Sep 23 - 29, 2002



Dr. Ishrat Hussain, the Governor, State Bank of Pakistan chaired the 67th Meeting of the Board of Directors of the First Women Bank Ltd. (FWBL) held at its Head office. He expressed his satisfaction over the progress of the bank particularly the financial indicators for the year 2001 and the results achieved todate. While, supporting the bank's business plan and marketing strategy he said that bank should place a greater focus on SME development and at the same time should continue Microcredit and corporate financing. Emphasizing on bank's role for socio-economic growth of women, he stated that the FWBL would not be privatised.

The Governor expressing his views on the bank's business said that SBP will provide full support to increase its equity. The Governor advised that bank should develop a special loan product to support talented female students for professional education. He also advised that the bank should use training facilities of NIBAF, IBP, and stakeholder banks to develop a team of best bankers. He suggested that the bank should prepare documentaries about the Success Stories of prominent women entrepreneur developed by the bank, to highlight the contribution made by the bank in the economy.

Earlier the President of FWBL Zarine Aziz presented the banks performance review of the year 2001 and the business plan for the next three years. She informed that the year 2001 was the year of "Turn-around" for the Bank, significant growth was recorded in all financial activities, despite tight economic conditions and tough market situation demonstrating our commercial viability and our competence to make sustained growth. Deposits almost doubled from Rs. 3.4 billion to Rs. 6.2 billion (growth of 85.3%), Advances enhanced from Rs. 604 million to Rs.833 million (growth of 37.9%) and Net profit before tax increased from Rs. 26 million to Rs. 115 million (reflecting growth of 342%) as against the projections of Rs. 100 million. The bank accomplished highest results in all key components over the last 12 years. Shareholders equity of Rs 110 million as at 31st December 2000 increased to Rs.613 million by August 2002.

Accumulated loss of Rs. 138 million as of 31st December 2000 was reduced to Rs. 58 million as on 31st December 2001 and completely wiped off by June 2002. The Bank was able to earn pre-tax profits of Rs. 81.3 million up to 31st August 2002 against target of Rs. 63 million.

One of the bank's major concern of FWBL was pending tax assessments and major disallowances of Rs.288 Million. This issue has finally been settled by the tax authorities in bank's favour and tax bonds amounting to Rs. 219 million with an average return of 10% were issued on 19th June 2002.

The BOD members who attended the meeting, Mr. Ali Raza President NBP, Mr. Aftab Manzoor President MCB, Mr. Zakir Mahmood President HBL, Mr. Sheikh Mukhtar Vice Chairman MCB, Ms. Suhaila Asif Director General Ministry of Women Development and Mr. Sharyar Ahmad EVP UBL appreciated the management's performance. They approved the bank's strategic directions for economic empowerment of women and the business plan, for the next three years.


Attock Cement Pakistan Limited (ACPL) the manufacturer of famous Falcon brand cement were awarded the ISO-9001:2000 Certificate by Lloyds Register Quality Assurance (LRQA) at a brief ceremony held at Pearl Continental Hotel, Karachi on September 17, 2002. The coveted Certificate was received by Mr. Babar Bashir Nawaz, Chief Executive of ACPL from Mr. Zahid Rahman, LRQA's Country Manager for Pakistan.

ACPL is the first company to achieve Certification on the latest version of ISO-9000 Standards presently in vogue.


First Grindlays Modaraba announced its results for the twelve months ended 30 June 2002 on September 13, 2002. Commenting on the results, Azhar Hamid, Senior Group Representative, Standard Chartered and Chairman Grindlays Services of Pakistan (the management company of First Grindlays Modaraba) said, "We're very pleased with the momentum and quality of our growth. Our results track well with our strong value proposition to our clients, our strategic focus and the outstanding contribution of our motivated and talented people. They reflect strong organic business growth and increasing importance to Standard Chartered's performance."

Results highlights include:

•Operating income up at Rs.1,082 million as compared with Rs.1,000 million last year. •Net profit up at Rs.172 million as compared with Rs.149 million last year. •Operating costs down by 4.5 per cent over last year to Rs.42 million. •Non-performing portfolio reduced from Rs.92.5 million to Rs.73.8 million. •Earning per share at Rs.4.61 as compared to Rs.3.98 last year. •Return on equity at 24.1% as compared to 22.1%.

The results support strong all-round performance with record new business of Rs.1.2 billion, operating income of Rs.1.08 billion and net profit of Rs.172 million. Additionally, FGM announced a 21% increase in its cash dividend's bringing this figure up to 40% as compared to last year's 33%. This is the highest cash dividend paid by FGM since its inception in 1987.

