Austria’s Oberbank signs its anticipated €1bn finance deal with 14 Iranian banks

By bne IntelliNews September 24, 2017

Austria’s Oberbank signed its anticipated finance deal valued at over €1bn with 14 Iranian private banks on September 21, according to Iran Student News Agency.

Oberbank CEO Franz Gasselberger told Reuters earlier in September: “I think we are the first European bank [to reach such an agreement with Iran].” Some German and Italian banks were apparently negotiating their own deals while a Danish bank was also in talks to offer financing to Iranian ventures, he added. Denmark’s Danske Bank said in January it was negotiating with the Central Bank of Iran (CBI).

Through the deal, Oberbank becomes one of the first mid-level European banks to fully move ahead with its financing in Iran in the post-nuclear sanctions era, but many of the ventures it will back are low-risk.

“We have very concrete projects in the fields of infrastructure, rail, health, hospital construction, factory building, photovoltaics and hydropower,” Gasselberger added.

Oberbank originally signed a preliminary deal with the CBI in June. It was then renegotiated to involve commercial banks who will use the money to lend to civil and infrastructure projects.

As the eighth biggest bank in Austria, Oberbank will set out to work with low-risk projects in Iran through the 14 local lenders. They are Parsian Bank, Bank Keshavarzi (Agriculture Bank), Eghtesad Novin Bank, Export Development Bank of Iran, Middle East Bank, Sepah Bank, Bank of Industry and Mine, Bank Melli Iran, Tejarat Bank, Bank Mellat, Bank Refah, Saman Bank and Karafarin Bank.

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