French lender BNP to boost Africa investment banking business
News from Reuters:

Sun Mar 3, 2013 2:30am EST

* BNP seeks to expand in fast-growing African mkts

* Lender changes business model in the region

* To focus more on advisory roles than plain lending

* BNP opened South Africa branch last year

By Mirna Sleiman and Dinesh Nair

ABU DHABI, March 3 (Reuters) – BNP Paribas, France’s No.1 listed bank, plans to boost its investment banking footprint in Africa as it favors promising growth markets away from the riskier euro zone, its regional head said.

BNP, which is also eyeing an expansion drive in Asia, has changed its regional business model to focus more on advisory rather than just lending for big projects, said Jean-Christophe Durand, the bank’s chief executive for the region.

While BNP is relatively well-capitalised after a year-long drive to cut its balance sheet and shrink its holdings of risky eurozone sovereign debt, it is heavily exposed to mature European markets and is under pressure to show investors new paths to growth.</…………… continues on Reuters

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Foreign Investment in Iran Has Reached $ 7 Billion, Fars Says
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Iran has attracted $ 7 billion in foreign investment in the current Iranian year ending March 20, Fars reported, citing Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar.

Mohammad-Najjar didn’t say which countries the investment came from nor what projects they went to, according to the state-run news agency’s report. The minister said foreign investment was $ 5 billion the previous Iranian year. Iran Economy Minister Shamseddin Hosseini in May put last year’s figure at $ 4.3 billion.

Iran is under United Nations, U.S. and European Union sanctions over its nuclear program, which Western powers say may be aimed at developing atomic weapons, a claim Iran denies.

Though their effects have been downplayed by Iranian authorities, financial and trade restrictions limit international companies’ involvement in Iranian business, have weakened the country’s national c…………… continues on Bloomberg

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