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 1. INTERNATIONAL   2. INDUSTRY
 3. FINANCE  4. POLICY
 5. TRADE  6. GULF

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FINANCE

April 08 - 14, 2002

TOTALFINAELF INTERESTED IN BUYING OGDCL

A prominent French company has shown interest to purchase Oil and Gas Development Company Limited (OGDCL). A delegation of TotalFinaElf, France, led by Senior Vice President Far East Michael Seguin expressed his company interest in the OGDCL, during a meeting with Minister for Privatization Altaf M. Saleem on Tuesday.

The minister while appreciating French company's interest said that the government has provided a level playing field to the parties participating in the privatization process and was ensuring all possible transparency.

He also apprised them about various steps taken by the government to improve investment climate in the country. He assured the delegation of the government's resolve to revive the economy and establish a culture of transparency.

The minister said that regulatory regime had already been established for the Telecom, Power and Oil & Gas industry, which had given boost to the privatization activity in Pakistan. He informed the delegation that most of the targeted privatization plan has attracted the potential local and foreign business groups from all over the world, which was a significant and positive development.

The leader of the delegation Michel Seguin informed the minister that TotalFinaElf being oil & gas exploration and production company was already operating in Pakistan and had been awarded two offshore petroleum concession agreements. He further stated that the company intended to expand its operations in Pakistan and to bring in fresh investments in the petroleum sector.

Meanwhile, the visiting US business delegation led by State Senator Billy A. Mickle also met Major General Parvez Akmal, Managing Director OGDCL on Tuesday and was given a detailed briefing on various aspects of the company's operations and its standing in the domestic as well as International oil and gas sector. The efforts made by OGDCL management towards good corporate governance, introduction of reforms, human resource development and transfer of technology were highlighted.

BIDDING FOR UBL, ICP FUNDS THIS MONTH

The Privatization Commission (PC) plans to hold the bidding for the sale of United Bank Ltd, 12 funds of Investment Corporation of Pakistan and nine oil fields during April.

This was stated by Minister for Privatization Altaf Salim while talking to reporters after opening an audit workshop on Monday.

He said the Commission would advertise for sale up to 10 per cent shares of Habib Bank Ltd to the general public in May. He said no specific percentage of the HBL shares to be privatized had so far been decided, adding between 5-10 per cent stock of the bank might be offered to the general public.

ADB WILL GIVE $1BN THIS YEAR

President Asian Development Bank, Tadao Chino, on Thursday said that the Bank would extend US$1 billion to Pakistan in 2002. The ADB president called on the finance minister, Shaukat Aziz, on Thursday after his visit to Kabul, and appreciated the government's economic reforms.

The two sides discussed the assistance ADB was offering with special emphasis on its plan for new assistance of about US$1 billion in 2002 for financing the development of agriculture, local government, and improvement of governance, and the financial position of the provinces.

The finance minister thanked the ADB president for approving the Access-to-Justice loan of US$350 million.

GOLD HITS NEW PEAK

Gold prices have once again become under pressure after a gap of two months, touching new peaks of the current year to Rs5,958 per 10 grams on Wednesday.

The last highest price of the current year was recorded on February 8, touching to Rs5,868 per 10 grams, from Rs5,615 on February 4 following global price hike to $305 per ounce, from $287.

Gold dealers and jewellers attributed the current increase in domestic gold prices to persistent escalating global rates by over $306 per ounce. Some 12 days back, the international gold price was $292 per ounce.

LONG-TERM FINANCING

Pakistan Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation (PICIC) has sufficient funds to fulfil the requirement of industrialists and businessmen for long-term financing.

This was stated by the Managing Director, PICIC, Mohammad Ali Khoja while addressing the members of Korangi Association of Trade and Industry (KATI) on Wednesday.

STATE BANK MOPS UP RS3.693BN

The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) on Wednesday realized Rs3,693.7950 million with face value of Rs3,850 million through the sale of three-, six, and 12-month Government of Pakistan Market Treasury Bills.

The central bank received bids of Rs11,468.53 million with the face value of Rs11,900 million. For three-month T-bills the bank received bids of Rs2,662.185, which were rejected.

OCAC HOLDS PRICES FIRM EXCEPT JP-4, JP-1

Except for increase in the prices of JP-4 and JP-1 by 4.62 and 6.07 per cent, the Oil Companies Advisory Committee (OCAC) has maintained the prices of other petroleum products.

JP-4 prices have been increased to Rs15.62 per litre, from Rs14.93 and JP-1 prices have been fixed at Rs11.88 per litre, from Rs11.20. The OCAC, in its statement, did not give any reason as to why the prices of petrol, diesel, kerosene, HOBC and light diesel had been kept unchanged despite increase in global oil prices.

BOK POSTS RS163M PROFIT

The provincial public sector Bank of Khyber (BoK) recorded Rs163 million pre-tax profit for the period ended December 31, 2001. The profit recorded by the bank appears to be an improvement after the bank had underwent Rs156 million losses in the year ended December 31, 2000, according to sources.