United Bank Limited has once again been declared the “Best Domestic Bank” of Pakistan for 2012, by Asiamoney Magazinein its latest edition, says a Press release.
UBL leads in the industry by being involved in about 75% of private sector investment banking transactions in Pakistan in 2011.
This prestigious annual award recognizes the best domestic bank which stands out based on its outstanding performance and distinctive initiatives. This year they have adjudged UBL as winner in the “Domestic Bank” category as the bank which has shown the most initiative. According to the magazine, UBL has stood out for its focus on developing non-interest income to diversify its revenue sources.
Leading the Branchless Banking Sector
The bank’s strong focus on its branchless banking product, UBL Omni, has been widely appreciated in terms of taking banking to the next level and also positioned the bank well in the “Government to People” program space.
Asiamoney also states that UBL has also matured to become the largest investment bank in Pakistan.
The bank leads in the industry by being involved in about 75% of private sector investment banking transactions in Pakistan in 2011.
This award adds to UBL’s list of recent prominent international accolades for UBL Omni, which include the “GSMA Global Mobile Award 2012” for best use of Mobile in Emergency or Humanitarian Situations, and the “Financial Insights Innovation Award” for innovation in Cash Disbursements in February 2012.
Furthermore, the bank has been awarded by Asiamoney previously also in the categories of “Best Domestic Provider of FX Services” and “Best for Innovative FX Products and Structured Ideas”.
Cash withdrawals, till now, for mobile accounts were possible through retailers only. UBL Omni has taken the mobile banking services to next level by introducing “No Name ATM cards” for its Omni Account holders.
These No Name ATM cards are currently available for Level Zero accounts. UBL has said that the idea of launching this card is to bring maximum facility for Omni Account Holders.
With No Name ATM Visa Debit cards, Omni account holders will be able to withdraw cash from ATMs, pay bills at ATMs, transfer funds, Payments to Merchants through ATM Machine, 1-Link, POS Machines.
In other words, customers can now enjoy the luxury of regular bank account with their mobile Omni accounts.
Internet shopping is currently not available with Omni ATM cards.
With introduction of ATM cards for Omni account holders, UBL is aiming to minimize the operational cost involved in manual transactions.
How to Get Omni ATM Cards?
We are told that the process for getting this card is very simple. All you need to do is to go to a Omni Shop, and ask for No Name ATM Card. Retailor will instantly give out a card to you after filling a registration form.
Customers will have to call Omni Helpline (111-825-777) to get the PIN and card activated, just like we do with other debit/credit cards.
Following particulars are required at the time of opening of the account:
- Original CNIC
- Yearly Service Charges: Rs. 150/-
- Mobile Phone/Number
For more details call helpline or visit your nearest Omni Shop.
Demergers of successful conglomerates are normally lead by the imbalance between the role as a Parent (strategic management and planning) and somewhat mindless diversification, ICI Pakistan Limited being an example.
The information on the company’s website hints at it as it cites that the non-paint businesses of ICI Pakistan Limited are not aligned with AzkoNobel’s future strategic ambitions.
In the pretext of such restructurings, it would be interesting, if at some point the Regulator (Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan) decides that it would monitor or intervene in the diversification initiatives in case of listed companies.
Internationally ICI faced more or less the same problem that lead to a demerger resulting in ICI and Zeneca and each of the two companies are doing far better than before owing to better strategic planning, so was it internationally flawed strategy?
ICI Pakistan Limited disclosed its plan to restructure in a press release dated 12 May 2012:
“The Board of Directors of ICI Pakistan Limited today decided that ICI Pakistan should be divided into two entities, both of which will be listed on the Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad Stock Exchanges. One such entity will be AkzoNobel Pakistan Limited (comprising the Paints Business) and the other will be ICI Pakistan Limited (retaining all other businesses of ICI Pakistan).
The Board of Directors has also decided that the separation of the Paints Business should be achieved through a demerger, sanctioned by the Court, and that this should be on the basis of the financial statements of the Company as at 30 June 2011.
The demerger is contingent upon approval by the shareholders, regulators and the High Court of Sind.”
AkzoNobel informed the Board of ICI Pakistan Limited that it has conducted a strategic review of its businesses in Pakistan and concluded that ICI Pakistan’s Paints Business offers clear commercial benefits for AkzoNobel and has sufficient opportunity to create value within its transformed portfolio and future strategic ambitions.
AkzoNobel further informed the Board that while the remainder of the ICI Pakistan portfolio (four major businesses including Polyester, Soda Ash, Life Sciences and Chemicals ) is made up of robust and promising businesses with a strong and professional management team, they are not aligned with AkzoNobel’s transformed portfolio and future strategic ambitions.
At times when the organizations are excessively lead by competition, the corporate units either suffer if lead by the obsolete and crippling strategies or they grow because they are on their own, once they have been given the enabling and capable management.
Outright divestment is not always the only answer, when the diversification has been based on linkages between different businesses that add value, the company has a clear vision that comes with a capable management and when corporate upheaval, short term pressures do not guide the decisions.
