French Companies Eye Iranian Market

Senior officials from more than 150 French companies visited Tehran recently to discussed investment prospects in oil, gas and other sectors.

Eric Festa, the director general of Total E&P Iran, said that the company currently has to comply with international sanctions on Iran, but told Iran Daily:

Following the lifting of the embargoes, we will begin studying Iranian projects to be offered by the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) and will select those which are of mutual interest for both sides. We are willing to expand cooperation.

“We are interested in returning to in Iran’s market when we will be allowed to do so. At present, we are not permitted to begin collaboration with Iranian companies due to the barriers caused by international restrictions.

“The removal of the embargoes, which may happen perhaps next year, will enable us to return to Iran’s market and resume our activities.”

Christian Laplaud, President of environmental management firm Altereo, and Chairman of the National Strategic Committee for the Water Industry, held talks with 15 Iranian company managers and officials on the issue of water leakage, adding “we are going to sign one or perhaps two MoUs on joint ventures.

Yann Jaubert, the President of Materials Technologies, which delivers block making machines, said he had very fruitful meetings and was warmly welcomed by the Iranian authorities including ministers and those of the business community.

We have been investigating the Iranian market for more than two years now and have an Iranian agent here. Negotiations are currently underway with a number of companies with whom signing deals is quite probable,” he said, but added that banking restrictions have hindered cooperation with Iranian firms.

Ageromys International, is a consulting firm providing European, particularly French companies, with information about the Iranian market, said Michel Makinsky, the company’s CEO. “The competition is very stiff,” he continued.

“[The] Iranian side knows that there are lots of competitors and seeks to fully use this opportunity … I am very confident that Peugeot will reach an agreement with Iran. However, their entrance ticket will be expensive. Following the intensification of the sanctions, Peugeot left Iran in a matter of 8 days. They will certainly sign a deal because Iranian customers are furious about Chinese spare parts.”

Stanislas Houel, of Naphto Mines Contractors said he is considering making investments in the Iranian market. “It is still quite complicated for European companies to make any decisions in this regard due to the sanctions. We do not have the support of European banks in this regard. My company is exploring other possibilities through other countries … We need to find reliable and good partners to implement joint projects here.”

Primetals Technologies, suppliers to the steel industry, introduced the first electric arc furnace to Iran in 2006. François Mignard, the company’s CEO, said the visit has been excellent and well-organized. “I think connections between the two countries will not remain at the level of talks,” he commented.

(Source: Iran Daily)

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