Iran trader: Saudi spat not to affect biz

A recent diplomatic spat between Iran and Saudi Arabia has rattled regional markets and unnerved investors but a leading Iranian trader says businesses are safe. 

The escalation has spilled over to the social media, with some users from both sides calling for a boycott of goods produced by Iran and Saudi Arabia.

While official trade between the two countries is paltry, private entities have sizable enterprises within each other’s territories.

One such venture is Saudi Arabia’s largest food producer Savola which has a controlling 90% stake in an Iranian edible oil producer. The diplomatic spat sparked speculation that the company’s shares might be sold.

Last week, however, a senior Savola executive was quoted as saying that the company would maintain its business in Iran.

‘Diligent protection for foreign investors‘

Head of Iran Chamber of Commerce Mohsen Jalalpour says “political turmoil must not impact legalized foreign investments in Iran.”

“Those foreigners who have followed the laws of Iran’s industries to invest and create jobs are our guests. They and their assets are under the protection of the responsible and committed government of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” he said.

“Iran Chamber of Commerce will diligently support registered industries in possession of foreign investment,” he said in a press release, a copy of which was received by Press TV.

Jalalpour also took a swipe at “those who have fixed their looks on the short wall of investment after scaling the towering walls of embassies,” saying they were also behind “a wave of campaign against Saudi investors in Iranian companies.”

“Certain individuals are calling for punitive measures against these companies. Local rivals also occasionally add fuel to fire,” he said, in an apparent reference to some Iranian producers accusing Savola of flooding the market to expand its clout.

Iran provided 11% of Savola’s total revenue in the third quarter of 2015 and the company’s revenues for Iran totaled 2 billion Saudi riyals ($534 million) in the first nine months of 2015.

Appeal to regional investors

Jalalpour appealed to the “investors in the regional countries, worried about their future, to think of diverse investment opportunities in the safe and stable Iran.”

“In the choppy sea of the Middle East which is in the throes of extremist storms and Takfiri Salafism, the Iranian shore is an intelligent choice and a safe haven for investment,” he said.

The few Saudi companies operating in Iran are mainly involved in food and consumer goods businesses.

Since 2005, Rani Refreshments has been making its popular fruit juice products in Iran under license from Saudi Arabia’s Aujan Group Holding.

Some Iranian food companies have also a relatively established jurisdiction in Saudi Arabia.

Zam Zam Cola received a boost from Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf Arab countries in 2002 following their boycott of Coca-Cola, Pepsi and McDonald’s in protest at American support of Israel.

In the wake of the recent diplomatic spat, some users in the Persian Gulf Arab countries have taken to social media to call for boycott of Iranian goods.

By Press TV