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 5. TRADE  6. GULF



Mar 11 - 17, 2002

Sugar companies post bitter results for 2001

The financial figures emanating from sugar companies show that the year ended September 30, 2001 was a bitter year for the industry.

Chashma Sugar Mills reporting loss of Rs61 million for the latest year, in place of a huge profit of Rs224 million earned the year ago. Its sales dipped to Rs712 million from Rs1,182 million.

Kohinoor Sugar Mills, likewise, made a loss of Rs35 million against profit of Rs19 million last year.

Losses at Sindh Abadgar' Sugar Mills increased to Rs22 million from Rs4 million last year and the accumulated losses mounted to Rs24 million.

Sales at Husein Sugar Mills also improved to Rs 575 million, from Rs 645 million, yet the company returned a net loss of Rs 91 million in place of net profit of Rs12 million the earlier year. Thal Industries Corporation Limited Layyah Sugar Mills posted loss of Rs84 million in place of profit of Rs17.4 million earned in 2000. And there are other stunning examples: Dewan Sugar showed an after-tax loss of Rs47 million, replacing after tax profit of Rs37 million the year ago.

Sales at Premier Sugar Mills plummeted to Rs186 million, from year ago sales at Rs630 million and in consequence, the company returned net loss of Rs11 million in place of a huge profit of Rs176 million in 2000.

Frontier Sugar Mills had earned profit of Rs18 million in 2000, but plunged into a loss of about an equal amount with its sales down to Rs91 million, from Rs160 million.

Sales at Crescent Sugar Mills remained about stayed put at around Rs1.3 billion, yet its profit tumbled to Rs6 million, from Rs80 million in 2000.

Shahmurad Sugar even managed to return to an after-tax profit of Rs20 million from loss of Rs15 million the earlier year.

CCoP okays listing of 5pc shares in HBL

The Cabinet Committee on Privatization (CCoP) on Monday approved the listing and Initial Public Offering (IPO) of 5 per cent Government of Pakistan (GoP) shares in Habib Bank Limited (HBL).

The CCOP, which was presided over by Minister for Finance Shaukat Aziz also decided to further off-load 5 per cent shares under "green shoe option" in case there were increased applications like that of National Bank of Pakistan whose 10 per cent shares were eventually sold. The exercise will strengthen the stock exchanges, broad-base the ownership and provide benefit to small investors.

The meeting also gave the go-ahead for disinvesting the remaining 9 per cent shares of the Muslim Commercial Bank (MCB) through Central Depositary Company (CDC).

The National Bank issue was 5.5 times over subscribed i.e. against an issue size of 5 per cent for Rs186.5 million, 27,546 applications had been received for 102 million shares amounting to 1.04 billion.

WAPDA, KESC reduce tariff

The federal government has notified an average reduction of 9 paisa and 13 paisa per unit (kwh) in electricity tariff of WAPDA and KESC respectively.

The reduction in tariff should have come into effect on January 1, 2002 under the automatic fuel adjustment-based determination announced by the National Electric Power Regulatory Authority on Dec 29, 2001.

The gazette notification was, however, delayed for three months to give a windfall benefit to the utilities, particularly WAPDA. The WAPDA kept on resisting its implementation on the grounds that full impact of fuel was not reflected in the tariff revision effectively.

SBP signals stability in monetary policy

The State Bank on Wednesday signalled again that it wants to keep the monetary policy stable by keeping the cut-off yields on treasury bills unchanged.

Top bankers said the central bank wanted to keep the monetary policy stable to avoid speculative attack on the rupee.

The SBP kept the cut-off yields on treasury bills unchanged at 5.81 per cent for three months; at 6.48 per cent for six months and at 7 per cent for one year. This was for the second time that the central bank kept the cut-offs unchanged. Earlier on February 21 the SBP had maintained the cut-offs at the previous levels but it had let the weighted average yield move up by 52-74 basis points.

Dollar falls

The US dollar on Wednesday lost 12 paisa for selling against the rupee in the inter-bank market where it closed at Rs60.08/60.10 against the previous close of Rs60.12/Rs60.17.

Habib Bank

Habib Bank Limited posted pre-tax profit of Rs2.2 billion for the year ended December 31, 2001, reflecting 129 per cent growth over the net earnings of Rs1 billion the year ago.

Banks recover Rs.5.5bn

All commercial banks recovered a little more than Rs5.5 billion worth of defaulted loans of Rs1 million and above in the first half of this fiscal year. Specialized banks and development financial institutions (DFIs) recovered Rs625 million in the same period.

ADB to give loans on soft terms: Shaukat

The Asian Development Bank has accepted Pakistan's request to extend it concessional loans to help improve its economy in a big way.

"I am glad to tell you that the ADB has agreed to extend on concessional terms most of its $1 billion loans lined up for 2002," Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz told. He said he had met the eight-member ADB delegation and discussed with it increased cooperation between the two sides.

SLIC plans investment scheme

The State Life Insurance Corporation (SLIC) is drawing up a scheme of productive and profitable investment of provident funds of the private and government companies. This scheme, according to SLIC sources, will be offered to about 1,200 companies with which the Corporation has group insurance arrangement.