SUSTAINING MUCH MORE THAN SUSTENANCE

Iran 2017 | INDUSTRY & MINING | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Behrooz Heydari Nasab, Chairman of the Board of Kerman Tablo Corp. (KTC), on moving into the smart grid and renewable energy sector, making KTC a global brand, and expanding its manufacturing capacities.

 Behrooz Heydari Nasab
BIOGRAPHY
Behrooz Heydari Nasab has been in the management of KTC for more than a decade, chairing its board for the past four years. During his leadership, KTC has become one of the leading engineering companies in Iran and has successfully diversified into other industries such as energy, sustainable development, finance, telecommunications, tourism and hospitality, and retail. His vision for international business and collaboration resulted in the formation of an investment company that has gone on to participate in international partnerships and attract foreign investment into Iran.

What is your diversification strategy for the coming years?

We are diversifying into different sectors under the name of our own investment company. This company will oversee four holding companies, which in turn will manage activities in energy, hospitality, finance, communications, and mining. In the energy holding, we will focus on oil, gas, and electricity. The hospitality arm will consist of hotels, travel agencies, and an airline business. Our financial holding will include brokerage companies and financial investments, and the mining holding will oversee our activities in the mining industry. It is important for foreign investors to understand that we are not only active in the power and electricity sector, but are highly diversified. We are even active in FMCG and home appliances and are negotiating with companies active in the fashion and apparel industry. We are open for negotiations and cooperation with international companies in every field we are active in.

In which business units do you see room to grow in the near term?

We are focusing on oil and gas, railways, power plants, and electricity. Our priorities will be the places and industries that are going to give us projects. Oil and gas will be one of them because there is a great need for investment there and a lot of room for a company like ours to grow. We see the railways as an important means of transportation, and the government wants to expand the metro and railway projects; hence, this is a huge market for us. The market for power plants is shifting toward a new generation of electricity with smart grid systems and solar and wind energy. We obtained licenses to construct new solar plants. Within the power plants division, we are moving toward renewable energy. We are trying to create smart solutions and build automation systems, and we believe the government should invest more in order to train people how to use and save energy.

How are you making KTC a global brand and one of the best in the region?

Some 10-15 years ago we started doing projects abroad: we had projects in Turkey and Tajikistan, and exported to other countries around the region and world. We are not only thinking of KTC as a local brand. One of the restrictions we had was related to the sanctions. After the signing of the JCPOA, we saw new opportunities coming in. We, as the private sector, have to capitalize on these. Local partners are key in facilitating your business when you move to other countries and help to facilitate in the establishment of the company. And, just like foreign companies need to connect with local partners in Iran, we need to connect with them to pursue our international aspirations. KTC is able to compete with international companies in terms of the state of our technology. On top of this, we have competitive advantages that result in lower prices for our products. We also have more affordable products than international firms.

What is your outlook for the year ahead?

We are targeting the expansion of KTC and looking for opportunities in Iran and others markets, especially in the Middle East and North Africa. We are already starting some negotiations over partnerships with foreign companies. We need to expand our manufacturing facilities, because one of our limitations is insufficient capacity. We are also expanding in the smart grid and renewable energy sector. Energy is key to our country's sustainable development. We are also focusing on water, another major challenge. By bringing new products to the market we want to help the government in monitoring the usage of water. Moreover, we are looking to bring KTC to the stock exchange and are planning an IPO for the end of the year. This company is for all the Iranian people, and we would like to share it.