Feb 12 -
PC to invite EoIs for PTCL
The Privatization Commission (PC) is inviting
Expression of Interests (EoIs) from the interested parties in the last
week of this month to privatize Pakistan Telecommunication Company
Limited (PTCL) by June next, positively.
Sources in the Cabinet Committee on Privatization (CCOP)
said on Monday that the officials of the PC were told that by June
2001, the majority shares of the PTCL should be disinvested along with
the transfer of management to new buyers.
The bidding process for the PTCL transaction will
be completed during March, April and May. "So that every thing
should be in place to handover the PTCL to a new buyer in June this
year," a source said.
A number of interested parties from Saudi Arabia,
Egypt, Australia and Lebanon have expressed their keen interest to
take part in the privatization of the PTCL.
Sources said some more foreign buyers have
contacted the financial advisor for the PTCL, Goldman Sachs to
purchase majority shares of the company. The representatives of
Goldman Sachs are believed to have completed due diligence so that
nothing went wrong at the eleventh hour of the privatization of the
PTCL as had been the case in some of the deals previously.
Sources said Chief Executive Gen. Pervez Musharraf
has also called for the early privatization of the PTCL.
Officials concerned concede that the PTCL deal will
fetch maximum $1 billion and that it could have brought $3-4 billion,
if privatized few years ago. Also the new buyers were not interested
to accept over 60,000 employees of the company and were reportedly
seeking considerable cutting down of the staff. Also the officials of
the Privatization Commission have finalized all necessary arrangements
to disinvest Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) business of the Sui
Northern Gas Pipeline (SNGPL) and Saudi Pak Fertilizer Company, within
PSM will return Rs11.3bn to five banks
Pakistan Steel Mills (PMS) has agreed to return
Rs11.35 billion which it owed to five commercial banks at a
fluctuating rate of interest. Earlier, it was agreed that the PS will
pay off its loans at 11 per cent fixed interest rate or the treasury
bills rates, which ever was low.
Chairman Pakistan Steel Mills, Col (retd) Mohammad
Afzal Khan held a detailed meeting with secretary-general finance
Moeen Afzal and the governor of State Bank, Dr Ishrat Hussain, on
Wednesday and was asked to agree to a new formula as the previous
formula was not acceptable to HBL, NBL, UBL, ABL and MCB which lent
Rs11.35 billion to the PS.
"This was our very long outstanding issue with
five banks and this had been resolved as we agreed to pay back the
loan at a fluctuating rate of interest rather than fixed 11 per cent
or treasury bills rates, which ever was low", he said.
Commerce demands dues before merger
The commerce ministry has asked the Economic
Coordination Committee (ECC) to advise the federal government to pay
it Rs100.77 million outstanding against the agriculture ministry on
account of demurrage charges, before the merger of Cotton Export
Corporation (CEC) and Rice Export Corporation (RECP) into the Trading
Corporation of Pakistan (TCP).
The commerce ministry in a summary submitted to the
ECC has pointed out that the immediate payment of this outstanding
amount was needed on emergency basis to clear the financial
liabilities and debt of these commercial corporations.
The ministry has further pointed out that it has
decided to seek the ECC intervention in its attempt to get the payment
from the Minfal as it has left with no option after the concerned
ministry's refusal to pay the dues.
Railways plan to increase fares
The railway authorities are planning to increase
fares of air-conditioned and first class railway travel to offset the
financial impact of the recent increase in central excise duty.
This was stated by federal communications and
railways minister, Lt-Gen Javed Ashraf Qazi (retired) while talking to
reporters at Pakistan Railways Headquarters on Tuesday.
"Increase in railway fares will be inevitable
even if the POL prices are revised downwards in the next quarterly
adjustment," he said. In order to save the poor from the
financial crunch of the new increase, it is proposed that only
air-conditioned and upper class railway passengers will be made to
bear the additional burden while the fare structure for the economy
class passengers will remain at the existing level, he said.
Saudis keen on joint ventures
Saudi investors and leading business magnates have
shown interest in setting up cooperative ventures and investments in
several industrial sectors in Pakistan.
These includes cement, chemical fertilizers,
industrial fibre, paper products, chemicals and petro chemicals,
electronics, agro industries, ship building, petroleum and gas
Hubco shows profit
Board of Directors of Hub Power Company (Hubco) on
Wednesday announced net profit amounting to Rs4.325 billion for the
July-December 2000 period, which reflected 48 per cent improvement
over Rs2.916 billion, earned in the corresponding period of the
Cut in expenses
The chief executive, Gen Pervez Musharraf, has
approved 25 per cent cut in the rental expenses of Pakistan missions
abroad besides bringing down the number of officials in these missions
to 1404. The education subsidy has also been withdrawn for school
going children of diplomats serving in additional eight missions to
save unnecessary costs. The government is also reviewing all the
properties abroad to be sold.