EghtesadOnline: The spell is finally broken, as Iranian Privatization Organization has sold two controlling stakes in Esfahan Steel Company and Iran Aluminum Company following several unsuccessful attempts.
This is definitely good news for Iran Steel Pensioners Fund—the owner of both stakes—whose financial troubles in recent years have made it unable to take care of its own members.
The 16.75% stake in ESCO was sold on the over-the-counter exchange Iran Fara Bourse on Wednesday, in what was IPO’s fifth attempt to sell the block.
The privatization organization had cut down the price on the 5.55 billion-share block each time to no avail. Its final attempt set the base price at 750 rials (1.6 cents) per share, which was about 15% less than ESCO’s closing price on Wednesday, Financial Tribune reported.
As an interesting twist in the steelmaker’s saga, the 16.75% was sold to a member of ESCO’s family—Pouyesh Commerce Esfahan Steel Company, a firm established in 2015 by ESCO and engaged in marketing the company’s products.
According to its website, PCESCO is 40% owned by ESCO and 60% by 21 other seemingly steel production, marketing and service companies.
ESCO’s latest financial statements indicate that it is grappling with 21.4-trillion-rial ($455 million) of accumulated debt with a nominal capital of 33.18 trillion rials ($706 million).
In its fourth attempt, the privatization organization also sold a 19.5% stake in Iran Aluminum Company on Tuesday. The block sale comprised 1.5 billion shares at a base price of 2,000 rials (4.4 cents) per share. Unlike ESCO, IRALCO’s block sale price was about 34% higher than what its shares were traded for at Tehran Stock Exchange.
IRALCO is also in a tight spot. Its financial details published on www.codal.ir show that it’s struggling with 2.04 trillion rials ($45.51 million) of retained losses with a nominal capital of 5.1 trillion rials ($115.5 million).
Reports indicate that there was quite a bit of competition for the controlling stake, with high-profile investors such as Ali Mohammadi—owner of stakes in Almahdi Aluminum, Tose’e Meli Iran Investment, etc.—stepping forward.
However, according to Bourse Press, the block was finally purchased by Alumroll Novin Company and Ravan Godaz Pardis, both owned by Paradise Aluminum Industries Company.