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YANDEX AND UBER COMBINE RIDESHARING BUSINESSES IN RUSSIA AND OTHER COUNTRIES

Yandex and Uber announced last week an agreement to combine their ridesharing businesses in Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus and Georgia into a new company (“NewCo”). Uber will also contribute its UberEATS business in the region to NewCo.

In addition, Uber has agreed to invest $225MM and Yandex has agreed to invest $100MM into NewCo, valuing it at $3.725Bn on a post-money basis. After these investments, and subject to certain adjustments at closing, NewCo will be owned approximately 59.3% by Yandex, 36.6% by Uber, and 4.1% by employees of the company, on a fully diluted basis. Tigran Khudaverdyan, currently the CEO of Yandex.Taxi, will become the CEO of the combined business.

NewCo will draw on the strengths of Yandex, the search, maps and navigation leader in the region, and Uber, the global ridesharing leader, to develop a fast-growing, sustainable business that best serves the needs of riders, drivers and cities.

After the closing of the transaction, consumers will be able to use both Yandex and Uber apps while the driver-side apps will be integrated, leading to shorter passenger wait times, increased driver utilization rates, and higher service reliability.

“This combination greatly enhances Yandex’s ability to offer better quality service to our riders and drivers, to quickly expand our services to new regions, and to build a sustainable business,” says Tigran Khudaverdyan of Yandex.Taxi. “The combined companies currently perform over 35 million rides a month while growing over 400% year-over-year. Since founding Yandex.Taxi in 2011, we have connected tens of millions of riders and drivers to become the largest and most trusted ridesharing business in Russia and neighboring countries. We are excited to expand on this foundation in collaboration with Uber.”

“Not only is this partnership good news for our two companies, it’s also great for riders, drivers and cities across the region. This deal is a testament to our exceptional growth in the region and helps Uber continue to build a sustainable global business,” says Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty, Head of Uber in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

The boards of directors of both Uber and Yandex have approved the transaction. The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions and is expected to close in Q4 of 2017.

SYED MUHAMMAD ALI NAMED SENIOR ADVISOR AND HEAD OF ENERGY VERTICAL AT JS GROUP

JS Group has appointed Syed Muhammad Ali as its senior advisor & head of the energy vertical; with effect from 1st June, 2017. Ali joins JS Group from Engro where over the last 16 years has held several key positions within the Corporation. Most notably Ali played an instrumental role in building the worlds largest single train urea fertiliser complex in Pakistan, established the corporations first off shore investment in a power plant based in Nigeria, had set up business development wing and started the services business for pursuing opportunities in the energy sector across the globe. He also stabilised company’s new LNG terminal business and managed max capacity utilization in short span of time. He was the Chief Executive Officer of Engro Elengy terminal Ltd and Engro vopak terminal limitrd until recently. Ali is based in Karachi with his wife Huma and three kids.

JS Group is primarily an investment company in financial services and also makes long term investments in growing companies. JS Group invests globally in ventures with international partners, primarily in developing countries, in sectors such as Insurance, Industrials, Infrastructure, Infocom, Real Estate, Transportation and Logistics and Natural Resources.

OPPLE LIGHTING PAKISTAN LAUNCHES ITS CAMPAIGN WITH SAHARA TRUST

Opple Lighting Pakistan, a premium LED lighting solution has recently launched its advertisement campaign in collaboration with Sahara Trust, a charitable organization.

This advertisement campaign by Opple Pakistan carried out in all major cities of Pakistan, where different marketing techniques used to promote both Opple and Sahara. Streamers allocated all over, where 70% of the space given to Sahara Trust and Opple utilized only 30%.

The complete cost of this initiative was borne by Opple Lighting Pakistan. Opple is an innovative, fast-growing company and an integrated lighting company concerning R&D, production and sale. Its products include light source, lamps, electrical appliances, integrated ceiling lamps etc.

After 15 years’ development, Opple possesses leading energy-saving lamps, ceiling lamps, stands, electrical appliances and other production lines, and has a full-equipped, hi-tech, elite-gathered Research and Development Center, and sets up the EMC, distribution of luminosity and the other most professional laboratories in the industry.

For more Information kindly visit their website: http://www.enviro.com.pk/about.php

NIB BANK’S MERGER WITH AND INTO MCB BANK COMES INTO EFFECT

NIB Bank Ltd (NIB)’s merger with and into MCB Bank Ltd (MCB) has come into effect from close of business 7th July 2017. All properties, assets, liabilities, rights and obligations of NIB now stand amalgamated and vest permanently in MCB. For now, no changes will be made to the banking services of former NIB customers who will be able to conduct their banking transactions as usual.

