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Shell Eco-Marathon Asia returns to Malaysia in its 10th year

Shell announced today that Malaysia will host Shell Eco-marathon Asia in 2019 as part of its global Make the Future Live programme. Held at Sepang International Circuit, Kuala Lumpur, the Asia competition comes back to where it was first held in 2010, and celebrates its 10th year of challenging bright young student minds to design and build ultra-energy-efficient cars, and then take them out on the track in competition.

From April 29 to May 2 over100 teams from all over Asia and the Middle East will test their self-built energy-efficient cars in the Shell Eco-marathon Mileage Challenge, to see who can go the farthest using the least amount of energy. In 2018 Singapore hosted the event, where the winning team was efficient enough to travel 2,341 kilometres ñ about the distance from Malaysia to Yangon, Myanmar ñ on just one litre of fuel!

“Shell Malaysia is proud to host the 10th Shell Eco-marathon Asia at our home ground. It is an inspiring event that supports Shell’s vision of sustainable mobility – more energy efficient vehicles and cleaner road transport. It’s really impressive to see student teams pitting their skills against their cohorts from different countries to see who can design and build the most fuel-efficient vehicle,” explained Iain Lo, Chairman of Shell Malaysia.

“Shell has been in Malaysia for over 125 years, and we will continue to power Malaysia’s future with cleaner, innovative and competitive energy solutions, some of which will be showcased at the event,” he further added.

Student teams will also have the opportunity to qualify for the Shell Eco-marathon Drivers’ World Championship. Introduced to the Shell Eco-marathon programme in 2016, Drivers’ World Championship challenges the best UrbanConcept teams to combine the proven energy efficiency of their car with the speed and skill of their driver, in a race to see who can cross the finish line first on the least amount of fuel. Qualified teams will go to London for a chance to compete with teams from Europe and the Americas. In 2018, ITS Team 2 from Indonesia’s Institut Teknologi Sepuluh Nopember Surabaya was crowned the ultimate global winner of the Drivers’ World Championship, the second Asian team to win in the three years the competition has been running.

Pakistan will again be participating in Shell Eco-marathon Asia, with a contingent of 10 futuristic cars from 6 universities competing to be the most energy-efficient. Last year, a team from National University of Sciences & Technology (NUST) earned the ëPerseverance and Spirit of the Event’ Award for helping other teams compete in the race. This year the teams are more spirited and determined to bring home a race award.

“Every year, we see an increasing standard of performance, as well as team spirit and passion, among the student participants at Shell Eco-marathon Asia. The Sepang International Circuit in Malaysia is the perfect venue to witness new innovations in vehicle design come to life. We look forward to another exciting year at Shell Eco-marathon Asia,” said Shanna Simmons, Shell Eco-marathon Global Technical Director.

PTCL Returns to Full Year Revenue Growth for the first time since 2014

Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL), the country’s leading telecom and ICT services provider, has announced its financial results for the year ended December 31, 2018, at its Board of Directorsí meeting, held in Islamabad on February 12, 2019.

PTCL Group’s revenue for the year 2018 has grown YoY by 8% to Rs.126.2 billion as a result of positive contribution by all group companies. PTCL Group’s revenue growth in the fourth quarter accelerated to13%YoY. Ufone revenue has increased by 13% YoY, UBank, a microfinance banking subsidiary of PTCL, has shown significant growth of 64% in its revenue over last year. PTCL Group’s operating profit and net profit for the year have improved by 198% and 32% respectively. Like-for-like, net profit of PTCL Group is higher by 22% compared to last year.

PTCL revenue of Rs. 70.1 billion for the year is 0.7% higher than last year, with quarter 4 showing an accelerated growth of 3.4% YoY. In 2018, PTCL’s revenue has registered YoY growth for the first time since 2014:

In 2018, three quarters of PTCL’s revenue base has shown a growth over last year. PTCL’s flagship Fixed Broadband services posted revenue growth of 6.5% over 2017. For the 51exchanges fully transformed to date under the network transformation program YoY revenue growth is even higher at 12.4%. Investment in transformation of network exchanges has resulted in enhancing customer experience by reducing network faults by 36% and repeat faults by 50%, along with providing higher bandwidths beyond 100Mbps, bundled with Triple Play services. To further enrich the product and services portfolio, PTCL has partnered with the global OTT players like Netflix, STARZ Play, iflix, etc. PTCL has also been recognized by Brand Finance as the ’Fastest Growing Brand in Pakistan’.

