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Wednesday, 6 May 2009

A thirst to reach the top in Iran

Fardin Alizad, owner of three food companies in Iran, is determinedly up­beat in spite of the challenges of running a business in the country. Like many other entrepreneurs the world over, he says opportunities can be forged from setbacks. In fact, that is the only way, he says, to respond to problems arising from the Iranian government’s economic and business policies as well as international sanctions over the country’s nuclear programme.

“Whenever restrictions tighten , it is a good opportunity to think of further improving the quality of products until things go back to normal, when you can expand bus­iness again,” says the 46-year-old Mr Alizad. Wearing a smart black jumper and a crisp, open-necked white shirt in the company’s modest but pleasant offices in central Tehran, he explains why he is optimistic while outlining the problems.

Last year, the combined turnover of his three companies – Alifard, Shiva and Sayeh and Saman – was about €190m ($254m), making the group one of the larger private enterprises in the country. His small business empire has grown substantially since 1991 when he returned to Iran from overseas and took over Alifard, the enterprise owned by his family, to produce fruit juice and concentrates under the SunIch brand.

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