FRANKFURT Dec 8 Financing is the main hurdle
facing companies looking at doing business in Iran, Bilfinger
Chief Executive Thomas Blades said in German newspaper
Handelsblatt and he also said it would take time for the country
to regain investors' trust.
"The biggest challenge that I currently see in Iran is the
financing of projects," Blades said in an interview published on
Many Western banks have been reluctant to provide financing
for big projects in Iran, fearing a regulatory backlash if there
is a new setback in relations with the country.
Blades said Bilfinger's response to Iran's "bring your own
money" attitude was to focus on trying to win projects that run
for only a few months rather than several years.
The engineering services group won a contract worth several
million euros in July to supply a process control system for the
upgrade of one of Iran's largest refineries.
"It's not just the oil and gas industry that make the
country attractive for us. There is also high demand for
environmental technology," he said, pointing to the high air
pollution levels in Tehran.
Other Middle Eastern markets that are of interest to
Bilfinger are Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf countries, he
said, saying that shortfalls in the efficiency of chemicals
plants there offered opportunities.
He said he was also "cautiously optimistic" following the
election of Donald Trump as U.S. President last month.
"With Trump, a businessman is coming to the helm who wants
to support the economy and continue projects. And all that in
sectors in which we are active," he said.
Asked about acquisitions, he said Bilfinger would make
purchases eventually, but that it was currently still too soon.
Bilfinger is in the middle of a restructuring to cut costs.
"First we have to stabilise the company and create efficient
structures. When earnings and cash flow are at the right level,
we will build it up and expand, organically and through targeted
acquisitions," he said.
(Reporting by Maria Sheahan. Editing by Jane Merriman)