Once the full integration of both banks is complete, the merger will provide additional synergies, banking services and added convenience to customers of both Banks. Former NIB customers will gain direct access to MCB’s extensive network of branches and ATMs alongside enhanced portfolio of products and services. Additionally, they will also gain access to banking services in several new geographical segments.

This merger has taken place under a share swap arrangement in accordance with the Scheme of Amalgamation as approved by State Bank of Pakistan on June 13, 2017, without involving any foreign exchange transaction.

MCB Bank already enjoys the confidence of foreign investors including Malaysia based Maybank, and with this strategic merger, MCB Bank is honoured to welcome Fullerton Financial Holdings (International) of Singapore as another significant international shareholder of the Bank.

MCB BANK & VIRTUAL UNIVERSITY SIGN MOU FOR STRATEGIC COLLABORATION

MCB Bank, one of the largest & most innovative banks in Pakistan, has entered into a strategic collaboration & agreement with Virtual University (VU) for services that include fee collection and accessibility to VU’s vast knowledgebase.

Under this agreement, MCB Bank will provide fee collection services, financial products and other associated financial services to VU. Additionally, VU will facilitate its professional expertise and grant MCB Bank access to its exclusive Learning Resources.

At the ceremony, Mr. Zargham Khan Durrani, Retail Banking Head – North MCB also appraised the delegation on the Bank’s diverse product portfolio and customer centric financial solutions. Dr. Naveed A Malik, Rector VU also spoke of the need for greater collaboration between the two organizations and proposed different initiatives to strengthen the link between the banking industry and the academic sector.

The MoU was signed between Mr. Mirza Ali Raza, Head Institutional Sales MCB Bank and Mr. Naeem Tariq, Director Finance VU at MCB house in presence of senior executives from both organizations.

K-ELECTRIC PRESENTS ITS REVIEW MOTION IN RESPONSE TO NEPRA’S MULTI-YEAR TARIFF DETERMINATION 2017

The first day of a two-day hearing on K-Electric’s review petition in response to the Tariff announced by NEPRA for the period July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2023 was held today at a local hotel in Karachi with active participation from prominent businessmen, renowned professionals, civil society and philanthropists.

Speaking on the occasion Omar Lodhi, Partner & Head of Asia, The Abraaj Group said, “The performance based tariff structure enabled K-Electric to invest over PKR 130 billion in the power infrastructure of Karachi since 2009. KE has to-date not paid out any dividend and the profits declared in annual audited accounts have been re-invested into the business. This in turn has benefited customers through improvement in supply and quality of service. The long-term business certainty and continuity of a performance based Multi-Year Tariff structure is critical for K-Electric to further invest in improving Karachi’s power infrastructure in order to support the growing energy demands of the city. However, the determined tariff 2017 does not cover the costs and ignores genuine recovery issues, leading KE into serious cash flow shortfalls, putting the sustainability of the company at risk and would result in serious implications for KE and its consumers.”

Presenting KE’s review petition, Aamir Ghaziani, Director Finance & Regulations at KE, stressed upon the importance of recognizing recovery loss in tariff to ensure that the tariff remains cost reflective in line with practice adopted by regulators around the world for private utilities. “KE being a vertically integrated utility, a fixed rate base tariff structure is not suitable and instead a flexible performance based tariff is most suited as it encourages the utility to invest in efficiency improvements and also ensures that consumers are not required to pay for investments in advance. Moreover, in determined tariff 2017, returns allowed to KE are lower than offered to other private sector investors who also possess government guarantees and NEPRA should ensure that a level playing field is provided to KE,” he said.

Tayyab Tareen, CEO, K-Electric said, “Based on an investment of over PKR 254 billion, KE has developed a robust seven-year business plan in view of the growing power demands and to strengthen the city’s power infrastructure. Moreover, addition of around 2,000 MW has been planned through IPPs, which would lead to a surplus supply scenario with adequate contingency. However, KE would be unable to execute these investments as under the determined tariff, KE’s cashflows are projected to be negative.”

