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Sep 27, 1999

  1. International
  2. Finance
  3. Industry
  4. Policy
  5. Trade
  6. Gulf

PC to calls bid for 49pc ABL shares by Oct-end

The Committee of the Privatization Board of Pakistan (CPBP) directed the Privatization Commission to conduct the bidding for the remaining 49 per cent shares of the ABL in the last week of October.

According to informed sources the meeting which was presided over by Minister for Finance and Commerce Ishaq Dar also asked the concerned authorities to make sure that the Habib Bank will be privatized within this year either entirely or partially.

However, the meeting was of the view that an aspects of the privatization of the HBL should be fully looked into so that it should not face problems which were experienced by the United Bank during its privatization in the previous government.

The minister for finance said that some mechanism should be evolved to partially or totally disinvest the European, Middle East and Far East sections of the HBL to avoid any "regulatory problem".

Bid to acquire 75pc stakes in Rafhan Best Foods

In a bid to acquire the control of 75% holding in Rafhan Best Foods Limited, its majority shareholder — Bestfoods, US — has offered its shareholders Rs325 per share for the purchase of their stocks.

The offer, made through Jardine Fleming Pakistan Ltd. is valid for two weeks commencing from Sept 20 to Oct 4, and is subject to acquiring 110,000 shares on a 'first come first served basis'.

The move is said to be an attempt by Bestfoods to allow itself royalty on the sales of the company. However, the company's local sponsors are vigorously trying to resist the move and are said to have already enhanced their holding in it to about 25%. The claim could however not be confirmed independently.

A brokerage house, which acted on behalf of the local sponsors of the company, claims to have 'quietly lifted enough stocks from the market to enable its client to comfortably resist the move by the American company'.

The local sponsors of the company are claimed to be 'resisting the move because their agreement with Bestfoods does not provide for payment of royalty to the latter'. 'The agreement provides only for disbursement of dividend and payout to all investors and sponsors according to their holding in the company.

If the foreign majority stockholder succeeds to gain control of 75% holding in the company, it will be able under the law to allow itself royalty on the sales through a resolution (and without any resistance), a step which would severely affect the profitability of the company and its ability to pay good payout to shareholders,' a source close to the local sponsors said.

PC may drop IPI's units

The Privatization Commission (PC) is likely to drop two units of Iran-Pak Industries (IPI) from the privatization list, informed sources said here on Tuesday.

The PC is considering to de-list Lasbela Textile Mills Lasbela and Bolan Textile Mills Quetta from the list after it could not find any buyers for these two units, the sources said.

Rs3bn syndicated facility for PIA

Pakistan International Airline (PIA) and Citibank (who acted as arranger) announced on Monday the closing of a Rs3 billion syndicate facility for PIA.

Managing Director PIA, Shahid Islam and Citibank's Country Corporate Officer, Shahzad Naqvi signed an agreement on future receivables securitization on behalf of their organizations.

The facility is structured so that all ticket and cargo sales of PIA in Karachi and Lahore would be assigned, for a period of three years, and routed through a collection account with the Agent Bank of the Syndicate, said Citibank's Country Corporate Officer, Shehzad Naqvi on the occasion.

Fresh incentives for free trade zones

The government has decided to reshape the existing incentives package being offered by the free zones of the country and at least bring them at par with the other zones of the region.

This was decided at a committee meeting held in Islamabad recently under the chairmanship of Secretary, Ministry of Industries and Production, Abu Shamim Ariff.

The meeting which was attended by senior officials from finance ministry, Central Board of Revenue, Board of Investment and chairman Export Processing Zones Authority (EPZA), Maqsood Ismail was of the unanimous view that there was an urgent need for bringing the incentives package at par with those of the regional free zones.

Abu Shamim Ariff categorically informed the participants that there was a necessity to bring about improvement in the performance of EPZA and to reshape the existing incentives package.

OGDC raises its oil output in August

Oil and Gas Development Company (OGDC) enhanced oil production to 800564 barrels during the month of August, 1999, an increase of 144914 barrel against the said target, according to OGDCL report.

The production of LPG was recorded as 8011 metric tons which is 2214 metric tons above the target. While 14436 million cubic feet (MMCF) natural gas was produced with an increased production record of 1533 million cubic feet compared with August, 1998 the same period of last year. OGDC also raised sulphur production to 1869 metric tone above the target of 164 metric tons during the month under review.

According the report, OGDC saved Rsl465.13 million foreign exchange to the national exchequer through oil fuel import substitution during August, 1999 while generated an income of more than Rs60.10 million to government as excise and regulatory duties.