ECNEC approves 6.8bn dollars for upgradation of Pakistan Railways...

Aug 6, 2020: Executive Committee of the National Economic Council approved project for up-gradation of Pakistan Railways existing Mainline-1 at the cost of over 6.8 billion dollars.

The meeting of the Committee was held in Islamabad on Wednesday with Adviser to Prime Minister on Finance Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh in the chair.

The project will be completed in three packages in which the existing 2,655 KM track will be upgraded.

The speed of passenger trains will increase from 65/110 KM/h to 165 KM/h and line capacity will increase from 34 to 137/171 trains each way per day.

Ministry of Railways will constitute a project steering committee for effective supervision and implementation of the project.

The establishment of a dry port near Havelian was also approved in the meeting.

Radio Pakistan

AKD Securities submits PAI on ARY Communications’ behalf to...

August 6, 2020 (MLN): AKD Securities Limited, on behalf of ARY communications Limited and ARY Digital FZ LLC, has submitted Public Announcement of Intention (PAI) to acquire more than 51% of the Issued and Paid-up Share Capital of WorldCall Telecom Limited together with management control.

Via notification to Exchange, AKD securities has informed that it has been appointed as the Manager to the Offer, in accordance with the provisions of the Act and the Regulations

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UBL’s profitability increases by 17% on higher NII despite...

August 6, 2020 (MLN): United Bank Limited (UBL) has announced its financial results for the 1HCY20 ended June 30, 2020. As per the results, the bank has posted its net profits of Rs 10.72 billion (EPS: Rs 8.94), showing an increase of 17% YoY against net profits of Rs 9.16 billion of the same period last year.

Here, it is pertinent to mention that the earnings per share are largely in line with market expectations.

The profitability of the bank went up primarily due to higher net interest income (NII), up by 31% YoY to Rs 40 billion on the back of a 29.5% YoY increase in bank’s interest income.

During the period under review, the bank’s non-funded income (NFI) declined by 26% YoY due to lower dividend income  (down by 38% YoY) and lower FX income (down by 24% YoY) along with losses from derivatives of Rs 13million.  

However, according to Arif Habib Limited,  capital gains for the bank went up by 177% YoY as the bank most likely booked gains on fixed income securities. Fee income took a major 25% sequential hit owing to the impact of the pandemic on economic activity as well as SBP waivers on digital transactions.

Meanwhile, the bank’s provisioning expenses stood at Rs 9.95 billion, up by 2.7times YoY, most likely on the overseas book as GCC countries are going through a major economic meltdown following the pandemic outbreak, the research revealed.

During 1HCY20, the tax expenses decreased by 13% YoY to Rs 7.52 billion.

 

Consolidated Profit and Loss Account for the Half-year ended on June 30, 2020 (Rupees '000)

 

Jun-20

Jun-19

% Change

Mark-up/return/interest earned

 88,339,565

 68,241,685

29.5%

Mark-up/return/interest expensed

 48,270,433

 37,656,138

28.2%

Net mark-up/return/interest income

 40,069,132

 30,585,547

31.0%

Non mark-up/interest income

 

 

 

Fee, commission, and brokerage income

 6,056,639

 8,099,318

-25.2%

Dividend income

 395,832

 639,614

-38.1%

Foreign exchange income

 1,821,352

 2,286,903

-20.4%

Income /Loss from derivatives

 (13,508)

 85,426

-

Gain on sale of securities - net

 858,261

 309,937

176.9%

Other income

 582,766

 1,727,373

-66.3%

Total non-mark-up /interest income

 9,701,342

 13,148,571

-26.2%

Total Income

 49,770,474

 43,734,118

13.8%

Non mark-up/interest expenses

 

 

 

Operating expenses

 20,944,433

 20,902,009

0.2%

Workers' Welfare Fund

 502,933

 356,662

41.0%

Other charges

 152,333

 2,218

6768.0%

Total non-mark-up/interest expenses

 21,599,699

 21,260,889

1.6%

Share of profit of associates

 44,129

 348,724

-87.3%

Profit before provision

 28,214,904

 22,821,953

23.6%

Provisions and write offs-net

 9,952,594

 3,677,940

170.6%

Extra ordinary/ unusual item- charges in respect of pension liability

 -  

 -  

-

Profit before taxation from continuing operations

 18,262,310

 19,144,013

-4.6%

Taxation

 7,525,752

 8,646,392

-13.0%

loss from discontinued operations- net of tax

 10,271

 1,330,512

-99.2%

Profit after taxation

 10,726,287

 9,167,109

17.0%

Earnings per share - basic and diluted (Rupees) for profit from continuing operations attributable to the ordinary equity share

 8.95

 8.58

4.3%

Earnings per share - basic and diluted (Rupees) for profit attributable to the ordinary equity share

8.94

7.5

19.2%

 

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Avanceon strengthens its BMS Portfolio by securing contract for...