KE has been operating on an Integrated Multi-Year Tariff (IMYT) and through its previous I-MYT, K-Electric ensured an investment well above the proposed business plan at that time. As a result of these investments, K-Electric has substantially improved services for Karachi’s consumers and businesses. Amongst other initiatives, the company added 1,057 MW of generation, reduced transformer trips by 58% and reduced line losses from 36% to 22%. These improvements have enabled the company to make 61% of Karachi load-shed free (from 23% in 2009), including all industrial customers, and reduce the duration and frequency of outages by 45% and 41% respectively (from 2011).

Moreover, the utility reaches around 3.9 million lives annually with initiatives like provision of free or subsidized electricity to key major healthcare and welfare organizations besides creating various powerful platforms to engage the youth in healthy activities be it sporting events, providing them professional exposure and encouraging students’ initiatives. KE’s flagship community development project ’Ujala’ is also progressing swiftly and aims to empower 1 million lives in 200 communities by the end of 2017.

K-ELECTRIC UNVEILS PLAN FOR $1BN 900 MW POWER PROJECT

K-Electric unveils plan for the development of a 900 MW power project that will significantly increase generation capacity and play a critical role in further supporting the energy needs of Karachi.

The 900 MW Bin Qasim Power Station III will be built at K-Electric’s Bin Qasim site at an estimated cost of US$ 1 billion and includes simultaneous upgrades to associated transmission infrastructure. The plant will be dual fired with primary fuel expected to be RLNG (Re-gasified Liquid Natural Gas). Once completed, it will represent one of the largest private sector investments of its kind in the country’s power sector.

According to K-Electric CEO Tayyab Tareen, “The 900 MW BQPS-III is a big investment for K-Electric but our conviction is that this is essential in meeting Karachi’s immediate energy demands. We aim to commission the project in the fastest possible time and are confident that with the right facilitation from all quarters, power from the plant may be added to our supply as soon as summer of 2018.”

Waqar Siddique, Chairman K-Electric and Managing Partner The Abraaj Group, said “An investment of the size and magnitude of BQPS-III once again reinforces Abraaj’s commitment to improving the lives of K-Electricís customers. We believe the company is ideally poised to continue its investment in generation, transmission and distribution projects within an investment friendly environment. Shanghai Electric Power (SEP), as a potential incoming investor, have also expressed complete confidence in this project and fully endorses K-Electricís vision for Karachi’s transformation. This 900 MW project marks the beginning of a multi-billion dollar investment plan which is set to accelerate Karachi’s economic potential.”

Mr. Wang Yundan, Chairman Shanghai Electric Power (SEP) stated, “Shanghai Electric Power issued a fresh public announcement of our intention to acquire up to 66.4% shares of K-Electric. While the transaction is yet to be completed, we are actively following K-Electricís plans which have been comprehensively outlined in their Multi Year Tariff review petition. This is indeed an exciting milestone and we fully endorse their vision for Karachi. SEP looks forward to leveraging its strengths as a strategic investor to further realize K-Electricís potential in providing better services to the people of Karachi.”

The investment for the 900 MW plant and associated transmission upgrades is in addition to over US$ 1.4 billion which has already been invested since 2009 by K-Electric. As a result of these investments, K-Electric has substantially improved services for Karachi’s consumers and businesses. Amongst other initiatives, the company added 1,057 MW of generation, reduced transformer trips by 58% and reduced line losses from 36% to 22%. These improvements have enabled the company to make 61% of Karachi load-shed free (from 23% in 2009), including all industrial customers, and reduce the duration and frequency of outages by 45% and 41% respectively (from 2011). K-Electric additionally created 29 Integrated Business Centers (“IBCs”) to improve and enhance customer engagement.

Adding new generation capabilities and strengthening its transmission and distribution network are currently K-Electricís highest priorities.

The power utility is also taking major steps towards enhancing transformation capacity and improving the reliability of power supply to its customers. The development work of TP-1000 (Transmission Enhancement Plan), a US$ 450 million project, is progressing on a fast track.

KE has further intensified its overall drive against power theft and illegal abstraction. Replacement of old wires with kunda-resistant Aerial Bundled Cables (ABC), which is an innovative concept for power distribution guaranteeing both safety and higher system efficiencies, as part of the vision to further enhance the reliability of power supply across its network.

The power utility remains fully committed to better serve the people of Karachi and to ensure the growth of economy of Karachi and Pakistan.

JS BANK SPONSORS 56TH NATIONAL AMATEUR GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP

JS Bank Limited (JSBL) sponsored the 56th National Amateur Golf Championship of Pakistan at Defence Authority Country & Golf Club. It was an iconic golf event of Pakistan Golf Federation with Pakistan’s top amateur golfers contesting along with leading players from Bangladesh and Srilanka. More than 100 golfers from all over the country participated in the four day championship.