Corporate business continues to perform strongly and has shown significant growth of 13% over last year by signing new customers in Managed Services and Cloud Infrastructure Services resulting in 154% and 188% growth respectively in these two segments.

Conversion of EVO customers to Charji/ LTE have yielded positive results with YoY revenue growth in double digits, however, it has also resulted in higher subscriber acquisition cost as compared to last year. There is continued decline in domestic and international voice revenues due to increase in illegal/grey traffic termination, continued conversion of subscribers to OTT and cellular services, resulting in declining voice traffic volumes.

PTCL’s operating profit for the year is lower by 9%, compared to 2017mainly due to increase in operating cost on account of currency devaluation and higher subscriber acquisition cost. Further, non-operating income has also declined due to reduced funds as compared to last year. Net Profit for the year is Rs.7.4 billion which is 11% lower compared to last year as reported (and % lower if adjusted for one-offs), driven by lower operating profit and lower non-operating income.

In 2018, the financial strength of PTCL was acknowledged through an independent rating exercise as a result of which JCR-VIS has assigned PTCL a long-term rating of AAA which will enhance all stakeholders’ confidence in the long-term sustainability of the Company.

This year yet again, PTCL has inducted top 100 young engineers and business graduates under Summit Program 2018 from top institutions and universities across Pakistan, which would help in building future leadership. Thanks to its sustained high growth, Ubank has created more than 650 new positions during 2018, increasing its employee base from 1,321 to 1,980, where 9% of the total workforce comprises of women.

The CEO of PTCL, Dr. Daniel Ritz, has decided to leave PTCL for personal reasons upon completion of his 3-year contract on March 1, 2019, in order to re-unite with his family in Europe. The PTCL Board of Directors at its meeting today has appointed Rashid Khan, currently CEO of Ufone, to the post of CEO PTCL effective March 2, 2019, with an additional charge of CEO Ufone.

On the occasion, Dr. Ritz said, “It has been a privilege and an honor to lead PTCL and the PTCL Group through a period of significant transformation. I am proud of what we have achieved as a team and the results announced today with PTCL returning to top line growth for the first time after several years of revenue decline are a testimony to this.” The PTCL Board of Directors thanked Dr. Ritz for his exemplary leadership in the past three years and the associated business results. His decision to return to Europe to re-unite with his family is understandable.

Hatem Dowidar, CEO Etisalat International, commented, “Daniel has taken the helm of the company at a critical time where he has succeeded in laying the foundation for a future network, providing ultra-fast broadband to many areas with the biggest network modernization of PTCL in its history. Additionally, PTCL under his leadership, became active in Cloud computing, data centres and pushing forward the Digital Pakistan agenda”. Maroof Azfal, Chairman PTCL, added, “On behalf of Government of Pakistan, I would like to thank Daniel sincerely for his personal leadership and achievements in putting PTCL, an important national asset, back on the growth track.”


JS Group hosts Former Vice Chairman – US Joint Chiefs of Staff Pakistan visit

Striving to build a prominent and progressive image of Pakistan on the international stage, JS Group hosted a talk with Adm. (R.) William A. Owens, Former Vice Chairman – US Joint Chiefs of Staff. After retiring from the military, Adm. Owens served as Chief Executive Officer of multiple blue-chip companies. He is also present on the boards of corporations such as Intelius, Polycom Inc., Daimler Chrysler and others.

The session was held with a diversified group of individuals from various segments of society including the corporate and business sectors, former military officers and key stakeholders from the public service domain. The event was hosted by Ali R. Siddiqui – Chairman JS Group in Karachi and present at the occasion was Sohail Aman-Former Chief of Air Staff, Pakistan Air Force amongst others.

The Admiral shared his views on the evolving relationship between Pakistan and the United States including possible strategic synergies between the two countries. Expounding that Pakistan contains humanistic, technical and commercial resources which are in high demand on the global stage; he said that there are numerous long-term growth opportunities which await people with the right vision to tap them.

