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5th Attempt to Sell ESCO’s Shares Fails

5th Attempt to Sell ESCO’s Shares Fails5th Attempt to Sell ESCO’s Shares Fails

For the fifth time, Iran Privatization Organization failed to attract a buyer for an equity stake of Esfahan Steel Company.

The 5.55 billion shares valued at 4.7 trillion rials ($12.53 million) were offered on the over-the-counter Iran Fara Bourse on July 1. Although marking a significant 1,899-rial drop in base price to 850 rials, the shares still seemed overvalued to traders because of ESCO’s bleak financial state.

According to Bourse Press, the first time was in February 2016 with a 35% stake offered, followed by a 73% bid in June, a 16.75% offering in November and another 16.75% the following month.

IPO does not plan to give up, however. According to an advisor to the head of IPO, Jafar Sobhani, the organization will adjust the price and reoffer the stake soon, IRNA reported.

The insistence on selling the stake is due to the fact that at least 16.75% of ESCO’s shares owned by the National Steel Industry Pension Fund must be sold to clear the fund’s debts to the government. The rest of the company’s shares are owned by Social Security Investment Company, IPO and other holders.

Iran’s oldest steelmaker, Esfahan Steel Company, is currently deeply in debt.

According to the latest statistics released by ESCO, the Esfahan-based steelmaker was 69.4 trillion rials ($1.85 billion) in debt as of March 21. The figure is in fact about 13 trillion rials higher than the value of ESCO’s noncurrent assets.

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