The tournament produced some exciting matches throughout. At the end, first-round leader Ashiq Hussain won the 56th National Amateur Championship men title where as young Aania Farooq won the women title.

Mr. Imran Shaikh, Head of Marketing, JS Bank said “It is JS Bank’s immense pleasure to be a part of this event as JS Bank has always believed in promoting sports. This event is another step in that direction and we look forward to continue supporting Golf in Pakistan”

JS Bank is one of the fastest growing banks in Pakistan, with 307 branches in 152 cities including one international branch. JS Bank is part of JS Group, one of Pakistan’s most diversified and progressive financial services groups. For more information, visit www.jsbl.com.

GENOMICS CENER IN PAKISTAN: FUTURE TRUST, CHILDREN’S NATIONAL HEALTH SYSTEM REACH MOU

The Future Trust and the Children’s National Health System signed a Memorandum of Understanding to launch a unique research partnership to set up a genomics center in Pakistan.

Speaking at the signing ceremony at the Dorchester in London, Ali Raza Siddiqui, Chairman of Future Trust and Vice Chairman JS Group, said, “Our partnership with Children’s National, a world leader in children’s health, will significantly expand knowledge of children’s genetic makeup in Pakistan and lead to better health for children everywhere.”

Kurt Newman, MD, President and CEO of Children’s National, based in Washington, D.C., expressed his appreciation for Future Trust’s partnership. “Future Trust shares our vision to improve children’s lives by collecting and analyzing genetic data. We are inspired by the opportunity to make advancements in areas like cancer, immunology, neurological disorder, and other conditions for children in Pakistan and around the world.”

The field of genomic medicine depends on large-scale genetic information from many individuals, and it has largely relied on data from Caucasian populations, which is poorly adapted to other ethnicities around the world. The signing of this MOU is an important step toward setting a benchmark for population-based genomic medicine worldwide, and the partnership with also improve health of Pakistani families for years to come.

The data collected through this partnership will help detect rare undiagnosed diseases and set the stage for prevention, intervention, and eradication of diseases.

Future Trust is a non-profit benevolent philanthropic organization, a charitable trust, set up by JS Group for the promotion, advancement and encouragement of technology and innovation against poverty and general improvement of socio economic conditions and living standards of the people of Pakistan. It supports youth in acquiring progressive education, vocational and career guidance and entrepreneurship. JS Group is one of Pakistan’s largest and most prominent business entities.

Children’s National Health System, based in Washington, D.C., has been serving the nation’s children since 1870. Children’s National is #1 for babies and ranked in every specialty evaluated by U.S. News & World Report including placement in the top 10 for cancer, neurology and neurosurgery, orthopedics, and nephrology. Children’s National has been designated two times as a Magnet® hospital, a designation given to hospitals that demonstrate the highest standards of nursing and patient care delivery. Home to the Children’s Research Institute and the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation, Children’s National is one of the nation’s top NIH-funded pediatric institutions.

CARFIRST ACHIEVES TREMENDOUS GROWTH FIRST SIX MONTHS

Strong demand, national expansion, fueled by innovation and implementation of international best practices, served as primary drivers of success for CarFirst. CarFirst provides car sellers a safe and hassle free process to get their cars inspected and sold at a fair price within an hour in which CarFirst even processes the payment. CarFirst also provides a first of its kind online auction platform for used-cars in Pakistan. CarFirst’s App, provides their private network of buyers the fastest way to find the perfect car that fits their buyers’ needs.

Raja Murad Khan, Co-Founder and CEO of CarFirst stated: “We started CarFirst with a vision to reinvent how used cars are traded in Pakistan through technology and infrastructure creation. We started our operations with a two man team in small home-office in Lahore and bought a Mehran as our first official purchase. We developed a unique model where we make this a one window solutions offering competitive prices and a very secure experience to sellers. Within six months, we have achieved tremendous growth and are now held by the Frontier Car Group with 115 employees and currently operating in Karachi, Lahore, and Islamabad, with plans to expand in other major cities across Pakistan.”

On CarFirst’s expansion plans, Gibran Vahidy, Chief Operations Officer of CarFirst stated: “CarFirst is transforming the way used-cars are traded in Pakistan. We are presently looking to setup additional purchase centers in Lahore and Karachi, and establish centers in Faisalabad, Sialkot and Peshawar within the next two months. Additionally we are working to cater to increased volume with additional warehouses where we can facilitate buyers and manage inventory.”

