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Oct 11, 1999

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

EoI invited for UAE network

The Privatization Commission has decided to privatize the Middle East Network of Habib Bank Limited (HBL) in whole or in parts to strategic investors.

The HBL Middle East Network privatization represents an attractive investment opportunity for investors interested in leveraging HBL's extensive presence in the Middle East.

The Middle East Network of HBL comprises: 8 branches in the United Arab Emirates, 4 branches in Bahrain; 1 branch in Lebanon; and 12 branches in Oman.

In the first stage, HBL's network in the UAE will be privatized.

Expressions of Interest (EoI) for prequalification have been invited from reputed Pakistani and foreign parties (participating solely or as part of a consortium). EoI has to be accompanied by a bank draft in an amount of 10,000 dollars only as non-refundable processing fee.

Interested groups have been asked to submit their EoI along with experience/track record in the banking sector and/or financial services industry, experience/track record in the emerging markets, experience/track record of the institution/consortium, latest annual report/financial statements and/or details of financial strength of the institution/consortium, details of shareholding/ownership structure.

Those parties that had previously submitted formal EoI for the privatization of HBL in response to earlier advertisements published in the newspapers of the country and abroad along with 10,000 dollars and are interested in acquiring HBL's network in the UAE are not required to submit the processing fee along with their EoI.

EoI should also include the names of key contacts, their addresses, telephone and fax numbers and should be submitted to the Privatization Commission latest by Nov 1, 1999.

PIA earns $20m profit annually, says Khaqan

The national flag carrier, PIA, has now turned into a profit-oriented entity and is earning an average profit of $ 20 million annually. The total annual earning of the airline amounts to $ 800 million per annum while its total expenditure comes to about $780 million annually.

This was stated by PIAC Chairman Shahid Khaqan Abbasi at Lahore Press Club's programme 'Guest of Honour here on Monday.

He said that it was due to the hectic and sincere efforts of the present management that the national carrier, which was earlier running in huge losses, had now not only turned into a profit-oriented organization but also attained the status of the second largest revenue generating institution of the country.

The chairman, who was accompanied by his advisor Nadir Chaudhry, said that soon after assuming his charge he took a number of steps to improve PIA's financial affairs which had now started yielding positive results.

Revenue under USAS up by 19pc

Income tax collection under Universal Self Assessment Scheme 1999-2000 increased by 19.3 per cent in 1999, as against 1998.

By September 30, 1999, the Income Tax Department collected Rs810 million by assessees against Rs654 million collected last year, say Central Board of Revenue sources.

This year, the total assessees who filed income tax returns were 6.69 million while last year the number of assessees filing income tax returns under USAS was 6.49 million (3% more this year).

CBR expects to better this collection by more than Rs one billion as the last date for filing of IT returns under Universal Self Assessment Scheme has been extended to October 15, 1999.

Interest rate cut slows conversion of FCDs into bonds

1-2 per cent cut in the rate of interest has slowed the pace of conversion of frozen foreign currency deposits (FCDs) into dollar bonds, statistics show.

Senior bankers close to the State Bank told that only $72 million worth of FCDs were converted into dollar bonds in September. They said people had converted $1.468 billion worth of FCDs up to Sept 2 adding that the figure rose to $1.540 billion at the end of the month — an increase of just $72 million. The State Bank had cut interest rate on the bonds from Sept 3.

The bankers said $5.567 billion worth of FCDs were converted into rupees also up to Sept 2 adding that the figure rose to $5.655 billion at the end of the month showing an increase of $88 million. "Conversion of dollar FCDs into dollar bonds would fall further in the coming months," said treasurer of a foreign bank. "The State Bank announced the decision of reducing interest rate on dollar bonds on Sept 7. So people would take some time to understand its implications and decide what to do with their foreign currency deposits.

"Senior bankers say people should have paced up conversion of FCDs after the announcement of the cut in interest rate on dollar bonds but they were waiting for the conversion rate to go up.

Rs 550m Swiss loan for small enterprises

Switzerland will provide Rs 550 million during the next fiscal year to develop small and medium enterprises in Pakistan.

The money will also be spent for priority areas such as the humanitarian sector and the development of national resources.

This was decided at an Annual Bilateral Consultations for development assistance 1999 between Pakistan and Switzerland in the Economic Affairs Division.

MCB regional office inaugurated

Mr. Muhammad Shoaib Qureshi, country chief of commercial banking group of Muslim Commercial Bank Ltd. (MCB) inaugurated the MCB regional office at United Nations Avenue Sukkur on Friday in presence of prominent bankers and business magnates.