The Outlook

Menas Associates has been providing actionable intelligence for multinational companies operating in Iran for over thirty years.

Why not talk to Shayan Saeidi in our Iran team

Our monthly publication Iran Strategic Focus is the longest-running publication on contemporary Iran in the English language, guiding companies through the country’s political, economic and security issues and energy sector for over a quarter of a century. ISF has been consistently right in assessing political risk parameters in Iran by predicting the outcome of elections, rejecting the notion that there would be a military confrontation over the Iranian nuclear issue, and anticipating that the latest round of nuclear negotiations would lead to a comprehensive agreement.

Menas works in partnership with a Tehran-based consultancy with extensive on-the-ground contacts on both the publication and our consultancy work to provide clients with an unrivalled depth of insight.

One of our earliest projects as a company involved providing, managing, and coordinating the team of oil economists that supported Iran’s legal team in the major oil cases before the US-Iran Claims Tribunal. Besides the expert witnesses themselves, Menas also undertook and coordinated almost all of the international research and evidence gathering for these cases.

Over the years we have helped many international oil companies (IOCs) understand the country’s petroleum sector and political dynamics to best position themselves for the opportunities in Iran. Over the past two decades, we have also helped numerous companies with their market entry, partnership and stakeholder strategies in Iran.

In light of the JCPOA we have also recently produced the multi-client report ‘Re-engaging the Iranian market,’ in which we explain the key entities, trends, and opportunities in sectors such as energy, petrochemicals, health, construction, telecommunications, and many others. The report details the legal environment within Iran, including the taxation and foreign investment laws as well as those pertaining to intellectual property. It also posits the possible entry strategies for companies, and advises on how they optimise the chances of success.

A table of contents can be found here.

Our ‘New Owners of Corporate Iran‘ report, published in April 2016, was produced in light of the privatisation and overall economic developments over the past ten years, which have introduced a greater degree of diversity, with semi-state organisations gradually overtaking the government with regards to the size of their economic enterprises.

This change presents investors with both opportunities and risks, and the aim of the report is provide an understanding of: the changing ownership structures in key industries; profiles of the main semi-governmental entities; risks and opportunities for international companies; and the attitudes of new owners, as well as the practical limitations of cooperation or investment opportunities with these companies.

A table of contents can be found here.

We have also recently teamed up with global law firm Pinsent Masons to be able to offer clients a combination of our country knowledge and Pinsent Masons’ legal expertise on Iran via our Ask our Experts Plus Service.

Iran Case Studies

Entry and Partnership Strategy

Our client’s requirement

Our client, a European manufacturer of light industrial products, planned to enter the Iranian market, and to find a local manufacturing partner to do so. The client asked us to examine the feasibility of their existing plan; to offer insight about the actual market trends; and to identify a suitable local partner to implement the project.

Our approach

We agreed with the client that the project should be divided into three ‘modules’. For the first phase, our team carried out research to assess whether the market would be ready for the price and quality of our client’s products. Once the market was evaluated, we studied the feasibility of the client’s plan to co-manufacture the products in Iran. The second module involved helping the client to understand the legal and operational aspects of local manufacturing and also shed light on what type of a local partner should be sought. Finally, in the third module we identified a short-list of local partners by examining the attributes of potential candidates, such as their different technical, financial, and operational capabilities.

The outcome

The client was able to develop a viable strategy based on price, manufacturing approach, and quality. By the end of the project, the client also had a strong short-list of potential local partners with whom it was able to engage in negotiations. Subsequently, our consulting team was asked to continue advising the business during the negotiations and the implementation of their plans.


Acquisition of an Iranian Company

Our client’s requirement

Our client was a well-known European food company that had made the strategic decision to enter the Iranian market through the acquisition of an existing company in the food sector. The client had focused on a specific niche of the value chain and asked us to identify potential acquisition targets.

Our approach

Our team analysed the situation and recognised the need for the client to develop a post-acquisition strategy for the Iranian market (especially regarding distribution of the products) before identifying the acquisition targets. The recognition of this need was especially important because the clients’ subsequent actions would have an impact on the most suitable candidates. Consequently, our team developed a strategy with the client and once it was finalised a short-list of target companies was prepared based on the agreed plan and the client’s expectations.

The outcome

Our client negotiated with the target companies, selected one and agreed on a transaction. Following the initial project, our team was also integral to helping the client develop a banking strategy in order to prevent any risks from sanctions on Iran.