Thursday 15 November 2018

'Hundreds of millions' may be lost to Irish firms in Iran

US President Donald Trump. Photo: Bloomberg
US President Donald Trump. Photo: Bloomberg
Donal O'Donovan

Donal O'Donovan

Major European companies including carmaker PSA, plane manufacturer Airbus and Siemens have said they are keeping a close watch on relations with Iran after President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of a nuclear deal.

The US move is a potential blow to Irish businesses in sectors including food, health and education and aircraft leasing that have been eyeing Iran as a major new export market.

The original Iran nuclear deal had paved the way for the country to emerge from years of economic isolation and sanctions.

The market of almost 80 million people is a major gas exporter.

Enterprise Ireland has said opportunities for Irish companies over the coming years could be in the hundreds of millions of euro.

Whether any of that can move ahead if the US pulls out of the Iran deal is now up in the air.

Peugeot-manufacturer PSA, one of the big European businesses with operations in Iran, said it hoped the European Union will now adopt a common position on Iran.

"Like other economic players, we are following the evolution of the matter, and are also following the EU's official position on this topic," said a spokesman for PSA, adding that it hoped the EU would adopt its own independent position regarding Iran.

German industrial giant Siemens said it would also closely monitor the situation.

"We are assessing the implications of the Iran decision," said CFO Ralf Thomas.

"Of course we will always comply with export control regulations, and we would look at how different governments set the rules. We have a firm grip on our position," added Thomas.

Airbus, which won a bumper order with IranAir along with Boeing, said it needs time to study the Trump decision.

Shares in Renault, PSA and Airbus all fell on Wednesday. Total, which has contracts in Iran, saw shares climb. (Additional reporting Reuters)

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