August 6, 2020 (MLN): Avanceon has been selected to provide a comprehensive Building Management solution for the new Business Hub building by DHA Lahore.

This contract of approx Rs 30 million marks yet another success for Avanceon’s growing Building Management Systems and Infrastructure portfolio.

Avanceon is excited about the new infrastructure opportunities within Pakistan and looking forward to adding value to green buildings concept, an official notification to Exchange revealed.

The DHA Business Hub is a purpose-built corporate tower which will facilitate the local and international business community.

A project of DHA Lahore, the corporate tower is strategically located near Allama Iqbal International Airport. Spread over 26 Kanals with covered area of 637,527 sq ft, the building boasts 11 floors and 2 basements with a capacity to accommodate 700 cars.

The building will also come equipped with a state-of-the-art security system and a dedicated Energy Center for 24/7 uninterrupted power supply. Avanceon will be providing a comprehensive Building Management Solution for this project.

The scope of work for Avanceon will include:

  • Engineering, Supply, Installation Supervision, Programming and Commissioning of Building Management System and Integrated Building Management System
  • Complete Control HVAC System including FAHU, TFAHU and Ventilation Systems
  • PlantRoom Optimization
  • Supply of VFDs
  • BTU Meters for the entire facilityFor this project, Avanceon will be partnering with Siemens Building Technologies.

Avanceon offers a comprehensive portfolio of products and solutions for demand based, efficient control of heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems including fire alarm and detection.

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SBP to Conduct 1 Day OMO

August 06, 2020 (MLN): The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) announced that it will conduct a 1 day OMO to mop-up funds from the market.

Quotes timing is: 11:15 PST while result will be announced at: 11:45 PST

Settlement is same day - August 06, 2020

 

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Asian markets mixed as traders weigh stimulus, China-US tension

Aug 6, 2020: Asian markets were mixed Thursday following a two-day rally, with nervous investors keeping an eye on stuttering stimulus talks in Washington, while China-US tensions continued to weigh on confidence.

And while there were hopes over the development of a vaccine, the rapid spread of the disease around the world and fresh flare-ups that have caused renewed lockdowns, were keeping a lid on buying sentiment and sending safe-haven gold soaring to record highs.

All three main indexes on Wall Street ended with gains Wednesday -- the Nasdaq at another record -- on bets US lawmakers will eventually reach a deal on another much-needed stimulus for the world's top economy.

 However, the two parties remain far apart on their proposals with Democrats' $3.5 trillion plan more than three times bigger than the Republicans' offer with a key sticking point the supplementary jobless benefits, which ran out last week.

"I feel optimistic that there is light at the end of the tunnel," Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters. "But how long the tunnel is remains to be seen."

Still, there is agreement that they will eventually have to compromise at some point and Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said next week's recess could be put off so a deal can be reached.

 And analysts said there are broad expectations that upcoming elections will push congress to eventually reach a deal, while Donald Trump has raised the prospect of using an executive order to push through tax cuts and a ban on evictions.

 "For now our sense is that no politician in the US wants to be blamed for a failure to deliver a new round of stimulus ahead of the elections in November," said National Australia Bank's Rodrigo Catril.

 "US Treasury Secretary Mnuchin remarked that while differences remain, at least there was an agreement to set a timeline. So the story continues to be about when the deal will be agreed, rather than if."          

- Eyes on election day -

The need for an agreement was laid bare with data showing the US added a below-forecast 167,000 private-sector jobs in July, while a broadly positive report on business activity was clouded by a weak employment component.

The China-US standoff continues to jar nerves, with Beijing on Wednesday warning that a planned visit by US healthy secretary Alex Azar to Taiwan was a threat to "peace and stability".

The trip to the island, which China claims as its own territory, would further sour relations between the superpowers, who have already clashed over several issues including Hong Kong, the virus and Huawei.

