Iran tanker firm says privatization on schedule
Tehran (Reuters) - Iran is proceeding with plans to privatise the state-owned
National Iranian Tanker Co despite public criticism of the privatisation,
NITC head Mohammed Souri said yesterday.
"The transfer of National Iranian Tanker Co to the private sector
is proceeding normally, according to the law," Iran's news agency,
IRNA, quoted Souri as saying.
Souri said within one month the Tehran stock exchange would give an
estimate of the company's market value, which he put at 3.66 trillion rials
($449 million). Souri said company assets, disregarding debts, were worth
He said the state welfare organisation and a state employees' pension
fund would each receive 33 per cent of the company's shares, with the remaining
34 per cent going to the oil ministry employees' pension fund, IRNA reported.
Newspapers have criticised the company's privatisation, carried out
under a five-year economic plan which aims to trim the state sector.
One critic has said the privatisation would weaken Iran's position within
Opec, where it is the second largest oil producer, while others have spoken
out against transferring ownership to interests unfamiliar with the shipping
A move to privatise NITC's sister company, National Iranian Drilling
Co, prompted a parliamentary probe after drilling company workers staged
protests, fearing layoffs.
The employees also said the company's transfer to an oil ministry pension
fund might lead to windfall profits for company officials.
Souri said in August that, in a modernisation move, the NITC had ordered
tankers worth $2.5 billion in the past five years, the bulk of the payment
for them having been borrowed.
He said his company earned an average $250 million a year, 60 per cent
of it from services to foreign companies.