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News number: 8803180780

14:50 | 2009-06-08

Economy

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Iran's Bank Saderat to Go Public

TEHRAN (FNA)- State-run Bank Saderat announced it will offer 6 percent of its shares to private investors beginning Tuesday in line with Iran's privatization policies.



Bank Saderat will be the third state bank to be privatized under Article 44 of Iran's Constitution.

In May, Bank Tejarat sold 6 percent of its shares -- worth 754 billion rials (US$76.4 million) -- three months after Bank Mellat offered 5 percent of its stake on the market.

"With the entry of Bank Saderat into public trading, the share of the private sector in the capital and investment market will pass 50 percent," said Iranian Economy Minister Shamseddin Hosseini, press tv reported.

He noted that the bank has a 14.8 percent share of Iran's banking market and will become second largest company on the stock exchange after its transition is complete. He did not say at what price the shares would be offered.

Banks Saderat has 3300 branches in Iran and 30 in other countries; it owns four independent banks in Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Britain and Bahrain.

Article 44 stipulates that the country's economic system shall be based on public, cooperative and private sectors.

All large-scale industries, foreign trade, large mines, banking, insurance, power supply, dams and large irrigation channels, radio and television, post, telegraph and telephone, aviation, shipping, roads, rails, refineries and the like are deemed public property in Iran and are thus controlled by the government.

A 2004 amendment to Article 44, however, has set in motion a ten-year plan to privatize eighty percent of Iran's state-owned assets.