CarFirst, raised one of Pakistan’s biggest round of series’A’ funding to reinvent the used car sales sector and has been growing rapidly, and has grown its trading volume by 1100% since inception. CarFirst’s Customer Service Center has seen a 280% increase and managed to bring over three thousand customers in for inspections from all over the country, with 10 active centers and 4 more coming online in July 2017. CarFirst’s Purchase Centers have seen an increase from 6 inspections per day per center to over 12 a day, resulting in over 3500 inspections. We now see an average of 10 inspections from walk in customers. They also launched its Online Auction Platform through its Auction App on Android and the ISO platforms in May of 2017. Since then, over 200 private network of buyers have installed the app. Within two months the CarFirst Auction Platform has managed over 250 successful bids, by more than 70 buyers across Lahore, Karachi, and Islamabad. CarFirst sees huge opportunity in bringing a bigger chunk of the market on its platform.

PROMOTION OF BUSINESS LINKAGES WITH CANADA STRESSED

It is a fact that Pakistan is emerging as a trading nation, primarily because of its location at the crossroads of South Asia, China, Central Asia, West Asia and the Indian Ocean. With its liberal pro-investment policies, Pakistan is a combination of a rapidly growing economy with a highly skilled and moderately priced workforce. Pakistan’s economy has shown a relatively well economic trend for the last few years.

Numerous Canadian companies are already exploring opportunities in Pakistan in various sectors, including solar energy and information technology. However, our economic ties haven’t been reached to its true potential. In a report by Statistics Canada, bilateral merchandise trade alone topped the $1 billion mark in 2016, depicting a 49%.

A recent meeting was held between Pakistan’s Finance Minister – Ishaq Dar, and the Canadian High Commissioner – Perry Calderwood, where the commissioner said “a robust economic growth and a visible improvement in the security situation in Pakistan had provided a good opportunity for further strengthening economic and business linkages between the two countries”. The President of All Pakistan Business Forum (APBF) – Mr. Ibrahim Qureshi expressed his opinion over Pakistan and Canada’s economic relations and said: “Pakistan and Canada have been traditionally enjoying friendly relations over the years, with close co-operation in development, people-to-people contacts and regional security. Pakistan’s exports value at $350 million+, whereas Canadian exports totaled $690 million. Canada has vast business opportunities in Pakistan, such as oil, gas and minerals exploration, information technology, agro-business and power generation.”

The current state of bilateral ties including economic cooperation between Pakistan and Canada were discussed along with the steps that had been taken to reactivate the bilateral Trade and Investment Working Group to help promote economic cooperation. The Canadian High Commissioner also encouraged Canadian investors and firms to explore and benefit from the business and investment opportunities available in the country.

COMPANIES MUST BE AWARE OF THE FINANCIAL IMPACT OF CLIMATE-RELATED RISK, ACCA

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) has welcomed the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) as an important step towards the better allocation of capital, by incorporating the effect of climate change in investment decisions.

Yen-pei Chen, Subj. Manager ñ Corporate Reporting at ACCA stated: ’The four thematic areas of the TCFD’s recommendations ñ governance, strategy, risk management and metrics and targets ñ provide a useful framework for disclosure. ’In particular, climate-related risks could affect the carrying value of assets and goodwill and in some cases the going concern status of the business. Accounting standard setters such as the IASB should be giving greater priority to closing the long-standing gap that exists in reporting the effect of pollutant pricing or emissions trading systems.’

ACCA also welcomed the inclusion of references to the financial impact of climate-related risk, and the ensuing recommendation that this be reflected in companies’ financial statements.

Arif Masud Mirza, ACCA’s Regional Head of Policy ñ MENASA stated: ’Pakistan has always faced extreme climate conditions, but now more than ever before climate or rather managing climate and its connected maladies is posing a threat that’s greater than global terrorism. A lot of the environmental, social and governance costs needed for managing climate change are “off balance sheet”. With game changing strategic investments like CPEC around the corner the cost to Pakistan of not investing in ESG in the short medium and long term may be a price too great.’

Professional accountants play an important role in helping companies to manage and report climate-related risks more effectively. This is particularly clear in light of this week’s EU adoption of non-binding guidelines for non-financial information reporting, which is another example of the global momentum towards better-informed capital markets and companies fit for the challenges of today’s world.

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