Sep 19 - 25, 2005

 

FIRST HABIB BANK MODARABNA DECLARES FINAL PROFIT DISTRIBUTION

The Board of Directors of Habib Bank Financial Services (Pvt.) Limited (HBFS), (The management company of First Habib Bank Modaraba (FHBM)), in its meeting held on 3rd September, has approved and declared a Final Profit Distribution of Rs. 1.30, i.e. 13% per Modaraba Certificate for the year ended 30th June, 2005.
During the year new leases of Rs. 640 million were written and the lease disbursements posted a record 53% growth over last year. Lease rentals have shown a robust 75% growth over 2004 and net lease income increased by 38% during the period under review. FHBM now has a stable income stream backed up by quality earning assets. However, profit for the year was lower because last year it included major contributions from the non-recurring items, i.e. capital gains and dividend.

HBL'S PROFIT REACHES RS3.3BILLION

President Habib Limited, Zakir Mahmood, has stated that the HBL has earned after-tax profit of Rs3.3 billion during the first half of the current year (2005) which was double that of the corresponding period in the previous year.

He was speaking at a special ceremony hosted in his honour by the Jang Group and Geo Television to award him the title of Kamyab Pakistan. This is the third such title that has been awarded. The first was awarded to Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz and the second to the Chairperson of Unilever Pakistan, Ms. Musharraf Hai.

The award was given to Zakir Mahmood in recognition of his services as a banker in turning around a loss making bank into one that is both vibrant and profitable today. Habib Bank is Pakistan's largest private sector bank.

The HBL President started the proceedings by giving an account of the history of Habib Bank and how it has fared over the years. He said that Habib Bank was the oldest bank in Pakistan which was started in 1941 in Bombay (now Mumbai). On the request of the Quaid-e-Azim, who also had an account with HBL, the Habib family shifted operations to Karachi following the creation of Pakistan to support trade and commerce in the new state.

SBP GOVERNOR VISITS MEEZAN BANK HEAD OFFICE

Islamic Banking in Pakistan has a very bright future as the systems developed by the State Bank of Pakistan through its Shariah Board and Islamic Banking Division (IBD) will fully support this important area of banking. This was stated by Dr. Ishrat Hussain, Governor State Bank of Pakistan, while addressing the management team of Meezan Bank Limited headed by its President Irfan Siddiqui. The meeting was held at the head office of the bank where a detailed presentation on the activities of the Bank was given by Ariful Islam, Chief Operating Officer of Meezan Bank.

Besides, Dr. Imran Usmani, Shariah Advisor of Meezan Bank, also explained the working of the Product Development and Shariah Compliance Department and highlighted the extensive range of products developed by the Bank under the guidance of the Shariah Supervisory Board of the Bank. Istaqbal Mehdi, Managing Director of Pak Kuwait, who is also a Director on the board of Meezan Bank, was also present on the occasion.

ARIF HABIB INVESTMENT

Pakistan International Element Islamic Fund (PIEIF), the proposed Shariah Compliant Fund to be launched by Arif Habib Investments, is the first mutual fund to receive a specific permission for investing overseas. According to a SBP Circular dated August 12, 2005, locally established mutual funds will be allowed to invest abroad, subject to prior approval by the Central Bank. As per the circular the Shariah Compliant Fund will be allowed to invest a maximum of 30% of the fund's size but upto $15 million (about Rs. 900 million) in overseas assets. The proposed fund is awaiting final approval from the Securities & Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP).

The proposed fund is expected to be the third Shariah compliant mutual fund in Pakistan after Meezan Islamic Fund and UTP Islamic Fund. Arif Habib Investments sought permission to invest overseas to create new opportunities and the capability to diversify and improve the risk profile for the fund's investors. The new fund will provide investors of all sizes an opportunity to invest in a much needed Shariah compliant savings product. The permission may also provide investors access to new types of Shariah compliant products which are not available in Pakistan. The fixed income Sukuk Bonds being one example. The company foreseeing limited supply of Shariah compliant assets had waited for permission for overseas investments.

PAKTEL GSM LAUNCHES MOBILE MANNERS CAMPAIGN

Responding to the growing need in society for inculcating good anners in the use of cellular phones, Paktel GSM has launched a unique and creative media campaign to raise awareness of this issue. The multimedia campaign launched by Pakistan's most innovative cellular service provider focuses on every day situations and delivers effective community interest messages regarding mobile phone usage in public.

