SBC will hold an 81.2 per cent stake in Behshahr Industrial Company and a 53.1 per cent share in Margarine Manufacturing Company. In 2003, the two companies together commanded a 40 per cent market share in the country, with revenues of over $300 million. Until now, despite being listed on the Tehran Stock Exchange, both have been semi-public sector companies, and this latest activity is seen as part of the privatisation process.

SEO, a subsidiary of the Savola Group, also has interests in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Sudan, and has a 70 per cent share in the Saudi market. SEO was advised on the Behshahr deal, its first transaction in Iran, by Geneva-based investment bank Swicorp.