«Do not hoist the EU-flag in Iran»: The demand recently spread across a full page in Switzerland's «NZZ» newspaper was the doing of an organization called «United Against Nuclear Iran». The ad warned in bold letters that investments in Iran were highly risky.
Busy Generating Funds for Iran Investments
It won't stop Rouzbeh Pirouz trying to find new investors for Iran. The Iranian, educated in Oxford and Harvard and a «Young Global Leader» at the World Economic Forum in Davos is president of Turquoise Partners and is doing the tour in Switzerland together with Banque Reyl. The family-owned bank from Geneva and Turquoise in January agreed a partnership.
Turqoise claims to be a leading financial-services company in Iran, backed by local businesspeople. The joint venture is active from Dubai and has not been slowed to ramp up business.
The joint venture in Zurich and Geneva presented their new Iran Opportunity Partners Fund, a private equity fund. The fund is domiciled in Malta and has a distribution license for the European Union. Reyl acts as custodian bank and ismarketing the product. Pirouz and his team is responsible for the investments of the assets.
Swiss Interest in Investments
Reyl and Turquoise aim to raise as much as $200 million by the middle of the year and plan to close the fund by the end of 2016. Pirouz said that first firm commitments have been made.
The manager from the country of the Mullahs has encountered packed audiences in both Geneva and Zurich, he told finews.ch. Private investors, family offices and banks are very interested in the opportunities the country on the Gulf offers. The Iran fund offered by the joint venture is dedicated to professional investors.
Pirouz also said that the big Swiss banks are reworking their procedures to allow for the changes in Iran. Both banks followed along on a trip of the Swiss President Johann Schneider-Ammann to Tehran in February.
Nuclear Agreement – Boosting Business
The interest in the country was rekindled by the nuclear agreement, which did away with economic sanctions imposed by the EU against Iran. European governments and the business world since are chasing business opportunities in a country that was until recently an untouched frontier market.
Little surprise then that Turquoise is expecting the fall of the sanctions to boost the economy in Iran. With the integration into the Swift payment systems the financial system of Iran will attract substantial amounts of money.
U.S. Presidential Election Looming
Turquoise will invest mainly in companies active in the consumer goods, drug and telecommunications industries. It aims to buy majority stakes, betting that Western companies will soon go shopping in the country. Nestle for instance is already present in the country that not long ago threatened Israel with extinction.
Pirouz and other businesspeople don't believe in a new ice age between the West and Iran. But the U.S. hasn't been won over yet, with many sanctions still in place and with a presidential election in full swing, where candidates aren't shy to warn about the government of Iran.
The disclaimer in all fund brochures is clear enough: the product may under no circumstances be sold to investors with a U.S.-link.