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Iran to offer shares of state-owned firms


Iran to offer shares of state-owned firms

Iran Reuters
Photo: Reuters

An exchange-traded fund (ETF) focusing on the Iranian oil refining industry will begin trading today on the Tehran Stock Exchange as the government continues to privatise greater portions of the economy.

Three publicly available ETFs will be offered this year to reduce government holdings in key companies below the longstanding 20% minimum. Today’s ETF, the second of three, includes government stakes in Tabriz Oil Refining Company, Bandar Abbas Oil Refining Company, Isfahan Oil Refining Company and Tehran Oil Refining Company, among others. Tehran is hoping to fully exit its position in the latter two firms.

The decision to include firms in an industry long guarded by the Iranian government marks a significant shift in policy thinking, likely in response to the current geopolitical environment. As US sanctions continue to crush oil revenues, Tehran may be capitalising on the opportunity to offload underperforming assets. Regardless, the buoyant response to the first ETF indicates a positive environment for investors in the short-term, and continued success through the subsequent offerings may induce Tehran to attempt similar schemes in the future.

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