January 26, 2016 / 10:13 AM / 2 years ago

French firms expected to land Iranian airports deals

PARIS (Reuters) - Deals with French companies to help develop Iranian airports are likely to be announced during President Hassan Rouhani's two-day visit to Paris this week, a source close to the matter said on Tuesday.

"Cooperation deals on Iranian airports should be announced on Thursday," the source said.

Unveiling plans to buy 160 European planes last Sunday, Transport Minister Abbas Akhoondi had said Iran planned to award a contract soon for the expansion of Tehran's international airport.

Rouhani is heading a delegation of ministers and Iranian business leaders visiting Italy and France this week in a first official visit to Europe after sanctions were lifted on Iran.

The visit is expected to see the signing of deals and agreements in various sectors worth several billion dollars as Iran seeks to revamp its economy after the sanctions.

Rouhani will arrive in Paris on Wednesday for the two-day visit.

According to the Wall Street Journal, French construction group Bouygues (BOUY.PA) and Aeroports de Paris (ADP.PA) could be chosen to design and build a new terminal at Tehran's international airport while Vinci (SGEF.PA) could develop and operate airports in Mashhad and another Iranian city.

Bouygues, Vinci and ADP declined comment.

ADP's CEO Augustin de Romanet travelled to Iran last summer to discuss the expansion of Tehran's airport, a project ADP and Bouygues have been eyeing for several years.

"At this stage, talks continue but it is much too early for us to announce anything," an ADP spokeswoman recently said.

Reporting by Dominique Vidalon, Gilles Guillaume and Cyril Altmeyer, Tim Hepher; Editing by Greg Mahlich and Michel Rose

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