Most French firms ‘won’t be able to stay’ in Iran: France’s finance minister

French oil group Total has already indicated it is unlikely to stay in the country after the new sanctions announced by US President Donald Trump. (AFP)
Updated 19 June 2018
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Most French firms ‘won’t be able to stay’ in Iran: France’s finance minister

PARIS: Most French companies hoping to keep doing business in Iran after the US imposes new sanctions on the country will find it impossible to do so, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said Tuesday.
These companies “won’t be able to stay because they need to be paid for the products they deliver to or build in Iran, and they cannot be paid because there is no sovereign and autonomous European financial institution” capable of shielding them, Le Maire told BFM television.
The new sanctions announced by US President Donald Trump in May after he pulled out of a 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran would punish any foreign firm operating in Iran which also does business with the US or in dollars.
“Our priority is to build independent, sovereign European financial institutions which would allow financing channels between French, Italian, German, Spanish and any other countries on the planet,” Le Maire said.
“It’s up to us Europeans to choose freely and with sovereign power who we want to do business with,” he added.
“The United States should not be the planet’s economic policeman.”
Le Maire and his EU counterparts have been trying to secure exemptions for their firms, many of which rushed back into Iran after the landmark accord curtailing Tehran’s nuclear program.
But French oil group Total and carmaker PSA have already indicated they are unlikely to stay in the country, while Renault has said it will remain despite the sanctions — though it does not sell its cars in the US.
Analysts have warned it would be nearly impossible to protect multinationals from the reach of the “extraterritorial” US measures, given the exposure of large banks to the US financial system and dollar transactions.
The first round of the new sanctions, targeting Iran’s auto and civil aviation sectors, are scheduled to go into effect on August 6.


Abu Dhabi Islamic aims to boost lending after capital increase

Updated 37 min 10 sec ago
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Abu Dhabi Islamic aims to boost lending after capital increase

  • ADIB to increase lending this year
  • Bank set to complete rights issue next week

ABU DHABI: Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank expects to increase lending in 2018 after boosting its capital, its acting chief executive said, adding that the rate of profit growth will slow as the sharia-compliant bank battles against a sluggish economy.
An economy weakened by lower oil prices and a crowded banking market has hit the balance sheets of United Arab Emirates banks and hobbled loan growth.
ADIB, the largest sharia-compliant lender in Abu Dhabi, expects to increase profit in 2018 in single digit percentage terms, acting-CEO Khamis Buharoon Al-Shamsi said. This compares with growth of 18 percent in 2017.
“We cannot sustain the same (growth) this year. With the capital increase we will grow the balance sheet, we can lend more,” he told Reuters in an interview.
The bank expects to grow lending by up to 5 percent this year, compared with a drop of 2 percent in 2017.
ADIB will complete its 1 billion dirham ($272.4 million) rights issue next week, increasing its share capital to 3.63 billion dirhams from 3.17 billion.
Last week, ADIB raised $750 million of additional tier-one capital through a perpetual sukuk.
The bank is studying another capital increase in 2019, Al-Shamsi said.
He added that the bank was looking to lend to new business sectors, such as shipping, manufacturing, education and health and plans to grow its share of the retail market by spending on digital technology. It is investing $100 million in digital technology and has appointed a chief digital officer.
Abu Dhabi is reshaping its economy and consolidating state-owned companies to cope with the effects of lower oil prices.
Two of Abu Dhabi’s top banks were merged last year to create First Abu Dhabi Bank, while two of its big sovereign wealth funds were also combined.