And there are worries the rows could lead to a renewal of their economically painful trade war.

"China will likely interpret the trip as a provocative move ahead of planned US-China trade talks on August 15," said Stephen Innes at AxiCorp, adding that the US move was seen as part of Trump's anti-China drive leading into the election.

 "Even if trade war risk fades, President Trump will be rushing the podium with his latest technology beef in hand, and the nonstop barrage of China browbeating will likely extend into the November election."

 In early trade, Hong Kong slipped more than one percent, while Tokyo went into the break 0.3 percent lower and Shanghai shed 0.8 percent.

 Wellington also fell, though Sydney, Seoul, Taipei, Singapore and Jakarta all rose.

 Manila was also slightly higher as traders looked past data showing the Philippines economy contracted 16.5 percent in the second quarter, the worst on records dating back to 1981 and putting it into recession.          

- Key figures around 0300 GMT -             

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.3 percent at 22,440.69 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: DOWN 1.6 percent at 24,713.11

 Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.8 percent at 3,351.04

 Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1866 from $1.1863 at 2100 GMT

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 105.53 yen from 105.60 yen

 Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3125 from $1.3113

  Euro/pound: DOWN at 90.41 pence from 90.47 pence

Gold: FLAT at $2,040.71 an ounce

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 0.1 percent at $42.15 per barrel

Brent North Sea crude: UP 0.1 percent at $45.23 per barrel

New York - Dow: UP 1.4 percent at 27,201.52 (close)

London - FTSE 100: UP 1.1 percent at 6,104.72 (close)

AFP/APP

Fauji Fertilizer performs exceptionally well during coronavirus pandemic

August 06, 2020: Fauji Fertilizer Company Limited (FFC) recently announced its first half-yearly financial results for the period ending 30 June 2020. The same was released to all electronic, print, and web media through a Press Release. The company announced the profitability of Rs. 9.14 billion translating into earning of Rs. 7.18 per share which was published on 28 July 2020 by a number of Urdu and English dailies. On the contrary, it was observed that certain newspapers reported somewhat different results/ conclusions causing doubts in the minds of shareholders.

An appraisal divulged that findings of misquoting were based on consolidated financial statements of the complete FFC group (comprising several subsidiary / associated entities) instead of separate financial statements of FFC itself. They also focused their analysis to the 2nd quarter (March – June) of 2020 in most parts of the report.

One newspaper stated that the profitability for the half-year has decreased by 14% whereas in actual it has been increased by 14%. The newspaper did not state that this profitability related to the consolidated and not the separate financial statements of the company. Another newspaper reported that this profitability has increased by 11% instead of the actual increase of 14%. The confusion was further escalated by reporting on a mix of figures as per consolidated as well as separate financial statements.

FFC has a legacy of being a quality conscious and transparent company while ensuring good returns to the stakeholders as substantiated by its position among the top 25 companies of PSX and maintaining 1st position among them for the last consecutive 9 years. Therefore, it is hereby clarified that FFC has performed exceptionally well even under the prevailing pandemic conditions by earning a profit of Rs. 9.14 billion on a standalone basis with a 3% increase over the last year.

Press Release

 

Coronavirus speeds up big oil’s shift to green

August 05, 2020: With oil prices blasted by a double blow of oversupply and demand throttled by the coronavirus crisis, some industry giants are eyeing less polluting investments as bets on a less hydrocarbon-heavy future.

The world's top five oil firms -- BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell and Total -- reported combined losses of $53 billion for the second quarter in recent days.

BP announced it would cut production by the equivalent of a million barrels of oil per day until 2030 as part of a plan to reach "net zero" greenhouse emissions by mid-century.

"If there was ever a moment to reset, this is it," said Luke Parker of energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie.

"Our view is that BP has taken the prudent course of action."

In recent months, producer countries have been slow to reduce the amount of oil flooding the market even as major consumers like the airline industry saw operations pared back to almost nothing.

In April, oil prices even fell into negative territory for the first time in history as traders scrambled to offload stock.

The impact has accelerated a strategic rethink for some oil companies.

Even before the pandemic struck they could see governments stepping up plans to reach net zero carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions in the fight against climate change.

- 'Stranded fossil assets' -

"If I were an investor in oil and gas, I would be worried that I would be putting my money in an outdated and risky industry," said Arthur van Benthem, an associate professor at Pennsylvania's Wharton Business School.

