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FRANCE - IRAn

Renault agrees joint venture with Iran

Renault-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn
Renault-Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn Reuters/Kim Kyung-Hoon

French carmaker Renault is to start a joint venture in Iran, hoping to profit from the country's fast-growing car market following the end of Western sanctions.

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Renault will hold a majority stake in the venture, which includes the opening of a new production plant that should raise its production capacity from 200,000 to 350,000.

Iran's car market is expected to reach two million vehicles by 2020, giving it "undeniable potential", Renault boss Carlos Ghosn said on Friday.

Renault, which has been active in Iran for more than 12 years, "the ideal partner for this project", Iranian Industry Minister Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh said.

The new factory is to start producing Renault's Symbol and Duster models in 2018 and the venture will give the company its own distribution network, with sales and aftersales services, for the first time.

Renault sales in Iran rose by 56 percent in 2015 to 51,500 vehicles, giving it a market share of 4.8 percent and growth continued to be strong in the first eight months of this year, the company said.

French companies rushed to take advantage of the nuclear deal that ended sanctions against Iran.

President Hassan Rouhani has said he hopes the end of sanctions will help Iran attract 30-50 billion dollars (27-45 billion euros) in annual investment.

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