Economy, Business And Markets

Bank Saderat to Sell Shares of 5 Companies

Bank Saderat to Sell Shares of 5 CompaniesBank Saderat to Sell Shares of 5 Companies

Bank Saderat is gearing up for downsizing, as it plans to sell off shares in five of its subsidiary companies.

The sales include a 98% stake in Sepehr Power and Energy Development Company, 95% stake in Sepehr Tehran Construction Development Investment Company, 100% stake in Sepehr Mandegar Khorasan Company and Sepehr Fars Development Company, as well as a 65% share in Sepehr Jam Tourism Investment Company.

The $1.2 billion downsizing is aimed at adhering to articles 16 and 17 of the law on “removal of obstacles to competitive production and boosting the country’s financial system”, which mandates all banks and financial institutions to sell off at least 33% of their excess assets annually, especially those engaged in “non-banking activities”.

Bank Saderat is currently receiving offers as sales are scheduled for Feb. 20.

The government wants lenders to focus primarily on financing the production sector. To this end, it is cleaning up the bank’s excess assets, most of which are either toxic or underperforming.

For instance, three of Bank Saderat’s assets up for sale operate in the construction sector, which has been in a deep recession ever since President Hassan Rouhani’s administration started slashing capital expenditure budgets for the past few years.

The Iranian lender is also scheduled to hold its annual and extraordinary general meeting on Feb. 4.

Two back-to-back meetings will see investors gathering to conclude the bank’s financial statements and pick its board of directors, Bourse Press reported.

This is good news for the investors of the $1.2-billion bank on Tehran Stock Exchange, considering that BSI’s shares have been frozen on the market for over 17 months now.

Bank Saderat, Mellat, Tejarat and Post Bank were blocked from trading on July 2016 when it was discovered that they had incurred huge losses in the first half of the last fiscal year (March-September 2016).

Other banks, including Parsian, Pasargad, Tourism, Sarmayeh, Resalat Qard al-Hasanah, Ghavamin, Saman, Ayandeh, Mehr Eghtesad, Day, Iran Zamin and Shahr, followed next.

The banks were barred from holding shareholder meetings due to the Central Bank of Iran’s mandate to update their balance sheets based on International Financial Reporting Standards–the latest international accounting procedures. Bank Mellat and Tejarat returned to trading in early 2017 and shook the market, causing a massive drop in TSE’s main index, as well as the respective 37% and 33% drops in their own share values.

The two banks had published their updated balance sheets, which signified the losses they had incurred. This, combined with the investors’ frustration, led to a major selloff.

Mellat shares remain open for trading to date. Other banks have yet to see their ticker symbols reopen.

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