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Oct 30 - Nov 05, 2000

Petroleum sector lures $704m in one year

Federal Petroleum Minister Usman Aminuddin on Tuesday said that petroleum sector had attracted $704 million in the last one year.

Speaking at an investor's conference on "Reopening of Pakistan for Business", the minister said $571 million had been invested in upstream and $133 million in the downstream sectors.

Mr Aminuddin said major new investments in the upstream oil and gas sector were $268 million in the development of Bhit gas field by LASMO and its joint venture partners, Premier-Shell.

OMV of Austria will invest $212 million in the development of Miano and Sawan gas fields and BHP Petroleum to invest $18 million in the development of Zamzama gas field. In addition, Petronas of Malaysia, Paige (USA), TotalFina (France) and OMV are committed to spending $66.8 million in exploration, both onshore and offshore, he added.

He said the petroleum sector was going through an extensive restructuring, reforming and traditionally involved in managing the market and allocating these resources.

The public sector oil and gas companies were given autonomy to operate on commercial lines without the government interference. These steps were not only bringing high yields but also helping the sector to develop on the fast track.

The minister said that major steps were being taken to develop the oil and gas sector. The process of exploration and development of oil and gas fields was being accelerated and increased foreign investment was being encouraged, he said.

Dilating on the salient features of oil and gas sector reforms, he said the development of the recently discovered huge resources of gas was being expedited. Independent regulatory authorities were being established for operators and development of the sector, he added.

Caltex raises furnace oil

Caltex Pakistan rose the furnace oil prices by Rs325 per metric tons to Rs13,207pmt from Rs12,882pmt. Caltex, which enjoys over five per cent market share in fuel oil, took the decision of price hike on October 19, a senior official of the company told, attributing the price surge to upward drive in fuel oil prices by the local refineries.

Currently, Caltex's new price of Rs13,207pmt is on higher side as compared to Rs12,882pmt being demanded by Pakistan State Oil (PSO) and Shell Pakistan Limited (SPL) from its clients.

In another development, National Refinery Limited and Pakistan Refinery Limited have raised the fuel oil prices by Rs95pmt to Rs11,180pmt from Rs11,085pmt of last week.

10 EoIs for underwriting of ABL shares

Ten local and foreign institutions and groups are interested in acting as underwriter for disinvestment plan of Allied Bank Ltd.

Last month the Privatization Commission had invited expression of interest (EoI) for pre-qualifying intending underwriters for proposed disinvestment of 49 per cent government shares in partly privatized ABL. Sources told on Thursday that the Commission received 10 EoIs by the close of the deadline i.e. October 23.

Following is the list of the parties that have submitted EOIs: (i) ABL Management Group (ii) Fateh Group of Hyderabad (iii) Mehtab Abbasi Group of Islamabad (iv) Union Bank (v) Invest Capital and Securities (vi) International Investment & Financial Services (vii) Speedway Fond Metals Pakistan Ltd. (viii) World Link Exchange (Dubai) (ix) Global Finance Services (Dubai) and (x) Inter-link (USA).

An official announcement about the EoIs received by the PC is expected shortly.

At present ABL management group is running the bank but market sources say its shareholding is fractured with one business group holding as much as 30 per cent of equity stakes. Fateh Group and Mehtab Abbasi Group own a big chunk of ABL shares that were sold to them in 1999.


Engro Chemical Pakistan Limited announced third quarter (July-September 2000) results on Thursday, posting net income at Rs356 million on revenue of Rs2,672 million.

Rupee bounces back

After remaining depressed for a few days the rupee regained part of its lost charm against the US dollar both in the inter-bank as well as in open market.

Bankers said the rupee finished at 57.45/57.55 to a dollar in inter-bank market recording a gain of 25 paisa over the previous close of 57.70/57.80. In the open market it closed at 61.45/61.55 to a dollar-up 15 paisa from the previous close of 61.60/61.70.

Bankers said in the afternoon session the rupee gained further rising to 57.00/57.10 in value tomorrow. They said the local unit moved up on larger inflow of export dollars.

Fauji Cement Company

On Monday, the financial results for the year ended June 30, 2000 were unveiled by Fauji Cement Company Limited showing loss before taxation at Rs274.0 million and after taxation at Rs283.0 million. The deficit was almost a half of the pretax loss of Rs555.7 million and after tax loss of Rs562.9 million suffered by the company a year ago.

Faster conversion of frozen FCDs

People have converted some $160 million worth of frozen foreign currency deposits into rupees or dollar bonds since the lifting of a cap on exchange rates exactly three months ago.

Bankers said up to July 20, $8.14 billion FCDs stood converted into rupees or dollar bonds out of total $11 billion frozen in May 1998. They said the amount of FCDs converted into rupees or dollar bonds rose to $8.30 billion on October 20 showing a $160 million increase in just three months

SBP buying from kerb may go up

The State Bank may purchase more dollars from the open market in the current quarter than it had bought in the previous quarter ending in September.

Leading currency dealers told that the fall of the dollar in both inter-bank and open market may enable the SBP to buy more greenbacks from the open market in the current quarter.