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PTCL seeks to acquire Telenor Pakistan



  • PTCL is interested in buying Telenor with management control.
  • Etisalat to give guarantees for commercial loans.
  • PTCL will possess two subsidiaries operating in Pakistan — Ufone and Telenor — if the deal is done  

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) is ready to unleash its non-binding offer to acquire Telenor Pakistan, which is a cellular and digital services providerThe News reported Tuesday.

The telecommunication company is eyeing to buy Telenor at a possible price range of $800 million to $1.2 billion. 

The PTCL’s board of directors, which gave a nod to acquiring majority shares of Telenor, is interested in buying the cellular company with management control.

Etisalat, the PTCL’s parent company, will give guarantees to raise commercial loans for making this deal done. 

Payment in dollars

Telenor’s management has asked for making payment in US dollars so arrangements will have to be finalised before moving ahead toward a binding offer to accomplish the deal.

Top official sources confirmed to The News on Monday that the PTCL’s interest had been conveyed to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif that they were interested in acquiring the shares of Telenor Pakistan. 

If both parties agree to the non-binding offer, then the PTCL will give its offer to accomplish this transaction, said the sources.

There are some issues that require settlement, as Etisalat has made a request to the government that they will be ready to pay the amount of the deal in dollars outside Pakistan keeping in view the lingering dollar liquidity crunch being experienced in the country.

Outstanding issues

There are some other outstanding issues as well, especially Etisalat has to pay an outstanding amount of $800 million on account of PTCL privatisation which could not solve since 2005-6.

There are outstanding issues of transferring land in the name of Etisalat in different parts of the country. Thirdly the PTCL’s employees’ issues also remain unresolved so all outstanding issues would have to be settled to strike this deal.

If the deal is done, then the PTCL will possess two subsidiaries operating in Pakistan — Ufone and Telenor Pakistan. 

Ufone’s balance sheet does not allow it to acquire another major stakeholder in the market so Etisalat is ready to play its role in finalising this expected deal.

If the binding offer is given by the PTCL, then the Economic Coordination Committee of the cabinet and federal cabinet will have to grant approval because the Government of Pakistan also possesses shares in PTCL.

Dar chairs meeting on telecom sector 

According to an official announcement made by the Ministry of Finance Monday night, Federal Minister for Finance and Revenue Senator Mohammad Ishaq Dar chaired a meeting on the telecom sector.

Federal Minister for IT and Telecommunication Syed Amin Ul Haque, Federal Minister for Law and Justice Senator Azam Nazeer Tarar, Secretary Finance, Secretary Privatisation and Secretary IT & Telecom participated in the meeting.

The meeting discussed the telecom sector in general and PTCL in particular. 

Dar emphasised that the nominee directors of the government on the PTCL board must make active contributions for the best possible performance of the telecommunications company.


November inflation to spike on gas price adjustment, dashing slowdown hopes




  • CPI likely to rise to 28.6-29.6% year-on-year in Nov.
  • Inflation rate could register 2.1% month-on-month jump.
  • Weekly SPI on Nov 16 showed 480% surge in gas prices.

KARACHI: Inflation is expected to surge in November, primarily due to a massive hike in gas prices, according to brokerage reports released on Wednesday.

The consumer price index (CPI), which measures changes in the prices of goods and services, is likely to rise to 28.6-29.6% year-on-year in November, up from 26.9% in October.

A report by brokerage firm Insight Securities predicts that the inflation rate will register a 2.1% month-on-month jump, defying earlier expectations of a gradual slowdown from September onwards. Optimus Capital Management estimates that the CPI will increase by 2.9% month-on-month, primarily driven by an 11.6% jump in the housing index due to gas price revision and a 1.6% increase in the food index.

The primary cause behind the expected spike in November inflation is the adjustment of recently imposed fixed charges within the gas tariff structure. The weekly sensitive price index (SPI) inflation released on November 16 showed an astonishing 480% surge in gas prices.

However, a slight respite is expected from a 4.0% decrease in the transport index due to lower average fuel prices in November. The impact of the gas price hike was partially mitigated by the decline in fuel prices and the month-on-month fall in the food commodity adjustment (FCA).

