Iranian PE fund eyes offshore money

Iranian PE fund eyes offshore money

Iranian investment manager Turquoise Partners has launched a new private equity fund for international investors, in partnership with REYL Finance (MEA) Ltd, the Dubai-based arm of Swiss banking group REYL & Cie.

The new fund will invest in sectors such as consumer goods, pharmaceuticals and hospitality, and hopes to raise US$200m in the first six months of 2016.

Turquoise Partners already manages 90% of foreign money invested in companies listed on the Tehran Stock Exchange, and claims to be the only Iranian fund manager involved in private equity prior to the recent lifting of trade sanctions.

“Iranian companies are in great need of investment which can drive operational and financial restructuring that will allow them to realise tremendous potential,” Turquoise Partners chairman Rouzbeh Pirouz said.

Pasha Bakhtiar, chief executive of REYL Finance, said the new fund was an “excellent opportunity” to gain access to what he called the “Iranian growth story”.

He added: “Turquoise and REYL together bring a robust, thorough and diligent understanding on how to invest in Iran under the new economic environment, and we are extremely excited to be the first private equity vehicle for an international investor base.”

Iran’s economy bounced back somewhat in 2014 after two years in recession, but took another hit in early 2015, around the time the oil price plummeted. Trading Economics, which says oil accounts for 23% of the Iran’s economy, puts the nation’s most recent annual gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate (March 2015) at just 0.6%.

The announcement of the new private equity fund comes a fortnight after the United States and European Union lifted crippling trade sanctions with Iran. The International Monetary Fund estimates the lifting of sanctions could push Iran’s GDP growth up to 5.5% in 2016/17 – a tenfold increase on current levels.