According to the plan, all NPC's production assets would be placed into a single entity which could then be sold in part or as a whole to investors including the international petrochemical industry.
NPC's non-production assets would become an "incubator", raising capital in the markets and becoming a co-investor in new projects, the source said.
Iran's government has tasked NPC with developing a detailed privatisation plan which it hopes to approve by the end of the Iranian new year, in March 2011. It was not clear whether international expertise would be brought in to help develop the plan, the source added.
"A big share of NPC will probably be sold to the state's pension funds but they want international investors and may be willing to sell a majority. Asian companies, perhaps the Chinese, Koreans or Japanese would be interested," said the source, adding that US and European chemical companies would find it hard to participate because of political pressure.
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Iran is already a major petrochemical producer but has been held back from getting its projects up and running through poor access to technology. The prospect of privatization could be fantastic news for the company, situated as it is in the midst of vast oil and gas reserves.
If a change of government brought a change in its nuclear policies and anti-Western rhetoric, the prospects for chemical industry growth tere would be phenomenal.