The fossil firms' results were not only undermined by reduced activity from the pandemic, but also massive write-downs in the value of their most precious assets - their as-yet untapped oil and gas reserves.

"These assets will either be less profitable when they come on line, or not be produced at all at the future prices now expected," said professor David Elmes of Warwick Business School.

By themselves, forecasts for low energy prices to persist into the coming years can't explain the sizes of the write-downs.

Rather, they are "part of a longer trend in which the rapid pace at which renewable energy is becoming competitive is putting traditional energy companies at risk," van Benthem said.

"Large investment companies, insurers, central banks, and others are warning the market about 'stranded fossil assets'... the renewable energy market seems a much safer bet."

As companies look to cut costs, new approvals for oil and gas projects could plunge by 75 percent this year, Rystad Energy analysts predict, rather than holding steady as previously expected.

- Output slashed -

The biggest oil companies "have the scale and money to change away from fossil fuels over time and face a stark choice on when to do so," Warwick professor Elmes said.

Alongside BP's cuts -- set to reduce its production by 40 percent of 2019 levels over the coming decade -- the London-based giant said it would multiply investments in renewable energies by 10 times over the same period.

"This coming decade is critical for the world in the fight against climate change, and to drive the necessary change in global energy systems will require action from everyone," chief executive Bernard Looney said.

Nevertheless, rating agency Standard and Poor's recalled that across the industry, "the proportion of public communications about greener strategies or renewable initiatives by these companies has not been matched by the share of non-oil and gas investment planned".

Renewable energy is likely to fall far short of the profit margins achievable with hydrocarbons, the credit analysts said.

"Overall, we expect oil and gas to remain the largest contributor to supermajors' cash generation for many years," they added.

AFP/APP

US stocks rise again on vaccine progress

August 05, 2020: Wall Street stocks opened higher Wednesday, extending a positive run on anticipation of more fiscal stimulus from Washington and progress on vaccines for the coronavirus pandemic.

About 30 minutes into trading, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 1.0 percent at 27,097.60.

The broad-based S&P 500 gained 0.6 percent to 3,325.52, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 0.3 percent to 10,978.77. The Nasdaq has ended at records the last two days.

The US added a disappointing 167,000 private sector jobs in July, much below the level of the last two months and suggesting the recovery has slowed, according to payrolls firm ADP.

Analysts expect a deal in Washington on another package of fiscal support for the coronavirus-battered US economy. Key lawmakers have signaled progress on the talks, but have yet to resolve partisan disagreements.

Sentiment was also boosted by signs of forward movement on vaccines.

Johnson & Johnson rose 1.0 percent after announcing it agreed to supply the US government with 100 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine following regulatory approval in a $1 billion deal.

That announcement came after Novavax announced positive clinical results of another vaccine candidate, boosting shares by more than 18 percent.

Disney was another big gainer, climbing 9.3 percent despite reporting a $4.7 billion quarterly loss due to the coronavirus, which emptied theme parks and battered the live sports industry that feeds its ESPN telecasts.

However, investors focused on strong results at its Disney+ streaming service, which already has more than 100 million paid subscribers.

AFP/APP

SBP sets auction target of Rs.3.59 trillion for the...

August 5, 2020 (MLN): The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) announced the auction calendar for August – October 2020 in which it plans to raise Rs.3.59 trillion through the sale of Government Securities.

The amount maturing during the next three months is Rs.3.204 trillion showing a net borrowing by the government of Rs.385.40 billion.

The SBP plans to auction Rs.2.30 trillion in short term Market Treasury Bills (MTB), Rs.420 billion in Fixed Rate Pakistan Investment Bonds (PIBs), Rs.720 billion in Floating Rate PIBs (PIBFRR), Rs.90 billion in Variable Rental Rate GOP Ijara Sukuk and Rs.60 billion in Fixed Rental Rate GOP Ijara Sukuk.

The 3 Year Fixed Rate PIB will be a fresh issue with the coupon rate slashed from 9 to 7 percent, with the remaining 5, 10, 20 year PIBs being the re-opening of Sep 19, 2019 issue while the 15 year PIB will be re-opening of April 16, 2020.

The 3, 5 and 10 year Floating rate PIB’s will be the reopening of June 18, 2020 issue with the current coupon rate being set at 8.2670% for 3 year, 8.3070% for 5 year and 8.5170% for 10 years.

 

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