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June 25 - July 01, 2001

EoIs invited to off-load govt shares: NITL sell-off

The Privatization Commission (PC) has invited Expressions of Interest (EoIs) from reputable international or Pakistani parties (participating solely or as part of a consortium) for acquiring 58 per cent government shares in National Investment Trust Limited (NITL), the Asset Management Company of National Investment (Unit) Trust ("The Fund").

A handout in this regard, issued on Wednesday, said that the Fund is the largest open-end mutual fund in Pakistan with an approximate size of Rs18.5 billion. The Fund provides a one window entry into Pakistan's equity markets as it is invested in approximately 600 of the 730 listed companies at the Karachi Stock Exchange (Guarantee) Limited.

NITL has approximately 66,000 unit holders and over 20 branches across the country. The government through PC intends to divest/sell strategic shares in NITL. PC will provide information package on receipt of EOI statement of qualification (SOQ) documentation which will require the potential investor to provide detailed information memorandum including, but not limited to financial strength and net worth, management experience track record in fund/asset management and financial services and or track record of corporate governance, experience track record in developing/emerging markets, profile and overview of the interested parties, annual report on financial statements for the last three years in respect of corporate entities and their details of shareholding/ownership structure.

PC has asked the interested parties to submit their EOI latest by July 30, 2001 with a non-refundable fee of Rs25,000 or $400. It is envisaged that once the selection of qualified potential investors has been made on the basis of information provided by them in SOQs, participants in the process shall be provided with additional information on NITL whereupon PC shall commence with a competitive bid, negotiation and sale process in accordance with the privatization law of Pakistan. PC reserves the right not to respond to any request for preliminary or other information.

Reserves shoot up to $2.8 billion

Pakistan's liquid foreign exchange reserves shot up to $2.825 billion on June 16 from $2.375 billion on June 9. The State Bank said in a statement on Thursday that the total reserves more than $1.743 billion held by the central bank and over $1.081 billion held by all other banks.

Senior bankers said the reserves rose by $450 million in the week ending on June 16 as SBP received a $350 million from the World Bank and another $100 million from state-run National Bank.

The WB money came in the shape of structural adjustment credit for financing structural reforms currently being implemented in banking and other sectors of the economy whereas NBP offered $100 million to finance oil imports by state-run Pakistan State Oil. SBP will provide foreign exchange cover to import letters of credit of PSO out of this facility.

EoIs invited for POL shares

Privatization Commission has invited Expressions of Interest (EOIs) for sale of equity stake of 35 per cent (approximately 15.8 million) shares of Pakistan Oilfields Limited (POL) through a book building process or block sale/tender offer through open bidding to domestic and international institutional investors and the general public. JP Morgan is the Lead Manager for this transaction.

Pakistan Oilfields Limited (POL) is an Oil and Gas Exploration and Production (E and P) company and has at present five of its own producing fields as well as four fields/concessions that it operates in joint venture and six fields/concessions in which it is a working interest owner. POL is also actively pursuing exploration and development opportunities in these field/concessions. Furthermore, POL owns and operates a network of pipelines for transportation of crude oil to Attock Refinery Limited in Rawalpindi. POL has also had two subsidiaries, CAPGAS (Private) Limited, which markets LPG, and Attock chemicals (Private) Limited, which produces sulphuric acid.

Tea price up

The prices of blended and imported tea brands will go up by Rs10-15 per kg following a five per cent rise in import duty of tea to 30 per cent in the budget.

Rupee slides

The rupee shed 40 paisa more on Monday and closed at 63.70/63.75 per US dollar in inter-bank market on the back of heavy dollar buying by importers amidst stagnant supply.

Senior bankers said the importers made heavy forward dollar buying forcing the banks to make matching ready purchases that lifted the dollar up. They said most of the importers were purchasing dollars in what can be termed as typical budget-led buying euphoria whereas exporters had suspended sale of export proceed anticipating changes in the budget to their advantage.

UK firm plans investment

Damson Hill PIc, a UK-based group, has worked out a strategy to bring foreign exchange for investment in Pakistan particularly in textile and financial sectors.

Damson Hill, constituting several European companies, has bought Pakistan Industrial & Commercial Leasing (PICL) and Prime Insurance Company Ltd and taken over the charge of both ventures.

Ghandhara Leasing, IMLC demerged

The merger of Ghandhara Leasing Company with the International Multi Leasing Corporation, initiated in February this year, has been discontinued due to some technical problems, the company announced on Thursday.

The Board in their recent meeting have decided to merge Ghandhara Leasing with Al-Zamin Leasing Modaraba (Al-Zamin) in order to comply with the capital adequacy requirement of SECP. Al-Zamin and its Associates already hold majority share-holding and management control of Ghandhara Leasing.