Turkish firm feels the heat in Iran

Turkish firm feels the heat in Iran

ISTANBUL - Hürriyet Daily News
Turkish firm feels the heat in Iran

This photo shows the Gübretaş facility in Razi, the capital of the Arshaq district in Iran. The inset photo shows Mehmet Koca (R), the former general manager of Gübretaş, and Osman Balta, who took over the seat..

The U.S. and European sanctions on Iranian firms do not include Gübretaş, the Turkish fertilizer company which has large investments in the Islamic republic, according to Osman Balta, the firm’s newly appointed general manager.

However, Gübretaş acts cautiously to avoid such an embargo, Balta said during his first press meeting as the company’s top executive Feb. 1.

“We are taking measures in terms of both exports routes and operations to avoid being affected [by sanctions],” he said in response to a related question by journalists.

The company used to manage exports from Iran directly from its facility in Razi, the capital of the Arshaq district, in the county’s north. Gübretaş launched an Istanbul-based company in Razi to continue operations from Turkey’s largest city instead. The fertilizer produced in Iran is still send to final destinations from Iran but the Istanbul company undertakes the operation, Balta said.

Former general manager of Gübretaş, Mehmet Koca, unexpectedly resigned from his position at the end of last month, leaving his seat to his deputy general manager, Balta. Koca had served as the general manager of the 70 percent state-controlled firm since 2005.

Gübretaş purchased Razi Petrochemical for $650 million in 2008. The company was planning to invest nearly $150 million in the company’s Iran facilities, according to official statements last year.
The fertilizer firm today aims at putting $100 million into its facility in the province of Kocaeli, neighboring Istanbul.

“We will renovate our facility there. This is the largest domestic investment by Gübretaş,” Balta said, adding that the company will focus on developing capacity in the Turkish facility.

Iran accepts oil sales in India rupees

Meanwhile, Iran has agreed to be paid 45 percent of revenue from its Indian oil exports in rupees, to be deposited with an Indian bank beyond the reach of new U.S. and European sanctions, a report said yesterday.

The two countries have chosen UCO Bank, headquartered in the eastern city of Kolkata, for the rupee transactions to settle part of India’s $12.68-billion annual oil bill, the Indian Express reported.
India currently pays for 20 percent of its oil imports from Iran in rupees, with the remainder settled in euros at Turkish state lender Halkbank. There are concerns that the Turkish route will be closed by tough new European sanctions on oil exports from Iran.