Explaining the idea behind the campaign, Akbar Khan, National Manager Marketing , Paktel GSM, said that mobile phone usage is relatively a new social phenomena altogether and therefore there are no established customs or niceties in the use of mobile phones in public. As such we now commonly see situations every day where someone's mobile phone usage is an inconvenience or even a nuisance for others. "Paktel is very sensitive to its business environment and as Pakistan's pioneering cellular company we felt it was up to us to run this public service campaign for the benefit of all," he added,

Speaking on the occasion, Anas Ali Khan, Brand Manager of Paktel GSM, remarked: "As a socially responslble company, we want to give something back to the community through this campaign. It is for everyone, irrespective of which network a person is on. In addition this campaign is our way of giving back something to our industry too," he added.

UNION BANK DECLARES HALF-YEARLY RESULTS

Union Bank Limited has announced its six-monthly results for the period ending June 30, 2005. Union Bank's spreads have kept a healthy trend as a result of high yielding consumer assets.

Profit before tax aggregated Rs. 1,282 million, a healthy increase of 120 percent over the same period last year.

Profit after tax amounted to Rs. 800 million, as compared to Rs. 358 million, over the corresponding period.

Focus on the core banking business of interest income has resulted in an increase of 60 percent on gross revenue at Rs. 4,356 million, compared to Rs. 2,718 last year.

When compared to June 30, 2004, deposits grew by 17 percent whereas advances recorded a growth of 24 percent.

Equity has registered an increase of 49 percent, crossing Rs. 4,118 million, as against Rs. 2,758 million last year.

Total assets stand at Rs. 87,939 million, as compared to Rs. 78,368 million last year, registering a growth of 12 percent. Half-yearly earnings per share is Rs. 3.30 as against Rs. 1.49, with a growth rate of 121 percent.

Union Bank has firmly established itself as one of the premier financial institutions in Pakistan, offering a wide array of financial products under one roof. These products range from saving/current accounts such as Mahana Izaafa and Business Account, to financing facilities, such as Business Power, UniCar, My Home and Ready Cash, to the world's most respected American Express credit and charge cards. Union Bank has also a separate SME Banking Group, serving the specific needs of the SME segment.

The Pakistan Credit Rating Agency (PACRA) upgraded Union Bank's long term rating to AA- (Double A Minus) and short term rating to A1+ (A One Plus).

RECYCLING CAMPAIGN GATHERS SPEED

The only countrywide recycling campaign, Proud Pakistanis Recycle, entered a new phase last week as it offers gold coins through the collection of empty beverage cartons in DHA, Karachi. The campaign which aims to create recycling awareness among the public was recently launched in Karachi by Tetra Pak in association with DHA and NJC Waste Management Systems. The public can deposit those empty beverage cartons at any of the three Redemption Centres in DHA Karachi market areas. Anybody who brings 10 empty Tetra Pak cartons to the Redemption Centre will be given a lucky draw coupon. A draw will be held at the end of each month for the next three months, with the lucky winners being awarded gold coins.

Aptly entitled 'Turn your Cartons into Gold', this redemption scheme aims to involve the public by giving them an opportunity to win gold coins for empty beverage cartons. All the cartons collected during the three-month long scheme will be sent to Packages Ltd for recycling. The Redemption Centres have been set up in very prominent locations in Phase 2 market, 'Khadda' market in Phase 5 and in Tauheed Commercial Market, off 26th Street.

A JOURNEY TO WONDERLAND

"It was an amazing and out of this world experience to learn about other cultures and to get close to nature. It was the best experience of our lives and we will cherish those moments for as long as we live. Thanks to Cathay Pacific, our dreams came true." These were the words of Shahfar and Faizan, two students like any one of us, whose dreams started with an ambition and an essay, which turned into a reality and the adventure of a lifetime.

Shahfar and Faizan, students of South Shore and Karachi Grammar schools respectively, were chosen from the competition of hundreds of students to participate in International Wilderness Program which is held in South Africa annually. This program is organized to create cultural affinity among people and letting people of several nations express and share their cultures with the rest of the world on one platform and to create wilderness among youngster

This program has been whole heartedly supported by Cathay Pacific, ranked best airline of the year for 2005, has helped to let this tradition grow which started way back in 1998.

