Iran

Ayatollah Khamenei approves vesting of Justice Shares owned by 49mn Iranians

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has endorsed a government request to vest restricted stocks of dozens of government-run companies that are owned by tens of millions of Iranians.

In a decree issued on Tuesday, Ayatollah Khamenei ordered the government to prepare the required conditions for owners of the Justice Shares to be able to trade their stocks in the market and reach the profits that have accrued on the shares over the past years.

The Justice Shares were issued in 2006 during the administrative government run by former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The scheme was launched in line with the amendments made to the Article 44 of the Iranian Constitution which requires the government to move toward economic privatization.

More than 49 million Iranian citizens own the currently unvested shares. Current estimates suggest the value of the stocks owned by each shareholder have increased from an initial price tag of 10 million rials to 80 million rials ($500).

Justice Shares had been valued at $36 billion in 2014. However, current estimates suggest the 25 listed companies and another 14 that are planning an initial public offering (IPO) would bring some $15 billion to the stock market once the Justice Shares are vested.

In his decree to the government, Ayatollah Khemeni regretted the fact that vesting of Justice Shares had taken so many years as the law stipulates a minimum of two years as the holding period for the shares.

The leader also set a series of conditions for allowing the Justice Shares to become tradable, saying shareholders should be able to choose which government-run firm they want to own a stake in.

He said the government departments are required to prepare conditions for listing of state-run companies as soon as possible.

Experts believe trade at Tehran Stock Exchange (TSE) would further boom once Justice Shares become tradable in Iran Fara Bourse, a TSE subsidiary for trade of securities and other instruments.

The TSE has already broken record highs this year with growing number of new investors joining in. The overall value of the market reached over $198 billion on Tuesday after main index TEDPIX rose 3.03 percent to top 845,353 points.

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