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A new breed of borrower

Iranian shipping company NITC is a rarity: it's one of the few non-oil and gas companies in the Islamic Republic seeking funds in the international markets.

ALTHOUGH IRAN IS under pressure from continued sanctions and scrutiny from the US, and an insurgency on its borders, its corporates are becoming more aggressive participants in the international financial markets. And although most of this fundraising is dominated by oil and gas concerns, other types of companies are beginning to enter the fray.

None has a more expansive strategy than the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC). It has already ventured into the bank lending market and now, according to its finance director, N Pilhevarian, it is thinking of making its debut in the international bond markets. Pilhevarian says that NITC plans to issue a debut $500 million bond, probably in 2006. Assuming this is successful, the company could raise as much as $1 billion in the international bond markets the following year.

This funding follows NITC's ventures in the loan market last year. In April 2004, it borrowed $60 million through a five-year loan that involved several Arab banks as well as Standard Chartered. The latter also provided NITC with an additional $82.5 million through two bilateral loans.

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