Iran is restarting the privatisation process of National Petrochemical Company (NPC). NPC’s production assets are planned to be placed into a single entity, to be sold in part or as a whole to domestic as well as international markets. Iran may consider selling a majority stake to international investors- Companies from USA and Europe will find it difficult to participate because of political pressure. However, the acquisition would interest petrochemical players looking to build a presence in the Middle East to benefit from access to cheap feedstocks and material. The plan encompasses converting all NPC’s non-production assets to an “incubator”, raising capital in the markets and becoming a co-investor in new projects. The government of Iran commissioned NPC to develop a detailed privatisation plan, subject to approval by the end of the Iranian New Year in March 2011. Plans of seeking international expertise to help develop the plan are unclear.
Previous attempts to privatise NPC, the second largest petrochemicals producer in the Middle East, have failed.