This was the first time Pakistan became a part of this auspicious event which is another feather in the cap for a nation of more than 14 crore people. Shahfar and Faizan stayed at Kwa Nyathi Tented Camp, part of Entabeni Nature Reserve, a big five wildlife haven in the Limpopo Province of South Africa. Thereafter it was time to really get to know one another with a series of interactive activities and ice-breakers. Incredibly, cultural boundaries seemed to diminish as the day progressed, as all realized that we were a group of like-minded individuals with a common goal, preserving our planet for future generations.

On a lighter, more humorous note, we even realized that we had more in common than initially perceived, like the ability to split our fingers, the procrastination of homework (which seems to be a global tendency), and the fact that seemingly every child in every country has read Harry Potter books!!

For many, strangest thing was the stargazing after dinner. Every single individual was in awe about the vastness of the African sky, the complete lack of light interference, and how different yet similar the stars appeared on the gloomy yet so vibrant sky.

After some problem solving activities, where Edward de Bono's model was discussed, Shahfar and Faizan took part in the stretcher's race. Stretchers were constructed with materials ranging from wood to wire to articles of clothing, and the race was nothing short of hilarious (and rather scary too!). During the Splash Saver Activity delegates were astonished to see just how much water we waste in everyday life, and they all made a renewed commitment to do our part in water conservation.

Shafar and Faizan were then involved in a series of activities which involved cultural mapping which fascinated each and every delegate to its fullest as it gave them the opportunity to explain their cultures and traditions prevailing in their society and it played a significant role especially in Pakistan's case as it gave Shahfar and Faizan the golden opportunity to rectify negative feelings about the country and thus they showed the world the true colors of Pakistan and made Pakistan proud on a global level.

Shahfar and Faizan enacted the most celebrated event in the culture of Pakistan i.e. wedding ceremonies. Delegates were astonished to see the amount of effort people of Pakistan usually put into a marriage and both of the students danced at the rhythmic tunes which make our marriage ceremonies so precious and timeless.

Water auditing was the ecological based study on water to decipher how polluted the water is. They studied both the stagnant and flowing water and spotted various organisms like frog, tadpole for their study. Students also studied plants and animals and tried to figure out their adoption patterns. This study was really intriguing as it helped them to understand the living patterns of every plant and animal.

The interest of the event does not last there as students were also involved in numerous physical activities like arching, trekking, abseiling and canoeing which tested the students at all levels so that they can live their lives to the fullest.

Shahfar and Faizan were most interested in the Safari where they can see wild animals roaming around everywhere and they felt as if they are in the household of wild animals which scared them to eternity. Cheetah conservation was also a part of the deal where students came face to face with a living cheetah and were told the ways and means to conserve them.

This was the experience of the lifetime for the students of Karachi and admitted that these times will be impossible to forget and will remain with them forever.

Shahfar very beautifully signified the importance of the event in these words:

Coming form a busy metropolitan city, one doesn't appreciate the little sounds that make life so special. Although tired after a long journey, I couldn't help but stop, shut my eyes and block out all the extra noise; just hear the wind blowing through the trees... Its like time has stopped just for you to appreciate what you have been too ignorant to notice....You feel lifted, refreshed, small and humbled. I am but a tiny speck in this grand universe, but somehow that realization does not scare me, it makes me appreciate life even more.

This trip was the landmark in Pakistan's history and Shahfar and Faizan are the pioneers by taking Pakistan in the global awareness programs such as the International Wilderness Program. Cathay Pacific took a momentous step in bridging the gap between cultures and should be appreciated and valued immensely for their devotion and dedication to the cause.

A LITTLE ABOUT CATHAY PACIFIC

Cathay Pacific Airways is an international airline registered and based in Hong Kong, offering scheduled cargo and passenger services to over 90 destinations worldwide. Cathay Pacific served 7.4 millions passengers worldwide and earned "Airline of the Year 2005" award in the passenger's poll conducted by UK- based Skytrax Research. Cathay Pacific is also a part of "oneworld", alliance of five airlines, which excels in providing the best service possible for customer satisfaction.