Morning Buzz for March 18, 2014 – MR Securities

Karachi, March 18, 2014 (PPI-OT): SBP blocks sale of Meezan Bank stake: Kuwait’s Noor

According to MR Securities,

Kuwait’s Noor Financial Investment Co said the proposed sale of its stake in Karachi-based Meezan Bank had been blocked by State Bank, which felt the prospective buyer had not met its standards for suitability. Ownership of Meezan Bank, Pakistan’s first and largest full-fledged Islamic lender, may be a sensitive issue for regulators as they seek to develop Islamic banking in the country.

IMF tranche to help reserves touch $10 billion mark
The IMF’s Executive Board is scheduled to meet on March 24, in Washington DC to consider the approval of its third tranche worth $545 million to Pakistan, potentially paving the way for the country to pierce the psychological barrier of $10 billion by the end of March, official sources said on Monday.

Economy recovering at a great pace: Wathra
Ashraf Mahmood Wathra, Acting Governor, State Bank of Pakistan has said that Pakistani economy is recovering with a great pace and once again MR Securities’ foreign reserves have reached to a sound level which gives confidence to business community and general public.

Rising confidence: Shift in investment portfolio to boost banks’ earnings
It seems that the banking sector of Pakistan has just received yet another lease on life in the shape of the latest monetary policy announcement that kept the key interest rate unchanged at 10%. Banking stocks soared in the first trading session of the week, contrary to the selling spree that analysts expected in the case of the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) deciding to lower the key interest rate.

Transfer of Rs 65 billion: MOF asked to explain legality
The Supreme Court on Monday directed the Ministry of Finance to clarify and explain the legality of moving Rs 65 billion lying under Universal Services Fund (USF) with commercial banks to Federal Consolidated Fund (FCF). The Attorney General for Pakistan (AGP) Salman Aslam Butt was directed to ensure the presence of a fully conversant functionary of the Ministry of Finance in Court on March 18 for assistance.

BankIslami posts Rs 185.272 million profit after tax in CY13
BankIslami Pakistan Limited has posted Rs 185.272 million profit after tax for the year ended December 31, 2013 as compared to Rs 306 million in CY12. The Bank’s earnings per share declined to Rs 0.3509 in CY13 against Rs 0.5809 in CY12, while profit before tax stood at Rs 308.152 million at the end of CY13 down from Rs 463 million of the previous year.

HBL launches Internet Acquiring in partnership with Visa’s CyberSource
HBL, Pakistan’s largest bank, has launched Internet Acquiring in partnership with Visa Inc’s CyberSource. This new service will allow e-commerce businesses to accept payments online through Visa and other scheme credit and debit cards.

‘Mystery’ over $1.5bn inflow unravelled: it is Saudi ‘gift’, has no strings attached: Sartaj
Advisor to the Prime Minister on National Security and Foreign Affairs Sartaj Aziz Monday told a parliamentary panel that the recent foreign inflow of $1.5 billion was actually an unconditional gift from Saudi Arabia which was deposited in the Friends of Democratic Pakistan (FODP) account.

Sharp boost in reserves is credit positive: Moody’s
The Pakistan (Caa1 negative) central bank last Friday announced that the country’s total liquid foreign exchange reserves had risen to $9.4 billion as of 7 March, from $7.6 billion a month earlier. Given the decrease in reserves last year, this sharp turnaround is credit positive and signals improving external liquidity, reducing looming repayment risks.

Goods and services: FBR may allow retrospective cross adjustment of ST
The Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) is likely to allow retrospective cross adjustment of sales tax on goods and services levied by the federal and provincial governments, respectively, from July 1, 2014.

Dasu Hydel Project: World Bank ‘expected’ to approve assistance for dam
World Bank (WB) Country Director, Rachid Benmessaoud on Monday said that the international lender is expected to approve assistance for Dasu Hydel Power Project. The director called on Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and discussed issues related to the World Bank’s assistance to Pakistan.

660 megawatts coal power plant: PPIB to ink MoU with Chinese company today
Private Power Infrastructure Board (PPIB) and Chinese company Gehzuoba is to ink a pact today for the setting up of four 660 MW coal-fired power plants at Gaddani with an investment of $3.5 billion.

Amendment bill likely: CNG outlets to pay nine percent ‘value addition tax’
The government may introduce ‘Finance Amendment Ordinance 2014′ or ‘Finance Amendment Bill 2014′ to impose 26% sales tax (17% existing standard sales tax and 9% value addition tax) on CNG stations.

Coal exploration development Punjab, Chinese firm sign MOU
A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Punjab government and Chinese Machinery Engineering Corporation (CMEC), here on Monday.

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