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Iran cancels divestment of shares in mega petchem firm PGPIC

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The Iranian government halts plans to sell its shares in largest petchem company PGPIC.

The Iranian government has cancelled plans for selling off its shares in the country’s largest petrochemical company over lack of sufficient bids.

The Iranian Privatization Organization wrote in a letter to the country’s stock exchange authority on Saturday announcing the cancellation of divestment plans for government shares in the Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industries Corporation (PGPIC).

The government had planned to sell its stakes in PGPIC, which amount to 18% of the total shares in the company, in three separate listings.

The Saturday letter by the privatization authority said that it had received a single bid for the largest block of share listing which amounted to over 40 billion shares or 15% of stakes in PGPIC.

The listing was aimed at raising nearly 5,700 trillion rials (over $2 billion) in new finances for the Iranian government as it tries to access new funds to spend on key infrastructure projects in the country.  

However, officials in the privatization authority indicated they were not happy with the price offered by the single bidder in the listing as they insisted they will do their best to maximize government revenues from major divestment schemes.

Sources said that the government could introduce a new divestment plan for PGPIC shares if it reaches a decision on the issue within the next weeks.

The Iranian government has relied on selling off its stakes in large companies, banks and crude refineries in recent years to ease the financial pressure caused by the US sanctions on the country’s crude exports revenues.

Those divestments have also triggered a major boom in the Iranian stock market where indexes have risen to record highs in the past two years.

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