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

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POLICY

July 08 - 14, 2002

ZPL SEEKS OPERATORSHIP OF $3.5BN OIL FIELD

A private petroleum company with an investment share of around $7 million is seeking to acquire the management of a $3.5 billion oil and gas field from state-run OGDCL.

If formalized, this would be the country's first ever "hostile take over" of an oil and gas field by a private firm that would deprive the Oil and Gas Development Company Limited of its operatorship of the field despite a shareholding of over 85 per cent.

Background discussions with the government officials and interview with the president of the private firm, Zaver Petroleum Limited (ZPL), suggest that the take over bid of Shakardara, the first ever and only oil and gas field in the NWFP, is in the advanced stage.

The joint venture partners have so far invested a total of $60 million and the government has approved an investment work plan of another $60 million to start commercial production of the field by next year. A total of over $100 million equivalent investment share is that of the OGDCL.

Shakardara field with estimated oil reserves of around 100 million barrels and gas reserves of around 15 million cubic feet is valued at $3.5 to $4.5 billion at the current international oil price at $25 per barrel.

While the chief executive secretariat is currently engaged in frantic consultations to avoid an ugly situation the company believed "it had to secure its rightful return on investment" what may come.

Acting head of Government Holdings Limited (GHL) and senior joint secretary of the petroleum ministry Mansoor Zubair said he had heard about notice sent by the ZPL to replace OGDCL as operator of the field but could not add anything on that.

OGDCL with 85 per cent shareholding is the operator of the field, followed by ZPL with 10 per cent and five per cent shares are owned by Government Holdings Limited (GHL), a holding company with 100 per cent government holdings.

RE-BIDDING OF UBL SOUGHT

Tessori Trading Company Limited (TTCL) has urged the Privatization Commission to start the process of re-bidding for the privatization of United Bank Ltd (UBL).

In a letter to Privatization Commission Chairman Altaf Saleem on Thursday, TTCL had referred to the media reports on Tuesday in which the State Bank has cleared all the three bidders to acquire 51 per cent shares of the UBL. However, the SBP had advised the Privatization Commission to make efforts for improving the bid price.

"We understand that while clearing all the three bidders, the processing was not favourable to the other bidders as the SBP had to evaluate that the investors would not use depositors' money to buy the share under the rule, which is ignored," the TTCL letter to the Privatization Commission said.

US FIRM GIVES NO GUARANTEES FOR SATELLITE PERFORMANCE

No performance guarantees were being given by the US company Hughes for shifting the defective HGS3 satellite to 38 E orbital slot of Pakistan as PAKSAT 1, said National Telecommunication Corporation (NTC) chairman Air Vice Marshal Azhar Maud, on Thursday.

Briefing the media after approval of PAKSAT 1 by the federal cabinet earlier on Wednesday, he said only advance payment would be insured against any failure of satellite during relocation manoeuvre.

CONSORTIUM'S STAKE IN MSCL OFFERED FOR SALE

A consortium of National Bank of Pakistan, Habib Bank Limited and United Bank Limited said they intend to sell their controlling stake in Metropolitan Steel Corporation Ltd (MSCL) through competitive bids.

TAX TARGET ACHIEVABLE, SAYS SHAUKAT

Minister for Finance Shaukat Aziz on Tuesday said that Rs460 billion revenue collection target, set for 2002-2003, is now achievable after collection of Rs401 billion revenues during the last financial year.

"Had the CBR failed to collect Rs400 billion plus, it would have been difficult to make the revenue projections of Rs460 billion for the current financial year," he added.

TWO LEADING AUDIT FIRMS IN MERGER TALKS

Two of the top six firms of chartered accountants have held merger talks, which if the deal goes through would be the first such institutional merger in Pakistan.

Fordes, Rhodes, Robson, Morrow (FRRM) and Sidat Hyder Qamar & Co., both independent firms of chartered accountants are understood to be pouring over a 'terms sheet', which forms the core of scheme of amalgamation of the two partnership firms.

EOIS FOR JAVEDAN CEMENT INVITED

The Privatization Commission (PC) on Tuesday invited the prospective investors and business houses to submit their Expressions of Interest (EoIs) for acquiring a minimum of 85 per cent shares of Javedan Cement Limited (JCL).

According to an official announcement, JCL is a listed limited company registered under the Companies Ordinance 1913 (now Companies Ordinance 1984). The company is a subsidiary of the State Cement Corporation of Pakistan (Pvt) Limited.

HK-BASED VENTURE TO FINANCE IT PROJECTS

The Pakistan Software Houses Association (PASHA) has signed an agreement with the Hong Kong based venture capital fund, Access Capital. Under the agreement the Access Capital will fund 4.4 billion dollars projects in Pakistan to be identified by PASHA. This was stated by the President of PASHA, Syed Hamza Matin, at a press conference on Tuesday.

ADBP'S RESTRUCTURING PLAN

The Agricultural Development Bank of Pakistan (ADBP) has engaged Tasir Hadi Khalid & Co. to have an in-depth assessment of three completed fiscal years of loans, equity and liquid assets portfolio.