Food inflation is attributed to a sharp increase in the prices of perishable items such as onions, tomatoes, potatoes, and eggs, as well as tea. Despite an increase in supply from imports, wheat prices still rose month-on-month, while sugar and cooking oil showed a significant decline during this period, based on weekly SPI data from the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics.

The recently implemented axle load regime, which limits the weight of goods transported by trucks, could put some pressure on the price levels of goods.

The higher October fuel cost adjustment (FCA) demanded at Rs3.5 per kilowatt hour (to be applicable in December) on electricity charges and a second-round impact of gas price increase could keep inflation under pressure. However, the base effect during the second half of the fiscal year is likely to help absorb the impact.

Commodity and energy prices, along with the exchange rate of the rupee against the US dollar, will remain important factors in keeping the CPI under control.

The reports projected the average inflation for the first five months of the fiscal year 2023/24 (July-June) to be 28.5%, compared with 25.2% in the same period last year and with an estimated ending at 19.4% year-on-year in June 2024.

They predicted that the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) is likely to maintain the interest rate in its upcoming monetary policy committee (MPC) meeting due to the higher-than-estimated inflation in November. However, the SBP could opt to initiate an easing cycle in the first quarter of 2024, given the high base effect in the second half of the fiscal year.

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Petrol price likely to remain unchanged in next fortnightly review




  • Petrol prices to hold steady in next review.
  • Diesel and kerosene prices to decline from Dec 1.
  • Next fortnightly review due tomorrow (Nov 31).

KARACHI: The prices of petroleum products will not see any major change in the upcoming fortnightly review with diesel and kerosene rates expected to go down slightly, according to the industry calculations.

According to a The News report published Thursday, the ex-refinery and ex-depot prices of petroleum products did not register any major fluctuation as global crude prices eased in recent days.

The ex-depot price of petrol, the most widely used fuel in the country, is slightly higher by Rs0.19 per litre to Rs281.53 per litre compared to the current price of Rs281.34, industry officials said.

The ex-depot price of high speed diesel (HSD), used mainly for transport, has been worked out at Rs290.47 per litre for the next fortnight compared to the existing price of Rs296.71 , showing a decline of Rs6.24 rupees per litre.

The ex-depot price of kerosene, used for cooking and lighting in rural areas, has been worked out at Rs202.16 per litre compared to the current price of Rs204.98, indicating a decrease of Rs2.82 per litre.

The ex-depot price of light speed diesel, another variant of diesel, has been worked out at Rs176.18 per litre for the next review against the present price of Rs180.45, registering a decline of Rs4.27 per litre, the report stated.

According to the industry’s working, the estimated exchange adjustment of petrol is zero whereas it is Rs1.80 per litre for HSD.

However, the industry officials said that the prices of petroleum products can change with the exchange loss as the industry did not put the exchange loss figure in its working for the next review.

The country fixes fuel prices on a fortnightly basis after evaluating fluctuating international energy market costs and the rupee-dollar parity to transfer the impact on domestic consumers.

They said global oil prices remained under pressure during November, falling below $75 a barrel in mid-November.

WTI was trading at $76.5 a barrel on November 29, down by nearly 7% as compared to October 29. Brent was down by 5.4% in the past month, trading at $86.35 a barrel, they added.

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Another day, another high: PSX continues bull run as KSE-100 goes past 61,000 points




KARACHI: The Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) on Wednesday reached another historic high as the bulls continue to dominate the benchmark KSE 100 index with hopes of the State Bank of Pakistan lowering the policy rate in the coming days. 

Benchmark KSE-100 index at 10:09am. — Screengrab/PSX website
Benchmark KSE-100 index at 10:09am. — Screengrab/PSX website

The benchmark index gained 702, or 1.16%, during the intraday trade and stood at 61,433 points at 10:09am. 

Commenting on the bull run, Head of Research at Pakistan-Kuwait Investment, Samiullah Tariq said that the market was reacting positively because it expects an interest rate cut, a quick International Monetary Fund review and strong profitability of companies. 

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