French state investment bank earmarks €500mn for Iran investments

By bne IntelliNews September 25, 2017

French state investment bank Banque publique d'investissement (BPI France) will from 2018 provide €500mn in finance to French companies investing in the Iranian economy, Reuters reported on September 25.

BPI France is the latest of a number of European state-owned financial institutions choosing to back their countries’ investors working in Iran. The support will help to counter any possible move by the US administration to dismantle the nuclear deal signed in November 2015 that lifted international economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

BPI France CEO Nicolas Dufourcq confirmed to reporters that his bank would grant up to €500mn in annual credit to companies that venture into the Iranian market.

Dufourcq added that his bank saw no risk of becoming exposed to any punitive measures from Washington for its Iran business plans because it had no operations in the US. 

"Excluding a force majeure case, we will be on their side in early 2018. We are the only French bank that can do it without risking US sanctions for a possible breach of remaining embargo rules," he told Le Journal on Sunday.

Several France-based enterprises are already pushing ahead with ambitious plans for investments in Iran. They include energy major Total, with its South Pars gas deal, plane builder Airbus as well as automakers Peugeot, Citroen and Renault.   

Earlier this week, Austria’s Oberbank signed a major finance deal with over a dozen Iranian banks based on which it is to provide €1bn in credits to Austrian companies investing in the Iranian economy. 

Oberbank’s push into Iran was followed almost immediately by the announcement of a similar agreement involving Denmark’s Danske Bank. It said it would arrange finance of €500mn.

Denmark’s Eksportkredit fund (EKF) has, meanwhile, stated that it is to back Danish firms developing projects in Iran.

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