The above performance, together with an efficient asset and liability management process, has resulted in a stronger balance sheet as at June 30, 2002. Net portfolio of assets as at June 30, 2002 was Rs.2.3 billion compared to Rs.2.1 billion last year. Shareholders' equity stood at Rs.695 million. Medium-term funds raised, through a pioneering Islamic instrument Certificates of Musharika (COMs), from general public aggregated Rs.363 million as at June 30, 2002. The growth and success of COMs continues to add strength to the business.

During the year, FGM maintained the highest 'Modaraba Financial Strength' rating of A2 by Pakistan Credit Rating Agency (an affiliate of Fitch Rating Ltd.) which represents 'a Modaraba in outstanding financial condition with a consistent record of above average performance'.


Pakistan State Oil (PSO), the largest oil marketing company in the country, has revised the HSD price by 1.4 per cent instead of the 3.7 per cent increase in the ex-refinery price as notified by the Oil Companies Advisory Committee (OCAC).

The new price of HSD with effect from September 20, 2002, at 29 designated locations/ depots under the deregulated regime will be maximum Rs.19.76 per litre.

Although, there was a substantial increase in international oil prices and ex-refinery price, PSO has made only a marginal increase and passed on the balance to the benefit of consumers. The company has achieved this saving for consumers through efficient import management and reduction in operating costs in line with its corporate objective.


The Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED) and its affiliate, New Jubilee Insurance Company Limited (NJI) will acquire the shareholding of CGU International Insurance plc (CGU), principal shareholder in Commercial Union Life Assurance Company (Pakistan) Limited.

NJI will also acquire CGU's general business, trading in Pakistan under the name of Commercial Union. The transactions will be subject to regulatory approval.


Four operating companies of FedEx Corporation (NYSE:FDX) are recognized for their dedication to exceptional service, reliability and on time performance in the 2002 Quest for Quality survey. FedEx Express, FedEx Ground, FedEx Freight and FedEx Supply Chain Services were chosen as among the best providers in their respective categories by readers of Logistics Management & Distribution Report.

"FedEx Corporation companies are committed to providing the best portfolio of reliable, time-sensitive, innovative and efficient services to businesses of all sizes, "said T. Michael Glenn, executive vice president of market development and corporate communications for FedEx Corp. "The Quest for Quality honors are further validation of true service benefits customers receive from FedEx."


The Pakistan Credit Rating Agency (PACRA) has assigned a long-term rating of "AA" (double A) and short-term rating of "A1+" (A one plus) to Muslim Commercial Bank Limited. These ratings denote a very low expectation of credit risk emanating from the strong capacity for timely payment of financial commitments. The ratings are applicable to the senior unsecured creditors (depositors) of the bank.

The assigned ratings reflect the Bank's continuing policy of maintaining a low risk profile with steady growth through deposit mobilization and improved risk profile of advances by way of enhanced provisioning. Going forward, the bank is well positioned both by virtue of its size and strong technology platform to sustain its outstanding performance despite a difficult operating environment and increasing competition within the banking sector.


The Board of Directors of ABAMCO Limited ("ABAMCO"), an asset management company, managing Unit Trust of Pakistan, UTP-Income Fund and BSJS Balanced Fund Limited met on September 17, 2002 to review the performance of the funds under management and to approve the audited accounts of the Company for the year ended June 30, 2002.

The Board was apprised that the process of dispatch of dividend warrants to unit holders of Unit Trust of Pakistan has commenced after receipt of clarification from the Central Board of Revenue that the portion of dividend paid out of capital gain will not be subject to income tax. The Board of Directors appreciated the efforts of ABAMCO's management in seeking such clarification. Out of the total dividend payment of Rupees 750 per unit (15%), Rupees 134 per unit is payment from capital gains, which will not be subject to income tax.

Mr. Jahangir Siddiqui, Chairman of ABAMCO resigned as a Director and Chairman w.e.f September 17, 2002. Mr. Ali Jehangir Siddiqui who has joined ABAMCO as an Executive Director was appointed as Director in place of Mr. Jahangir Siddiqui. The Board appreciated the services of Mr. Jahangir Siddiqui and welcomed Mr. Ali Jehangir Siddiqui, both as a Director and member of ABAMCO's management team. Mr. M. Habib ur Rehman, who has been the Chief Executive of ABAMCO since its inception was elected as the Chairman of the Company in place of Mr. Jahangir Siddiqui.