Economy, Business And Markets

IFB Platform for Trading SME Shares

CEO of Iran Fara Bourse Amir Hamouni attends a ceremony to launch a platform for trading the shares of SMEs on Dec. 26.CEO of Iran Fara Bourse Amir Hamouni attends a ceremony to launch a platform for trading the shares of SMEs on Dec. 26.

Iran Fara Bourse over-the-market exchange debuted a platform for trading the shares of small- and medium-sized enterprises on Monday.

The move is expected to give a shot in the arm to Iranian SMEs, which account for more than 90% of all companies across the country, but have a small share in gross domestic product.

According to Ali Yazdani, chairman of Iran Small Industries and Industrial Parks Organization, 88,000 certified small businesses account for 42% of employment and 17% of production in Iran’s industrial sector.

By definition, enterprises run by 50 workers or less and 100 workers or less are considered small- and medium-sized respectively, according to Iran’s Small Industries and Industrial Parks Organization.

A ceremony was held on the occasion in the presence of Iran Fara Bourse CEO Amir Hamouni, CEO of Securities and Exchange Organization Shapour Mohammadi and President Hassan Rouhani’s top technology deputy, Sorena Sattari.

“The advent of SMEs in the capital market will help drive the economy toward greater transparency. It will also spur employment and growth by funding smaller businesses,” Mohammadi said.

According to Sattari, loans are not a good method for funding newly formed startups and a considerable part of their capital should come from venture capital funds as equity.

The ceremony also marked the debut of venture capital funds in IFB to manage the money of investors who seek private equity stakes in startup and small- to medium-sized enterprises with strong growth potential.  

According to Hamouni, six SMEs and 5 VC funds have already been listed on IFB, with 100 more having applied so far. The listed companies manage a combined 2.4 trillion rials ($60 million).

Rouyesh Lotus, Iran’s first venture capital trust to get listed, opened for underwriting on Iran Fara Bourse on last week.

The fund, which will invest in healthcare, biotechnology and financial technology, says it hopes to raise 105 billion rials ($2.6 million at market exchange rates) for Rouyesh Lotus during the underwriting period from investors on IFB and 350 billion rials in the next six months.

Based on regulatory requirements by the Securities and Exchange Organization, venture capital funds must keep 30% of their investment capital in cash to help their liquidity.

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