Speaking at the occasion, Ali Raza Siddiqui expressed his views that non-traditional communication channels are key to building deep and cohesive relations. He emphasized that people to people connections lay the groundwork for future success. Thanking the Admiral for gracing the event, he expressed hope these interactions will bring about greater understanding on both sides of the ocean.

The guests appreciated the initiative undertaken by JS Group and expressed interest for further such interactions in the future.

JS Bank and Allianz EFU Join Hands in health insurance solution

JS Bank and Allianz EFU have signed an agreement for the sale and distribution of a unique health insurance solution, covering in-patient hospitalization due to accident or illness. JS Bank, one of Pakistan’s fastest growing banks, is a leading provider of banking and wealth management solutions in Pakistan. Allianz EFU is Pakistan’s First specialized health insurance company.

The agreement was signed by Kamran Jafar – Deputy CEO, JS Bank and Kamran Ansari – Operational Head, Allianz EFU.

Speaking at the occasion, Kamran Jafar – Deputy CEO, JS Bank, stated “JS Bank aims to create relevant and unique solutions for its expanding and evolving customer base. Allianz EFU is an ideal partner for JS Bank given their international experience and being the pioneers of health insurance in Pakistan. This partnership reflects our commitment to the well-being of our customers.”

Reflecting on the agreement, Kamran Ansari said “Allianz EFU is focused upon making quality healthcare accessible and affordable for all by introducing quality health insurance products. We are the first company in Pakistan to offer health insurance to individuals and families”.

By undertaking such cross functional partnerships, JS Bank remains committed towards providing innovative, cost efficient and value adding products and services to its customers.

BBC: The Conversation held at IBA Karachi

The Institute of Business Administration (IBA), Karachi hosted an event for the BBC titled, The Conversation at the G&T auditorium main campus. The event comprised of a panel discussion and esteemed panellists included Pakistan’s football captain Hajra Khan, award winning actress Mahira Khan, pioneer comedian Faiza Saleem and lawyer and internet activist Nighat Daad. The panel discussion was moderated by Kim Chakanetsa where the panellists probed into the challenges, frustrations and joys of being a woman in Pakistan.

The format of the recording followed a question answer manner in which the students in the audience put forth their questions and the panellist would then discuss the issue at hand. Kim began the recording by introducing the point of discussion which was to understand what it means to be a woman in a place like Pakistan which has stark contradictions from individuals like Benzair Bhutto and Malala Yusufzai to issues on gender parity, educational challenges and societal pressures.

Points of discussion included comments on lack of public spaces available for women, stereotypes associated with women within the country, moral policing and fat shaming, generalization regarding desi marriages, mental health and intersectional feminism.

Initiating the conversation, Faiza Saleem said, “I may be breaking boundaries but I am still expected to look a certain way”. She discussed the issues women face in the comedy industry where a man is considered to be funnier than his female counterparts. She shed light on the culture of body shaming that is done by relatives even if a woman is successful.

Nighat Dad who is the pioneer of the first cyber harassment helpline in Pakistan discussed that around 60 percent of the people that call for help comprise of women facing blackmail and dealing with sexual assault issues. She addressed the audience and highlighted the necessity of speaking up about mental health issues and cautioned them about the safe usage of social media and the internet.

Adding on to the discussion of mental health, the 25-year-old star athlete Hajra Khan opened up about her experience of dealing with mental health and how she manages to balance work with trainings. She also emphasized the importance of feminism and having male allies who stand up for women when they are being berated. She said, “Whenever I come across a man criticising women I tell him to woman up!”

Mahira Khan discussed the challenges she faces being a woman in the industry and commented on the importance of the Me Too movement. She said that “A conversation has begun about sexual harassment which has enabled women to fight the decayed, old and rotten justice system of the patriarchal society”.

The discussion ended with Kim posing a question to each of the panellist regarding whether they think it is a good time to be a woman in Pakistan today. The unanimous answer seemed to be that women have progressed tremendously over the last 10 years, as now women are moving away from the role of being silent bystanders to taking up a more active role and demanding their rights, as well as supporting other women.

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