an Iranian pharmaceuticals company to trade its stock on London’s AIM market have also resumed. Within a week of the nuclear deal, the bank’s legal representative in London had found a nominated adviser for the listing and Sanginian expects it to be completed within the next three to six months.

Confectionery Makers

The pharmaceutical company would have a market capitalization of about $100 million and sales exceeding $50 million, Sanginian said, declining to give further details. Many Iranian companies, including diversified groups newly unencumbered by sanctions, are seeking to have their stock traded in London.

Iran’s consumer goods industry, particularly its confectionery makers, present opportunities for foreign investors to gain from sales to the country’s 80 million population, said Mo Nikjoo, head of M&A Amin.

Amin has completed eight initial public offerings in the past five years and generated M&A fees in the last 12 months of about $5 million, Nikjoo said. The bank typically charges M&A fees equivalent to 1 to 3 percent of enterprise value, he said.

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