A banking executive close to the plan says the deal to list shares in three separate overseas locations had been put on hold while more talks are held.

“There is still a general consensus that this will go forward but more work needs to be done on the Tehran side to match up to the standards of stockmarkets like Dubai,” the executive tells MEED on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt. “Tehran needs more detail on its plan, so the IPO is consulting with the government again.”

He confirms that Dubai is still the likely Gulf location for a listing, with Asian and European listings also still expected.

MEED revealed in February that Tehran was targeting foreign investment in its energy sector by creating an umbrella group of nearly 50 state-run firms and listing shares in the holding company on several international stock exchanges (MEED 8:2:08).

While it is keen to increase investment in its oil sector, there is not enough demand among domestic investors.

If the listings go ahead at the expected valuation of $90bn, the holding company will be the second-largest publicly listed firm in the region, behind Saudi Basic Industries Corporation (Sabic), which is listed on the Tadawul in Riyadh.