What is the scope of your activities?
Kamran Kavian Our business units across three divisions will be completely separated and a new format will be shaped in which every business unit has its own company. At this moment, we seek to have other companies become shareholders in the newly formed companies. In terms of branching out overseas, there is nothing stopping us from bringing such projects to other countries. We have the technology and know the technology provider, industry, and how to integrate with the designers and engineers; however, it is a personal matter for me to continue working in Iran. However, we have a company in the UAE. If we cannot have this model here, we might operate from there in the future.
Saeid Mohazzab Torabi Ghods Niroo covers around half of the electricity production in Iran and implements 30% of the transmission projects in the country. In the oil and gas sector, our company is the largest design company for gas transmission pipelines. We also build petrochemical refinery plants and gas substations. In the development of water infrastructure, we are involved in designing and engineering dams. We also have a special renewable energy department, which develops solar and wind energy projects. Currently we have 250-300MW of wind plants in the country. We have 850-900 employees and operations in Pakistan, Iraq, Uganda, Kenya, Senegal, Sri Lanka, and Bangladesh. In Iran, we have several offices in every province and cover the entire country.
What would you advise foreign investors who are considering entering Iran?
KK The investment parameters in the private sector are very much regulated by the government. Iran has excellent rules and regulations for investors; therefore, the rules of engagement are there. The problems are perceived around the political environment for investors. Any foreign investor needs a local partner here, and that partner would be instrumental to their success. We have approached certain major investors to determine if they are interested in investing in Iran, but up until now they were not. People are looking at Iran as a prospect because it is attractive. We need foreign investors and Iran offers interesting opportunities to them, but we have to wait and see what will happen.
SMT Our country has potential in three different renewable energy fields: solar, wind, and environmental capacities. In Iran, we have 300 days per year with at least eight hours of sun. If we develop the right instruments and tools, we can supply all the energy needed in Iran with sunlight. We have the environmental potential, and with the right investments we can reach this target. Financers can expect to earn their investment back in five to seven years. The situation is improving for private investors to come to Iran, but the issue is that they need to gain the trust to bring in investments. Iran is a heaven for energy investors. We have 20-25 MoUs under negotiation and try to convince investors to use our company as a gateway to enter Iran.
What is your outlook for 2018?
KK I would say that if the politically charged atmosphere mellows, the market in Iran will grow. It remains to be seen how the next government will react to the world community, and vice versa. Relations with the US could be a major factor. I hope the consensus is in place that Iran always offers opportunities for big investments and that the world community understands that if the tension lowers in the region and in the country, the opportunity for investment rises. Even small investments would be welcomed in Iran.
SMT We have some important objectives in our roadmap. The first one is expanding the corporation with foreign companies in CIS, Africa, and the Persian Gulf. Through this process, we have worked with some European companies to enter this market. These companies come to us to establish a presence in the Iranian market because we have a good reputation and are well known in the region. We focus on renewable energy and optimizing the energy of the country. We are designing a 50MW wind power plant and are seeking an investor to start using this substation. Our focus for power plants is to change gas substations to combined cycle power plants. Our other goal is to enter into projects with Class F plants.