Italian export credit agency inks Iran deal

28 January 2016

Agreement covers claims paid by Sace to Italian companies after sanctions were imposed

Italian export credit agency Sace and the Central Bank of Iran have signed a settlement agreement for the recovery of the sovereign credit due to Sace by Iranian counterparties.

The agreement was signed during President Hassan Rouhani’s visit to Italy, the leader’s first visit to Europe since nuclear-related sanctions on Tehran were lifted earlier in January.

The agreement involves the payment to Sace of €564m ($614m) in three installments by 15 October 2016. The credit will cover claims paid by Sace to Italian companies for loans unpaid by Iranian counterparties following the block of the payment systems imposed by international sanctions.

Sace says the agreement will enable it to reactivate its support to Italian exports and investments in Iran, across sectors including oil and gas, petrochemicals, automobiles and construction.

In December last year, Sace signed agreements with three Iranian private banks.

The deals were inked with Bank Pasargad, Bank Parsian and Saman Bank, and are aimed at facilitating a more rapid and effective resumption of trade and investments in Iran once Implementation Day has been reached.

Sace says it intends to collaborate with the banks on the restoration of the payments system, and identify short- and medium/long-term projects of mutual interest, and to develop the insurance-financial structures best suited to support them.

Italian firms have already started to secure major orders from Iranian clients. On 26 January, MEED reported that Danieli Group had signed agreements with a value of about €5.7bn for the supply of plants and machinery for steel production in Iran.

A €2bn joint venture named Persian Metallics has been formed by Danieli and a group of international, as well as Iranian, investors.

It will use iron ore and energy to produce about 6 million tonnes a year of pellets for feeding direct reduction plants. The pellets are an ideal raw material for melting with an electric arc furnace.

The other agreements relating to the supply of machines and plants to produce steel and aluminium will be signed with several Iranian companies for a value of about €3.7bn.

Italian firms have secured several other new orders in Iran since sanctions were lifted. Earlier in January, MEED reported that Italy’s Pessina Costruzioni has signed an initial agreement to build five hospitals in Iran.

The Milan-based company signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Iran’s Ministry of Health for the development for five hospitals with a total of 1,000 beds.

Two 500-bed units will be constructed in Iran’s northern cities of Rasht and Nayshabur, according to Italian news agency AGI. The other three hospitals will be built in Tehran.

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