UAE’s RAK Ceramics fully acquires Iran unit, sees investment openings
Iran is the world’s fourth largest ceramics producer after China, Brazil and India. RAK Ceramics also has a plant in India
United Arab Emirates-based RAK Ceramics, one of the world’s largest makers of ceramic goods, said on Wednesday it had fully acquired its subsidiary in Iran, the latest investor seeking opportunities after Tehran’s nuclear deal.
As a close neighbour to Iran, the UAE stands to be a major beneficiary of closer trade relations once sanctions against the Islamic Republic are lifted as part of the July 14 deal with big powers mandating limits on its disputed nuclear activity.
RAK Ceramics, which has a distribution network covering around 160 countries, said in a statement it had "a long term vision for the Iranian market both domestically and as an export centre in Central Asia as the sanctions regime gets lifted".
In another example of growing foreign interest in Iran, Italian company Finmeccanica said on Wednesday its engineering unit Fata had signed a 500-million-euro ($544.05 million) contract to build a power plant there.
Iran is the world’s fourth largest ceramics producer after China, Brazil and India. RAK Ceramics also has a plant in India.
Financed by the World Bank, RAK Ceramics set up Iran operations in 2003, with a $40 million investment. The plant remained running even as sanctions tightened and the Iranian economy floundered.
The facility now has three production lines and an annual production capacity of 9 million square metres, RAK Ceramics said.
The statement did not disclose a value for the deal, which sees RAK Ceramics acquire the remaining 20 percent stake in RAK Iran that it does not currently own. A spokeswoman for RAK Ceramics declined to say how much it paid until the deal received regulatory approval.