NITC Plans Domestic, Overseas Public Listing

NITC has the world's largest fleet of tankers and supertankers, including 42 very large crude carriers (VLCCs).NITC has the world's largest fleet of tankers and supertankers, including 42 very large crude carriers (VLCCs).

The National Iranian Tanker Co., the country’s top oil-shipping company, is tinkering with plans to list some of its shares in domestic and international markets, the chief executive said.

“We have taken measures to enter Iran’s bourse or Fara Bourse market, but it needs more time. We are preparing the financial and operational grounds and will have a listing in Iranian and international markets in the near future,” Sirous Kianersi told IRNA on Tuesday.

The official did not give any timeframe but said the flotation will not take place by March 2017, the end of the current Iranian fiscal year.

He also did not specify how much of the company's stakes would be on offer in what could be one of the biggest initial public offerings of a state-owned Iranian corporation in four decades.

Fara Bourse is quite similar to the Tehran Stock Exchange (TSE), Iran's largest stock market, but its regulations and requirements make listing easier for smaller-scale companies.

NITC reportedly has the world's largest fleet of tankers and supertankers, including 42 very large crude carriers (VLCCs), nine Suezmaxes, five Aframaxes and several other ships, with the fleet’s average age at around 8.5 years. It needs to raise cash to upgrade or replace some of its aging carriers.

Talks on NITC share listing gained momentum following the lifting of international sanctions in January.

Nasrollah Sardashti, NITC's commercial director, said in July that his company was "taking all measures related to transparency and preparation" for a possible sale of NITC shares sometime next year.

Iran's Civil Servants Pension Organization and Oil Pension Fund Investment Company are the main shareholders of NITC.

The collapse of oil prices over the past two years plus big holes in their budgets have spurred oil producing countries to sell stakes in their national oil companies. According to reports, Saudi Arabia, top exporter of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, is considering plans to list 5% of the Saudi Arabian Oil Co, also known as Saudi Aramco, in international markets by 2018. With an estimated value of more than $2 trillion, Aramco is the world's largest oil company, holding some 16% of the world's total crude reserves.

  Renovation Plans

Shipping sources say NITC has more than 40 tankers out of a fleet of around 70 that are new and modern enough to export oil.

According to Kianersi, who took the helm at NITC last month, the company is planning to increase the number of ships to carry liquefied gas cargo, including liquefied natural gas (LNG) and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG).

Tehran hopes that establishing small-scale and floating LNG units with a total output capacity of 10 million tons per year would help it break into the international LNG market that reportedly has a 30% share in the total global gas trade.

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