* In talks with U.S., French governments over Iran
* Has been approached by Turkish, international banks
(Adds Renault executive comment on Latin America)
By Evren Ballim
ISTANBUL, June 19 French automaker Renault
is looking for a financial partner to resume full
operations in Iran and is in talks with the U.S. and French
governments on the issue, one of its senior executives said.
Renault is keen to start making and selling vehicles in Iran
again with local partners Iran Khodro and Pars Khodro, to
rebuild the significant market position it enjoyed before
international sanctions on Tehran were introduced in 2011.
French rival PSA Peugeot Citroen also wants to
ramp up sales in Iran, which analysts say could be a profitable,
fast-growing auto market soon exceeding 2 million vehicles
annually in the event of a sustained diplomatic thaw.
"What we are looking for is a financial partner, who will on
their own as well comply with all the international regulations
and which enable us to resume our activities in Iran," Chief
Performance Officer Jerome Stoll said in an interview with news
agencies late on Wednesday.
"We are just trying to explain our position to the American
administration, French administration as well. To explain what
we want to do, how we want to proceed and how we want to make
this business," he said.
Stoll said the company had been approached by Turkish and
Renault said in January it had resumed shipments to Iran and
expected its car production in the country to pick up
progressively throughout the first half of 2014.
At the time the company said a temporary easing of sanctions
had begun to allow a "very low" volume of parts shipments for
vehicle assembly in Iran. It is keen to reclaim its market
position before the mass arrival of competitors behind any
permanent political detente that could follow.
Production by Iran's domestic car industry, unusually
developed for the Middle East, peaked at 1.6 million cars in
2011, the year crippling new sanctions were introduced. Leading
manufacturer Iran Khodro accounted for about half that output.
Stoll also said he expected a recovery in the Brazilian auto
market but was concerned about Argentina, which threatened to
default on its debt on Wednesday.
Renault, which has factories in Brazil and Argentina, made
14 percent of group revenue from Latin America last year.
"I expect the Brazil market to recover in the coming
months.... We have a lot of concern in Argentina on the
financial situation," Stoll said.
"The two countries have some links. If one country is
suffering it may affect the other. So I'm a little bit concerned
by the situation today in Latin America in the short term."
Stoll also said Renault planned new investment in its Oyak
Renault unit plant in the northwestern Turkish city of Bursa.
(Writing by Daren Butler; Editing by Nick Tattersall and Erica