Currently Akzo Nobel has stake of 75 percent in the parent company of ICI Pakistan and it would divest its holding in ICI Pakistan to prospective buyers. According to the scheme, the share capital, capital and revenue reserves, inappropriate profits and losses are to be split between the non-paints and paints businesses on the basis of split ratio of 66.5:33.5 respectively, based on net asset share valuation method.
Among the interested Corporate Giants for the controlling interest in ICI Pakistan Limited, are Nishat Mills Limited, Lucky Brothers Group (also known as Lucky Cement) and Fajr Capital.
The Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan SECP has issued detailed requirements and procedures for convening meeting of the unit holders of open end and closed end mutual funds in order to strengthen mutual fund governance but during this development – it now allows more power to unit holders to make or break decision at mutual funds.
The only Hurdle Left is to Educate these Empowered Unit Holders
A statement issued here by the Commission said that this was in pursuance to the concept of unit holders’ meeting introduced by the (SECP) through amendment to the regulatory framework for mutual funds industry. In terms of the procedure introduced, an Asset Management Company (AMC) managing the mutual fund is responsible for conducting and chairing the meeting.
The AMC is required to publish notice of the meeting through newspaper at least seven days prior to the date of such meeting. The trustee of the mutual fund is required to attend every meeting of unit holders and is responsible to ensure that all regulatory requirements are complied with.
Unit holders of a mutual fund have been given the right to either cast their vote on a resolution by physical presence in the meeting, through proxy or by post. Introduction of the detailed procedure for convening the unit holders meeting is expected to strengthen the unit holders’ right to vote on important matters concerning mutual funds and is considered an important step forward for a more conducive regulatory framework to fuel growth of the mutual funds industry.
According to a public release, PEPCO carried out supply contract of 20 million Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFL) on cost insurance and place of destination (CIP) under the “National CFL Project – Prime Minister Energy Saver Programme” with Philips Electrical Industries of Pakistan. The total cost of this project (20 million CFLs) is Rs 280 Crore and is being funded by Asian Development Bank and AFD of France.
The contract between Philips Pakistan and PEPCO was signed by Khalid Hussain Rai of PEPCO and Philips Chairman and CEO Asad.S Jaffer at Wapda House.
PEPCO spokesman said the project started on the directive of Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani duly approved from Cabinet as well as ECNEC.
Under the contract the first consignment of CFLs (energy savers) will be delivered to 36 warehouses all over the country within 12 weeks and free distribution of energy savers to consumers will start soon after the delivery. Ministry of Water and Power will carry out overall project management and PEPCO will act as project coordinator whereas DISCOs and KESC will act as executors, he added.
Features of Contract
Dilating upon the features of the contract, the spokesman said that the cost of per energy saver was Rs140 including the cost of insurance, freight charges to final destination, cost of containers along with inland transportation and port handling charges.
The life of CFL is 10,000 hours with two years warranty whereas the market price of Philips CFL is Rs189 with life of 8,000 hours and one year warranty only. The difference of price will save a substantial amount of Rs 98 Crore, according to the spokesman.
It is said: “The project will help in reducing peak demand over 1000MW, an amount $1.84 billion will be saved while avoiding overall generation of 1600MW. The project will yield Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) thus revenue of about $ 32 million will be returned by 2018.
It will also help in reducing consumers bill Rs300 per bulb per annum. The electricity saved can be sold to higher tariff consumers generating additional revenue of approximately $ 29 million per year for DISCOs.”
Atlas Honda, which has been the market leader in the motorcycle industry for more than last 10 years, is now planning to show the strength of its financial muscles and take on bigger targets in coming years.
Atlas Honda has announced to increase its production capacity to 1 Million units per annum. “The enabling environment provided by the government was instrumental in the phenomenal growth of this sector even during the periods of economic recession”, said Atlas CEO.
It would be interesting to note that almost 70% of all motorcycles sold in Pakistan are made my Atlas Honda.
Atlas Honda Chief Executive Officer Saquib Shirazi, who is an alumni of Harvard Business School, on inaugural of new production facility, announced to invest a massive Rs 475 Crore ($50 Million) in coming years.
“Our exports are expected to double to around 20,000 units this year, while we are hopeful to achieve our export target of 100,000 units in next three to five years,” Atlas CEO added.
The primary market for locally manufactured motorcycles is Afghanistan and Bangladesh while other markets on the radar are Iran, Central Asia and Africa.
The Love Story between FBR and Atlas Honda
Interestingly, the new production plant was inaugurated by Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) Chairman Mumtaz Haider Rizvi.
“I’m looking forward to Atlas Honda’s next landmark of achieving production and sales targets of 1 million motorcycles a year, as it will be a direct support to achieve FBR’s revenue collection targets. The motorcycle manufacturer paid Rs41 Crore in the form of taxes in 2011. FBR regards Atlas Honda as one of the role models among the Pakistani tax paying organizations, said FBR Chairman Rizvi.
Mumtaz Haider Rizvi also said that the government will support the manufacturers through prudent policies and encourage them to enhance the capacity and transfers of technology which will not only benefit local consumers but also increase exports of “Made in Pakistan” motorcycles.
Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) will inject Rs 37.5 Crore additional into its subsidiary Ufone as part of operational expansion plans by next year.
The unsecured loan is the part of Rs 1,100 Crore overall cash injection by the parents company under subordinated debt agreements.
Accordingly, the loans are recoverable in eight equal quarterly installments commencing after a grace period of 3 to 4 years maturing latest by February 2016 and carrying mark-up at the rate of three months KIBOR plus 82 to 180 basis points (June 30, 2011: KIBOR plus 82 to 180 basis points).
The company earlier lent Rs 1,062 Crore to Ufone for expanding its countrywide operations in different areas including network infrastructure, technical advancement and marketing.
An official of Ufone said that the company is working out extraordinary expansion and services improvement plan, which includes development of 3G infrastructure and acquisition of Rozgar Microfinance Bank.
Besides, there are technology advancement program of the network for providing various new services to customers, he added.
Ufone has posted 7 percent growth in third quarter of current financial year 2011-12 that constituted its earning of nearly Rs 16 billion with profit of Rs 140 Crore.
Overall, PTCL Group earned revenues of Rs 8,300 Crore which were 8 percent higher compared to same period last year. Its net profit after tax remained at Rs. 700 Crore during the same period depicting a decrease of 11 percent over corresponding period last year.
KASB Securities Ltd, Pakistan’s leading brokerage firm, has been ranked the ‘Best Domestic Equities House’ in Pakistan by AsiaMoney, continuing its stronghold on Pakistan’s equity markets related polls and awards, says a Press release.
The latest recognition follows KASB Securities’ recent dominance of the AsiaMoney Polls, where KASB secured the top spot in all seven of the research sub-categories as well as winning best sales and best execution.
Closer to home, KASB Securities was rated as Pakistan’s Best Equity House by CFA Association of Pakistan for the third year running in a poll of domestic institutional clients during the ‘CFA Excellence Awards’ held in mid 2011, while KASB’s analysts extended their hold on the Best Analyst Award to 6 years.
The recognition both at home and abroad consolidates KASB’s positioning as Pakistan’s leading capital markets franchise and is an appreciation of the company’s focus on providing clients with exceptional service and value-added investment recommendations and research.
Citi Pakistan has successfully concluded the arrangement of Rs 660 Crore ($70 million) in Term Financing for Pakistan Mobile Communications Limited (Mobilink), the largest cellular company in Pakistan by subscriber base and the market leader in the telecom industry, says a Press releaese.
The OPIC-backed facility is part of a recent global risk participation agreement between Citibank and OPIC, through which Citi can extend financing to private enterprises in emerging markets including Pakistan.
This loan to Mobilink represents the first such deal under the global Citi-OPIC agreement and highlights the potential for similar loans to be disbursed to other private sector corporate clients of Citi in Pakistan, under the Citi-OPIC global agreement.
For the $30million in foreign funding, CitiBank was able to leverage its vast international network to generate long term DFI (Direct Foreign Investment) interest in Pakistani private sector credit. This is particularly significant at a time when the global climate remains volatile and emerging market appetite continues to wane.
George Bernard Shaw once said, “When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty.”
Let’s refer this to our Board of State Bank and their monetary policy. Only in this case – they are not ashamed.
State Bank's New Policy is: Less Policy & More Commentary
“The economy basically needs fundamental reforms to engineer a turnaround in its performance,” the SBP said on Friday in its monetary policy statement, which is released after every two months.
The size of the external current account deficit for FY13 as percent of GDP is projected to be approximately the same as in FY12. ‘However, due to anticipated rise in debt payments in FY13, the economy would need substantial external inflows to preserve our foreign exchange reserves.
Suffering Private Sector and Inflationary Pressures
‘While managing the external and fiscal pressures remain more of an immediate concern, the real challenge lies in reviving private investment in the economy.
Inflationary pressures have not subsided either despite sluggish GDP growth.
At the same time, the scheduled banks continue to avoid extending credit to private businesses, which are already suffering from energy shortages.
Fiscal authority, on the other hand, is accumulating short term domestic debt at a rapid pace. The impact of SBP’s monetary policy, in these circumstances, is less effective.
Dollar’s strength and oil prices
The US dollar, being a safe haven for investors, has strengthened significantly in the past few weeks against almost all currencies, especially the euro, and Pakistani rupee is no exception.
On the other hand, appreciation of the US dollar in international markets is probably one explanation why oil prices have eased somewhat, dropping from a peak of $130 per barrel (Saudi Arabian light crude) on April 3 to $97 per barrel on June 1.
“This, together with expected global slowdown, may keep oil prices softer compared to earlier projections. Given that almost one-third of Pakistan’s total import bill comprises oil payments, this would be a positive development,” the SBP commented.
Citing an example, it said that keeping in view the current quantum of crude and petroleum product imports at 21 million tons, a decline of $5 per barrel in international oil prices could save up to $700 million (Almost Rs 70 Billion) in import payments in 2013.