Sep 09 - 15, 2002









The Consortium of Abu Dhabi & Bestway Group on Thursday succeeded in acquiring majority shares of the United Bank Limited (UBL) by increasing their bid from Rs12.3 billion to Rs12.35 billion.
The consortium will now be issued Letter of Acceptance by the Privatization Commission (PC)


within 24 hours to take over 51 per cent shares of the UBL along with transfer of management.

The representatives of all the three pre-qualified bidders were present on the occasion. However, only Abu Dhabi group took part in the fresh bidding, and increased its bid to Rs12.35 billion.

The Muslim Commercial Bank (MCB) group, which was the highest bidder in the previous bidding by giving a Rs 12 billion bid, did not opt for the fresh bidding.

When asked by the Minister for Privatization, Altaf M. Saleem and other officials of the Privatization Commission to take part in the bidding, the representatives of the MCB group said that they were here only as an observer and have no plan to take part in the fresh bidding.

"We have given in writing our point of view to the PC and we are sticking to it," said Ali Munir of MCB group.

As soon as the Abu Dhabi group gave in writing its final bid of Rs12.35 billion it was declared a winner. The bidding started with a floor price of Rs12.3 billion in which the minimum jump was Rs50 million to increase the bid.

"The UBL goes to Abu Dhabi and Bestway group," announced Director General Banks and Transactions of the PC, Abdul Hafeez Mirza who conducted the bidding process. The bidding ceremony was attended by a large number of businessmen, bankers and the representatives of print and electronic media.


The $1 billion debt write-off, increased budgetary support and the supply of military equipment, including spare parts for F-16 aircraft, will be the main topics of discussions between Pakistan and America during President Gen Pervez Musharraf's visit to the United States.

Official sources said on Wednesday that the president would fly from Lahore on Sept 7 on a regular PIA flight to New York and return to Islamabad on Sept 12.

The issue of the writing off of $1 billion US debt, out of a total of $3.2 billion loan, will be settled during the president's visit. The Bush administration has included the removal of $1 billion debt in the 2002-03 budget, usually called as "03".


The Oil Companies Advisory Committee (OCAC) on Saturday increased the prices of all petroleum products by 1.02 per cent to 5.48 per cent. The new prices will be effective from September 1-15, 2002.

The price of petrol (MS 87 RON) has been increased by 1.12 per cent to Rs34.32 per litre from Rs33.94, while the price of High Octane Blending Component (HOBC) has been raised to 38.79 per litre from Rs38.40, up by 1.02 per cent.

Kerosene oil will now be available at Rs18.41 per litre from Rs17.60, showing a rise of 4.60 per cent.

Light diesel oil (LDO) prices have been increased by 4.26 per cent to Rs16.65 per litre from Rs15.97. JP-4 and JP-1 prices have been raised to Rs16.64 and Rs13.27 per litre from Rs16.10 and Rs12.58 per litre.

Three leading oil marketing companies (OMCs) have increased the prices of high speed diesel (HSD) by 2 to 4.35 per cent. It was the first revision by the OMCs after deregulation from September 1.


The banking system on Thursday resorted to Rs9 billion discounting from the State Bank discount window to overcome liquidity shortage.

Discounting means overnight borrowing from the SBP against the approved government securities at a fixed rate currently at 9 per cent.

Senior bankers said the banks went short of liquidity after an outflow of Rs17 billion on settlement of the treasury bills auction conducted on Wednesday. The SBP had squeezed Rs17 billion out of a not-so-liquid inter-bank market through sale of six- month T-bills against the target of Rs6 billion: the target was set at Rs6 billion as the market was supposed to get the same amount of inflow.


The State Bank on Wednesday bought $12-$15 million from some local and foreign banks through its newly set up swap desk.

No senior SBP official was available to say anything about the operations of the swap desk but several senior bankers said the central bank bought $12-$14 million from banks for one month. One banker estimated the buying at $14-$18 million.


The governor, State Bank, Dr Ishrat Hussain said on Monday that the State Bank is evolving dollar-financing mechanism, under which more dollar funds at cheaper cost will be made available with scheduled banks for providing to importers and exporters.

Addressing Aptma members at a luncheon meeting, the governor said at when the government is looking for safe avenues to make dollar financing out of its huge reserves it would be most appropriate that larger funds under dollar financing are made available for external trade.

Presently, he said banks are short of dollar funds because a minimum of 20 per cent could be kept for maintaining dollar accounts with banks.


Central Depository Company (CDC) could earn after-tax profit of Rs25 million for the latest fiscal year, after the (gestation period) losses of the previous four years, chief executive officer of the company, Mohammad Hanif Jakhura told a press conference on Tuesday.