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NBP issues Foreign Exchange Rate

June 17, 2021: Treasury Management Division of the National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) on...

Budget FY22: Many things to cheer for Capital Market

June 14, 2021 (MLN): Staying true to their pre-budget promises, the PTI government on Friday presented its 3rd budget in National Assembly, with a theme of sustainable and inclusive growth to be achieved through a bottom-up approach.

Certainly, it has been received positively by the public and private sectors as there was no additional tax burden announced due to the ongoing Covid-19 emergency and some significant relief majors for some sectors.

For the capital market, it has emerged as an astonishing supporter, as an array of tax concessions, duty drawbacks, and pro-growth policies were announced.

While the PSX has recovered handsomely from its Covid-19 inflicted lows in March 2020, it seems that the government is aiming to elevate people’s wealth and savings ahead of the next general elections in 2023.

After a long outstanding demand from the investor fraternity, the government gave a major incentive to the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX) by reducing the Capital Gain Tax (CGT) rate on the disposal of securities to 12.5% from 15%. This will encourage investment in Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX), resulting in higher tax collection from the disposal of securities. The government also guided that CGT may progressively decline in the coming years. Simultaneously, the Budget also proposes an increase in CGT on real estate investment beyond certain thresholds, this also likely to improve the outlook for liquidity on the PSX.

Another significant demand from the capital market was the reduction of Withholding Tax (WHT) on income from margin financing transactions. Keeping this request at hand, the government proposed to delete WHT of 10% on NCCPL Margin Financing. This is also a positive sign for the stock market as this will likely increase the use of leveraged products at PSX. An upward shift in the level of margin financing can be expected which currently stands at Rs11.45bn, down from its 1-yr high of Rs14.03bn recorded in Feb’21.

At the same time, the government has removed WHT on members of the stock exchange. In addition, the turnover tax for non-energy companies has been reduced from 1.5% to 1.25%, and for refineries, from 0.75% to 0.5%. The rate for OMCs and gas utilities remained at 0.75%. The rate was last revised up by 0.25ppt in the FY20 Budget. Both the measures are positive for the stock market as they will likely boost trading activity at PSX and also enhance the investor base in the country.

On the downside, tax credit on new listings at PSX has been abolished. Previously new companies listed on PSX could avail of 20% tax credit for the first two years and 10% for the subsequent two years. This change could dissuade new entities from getting listed on PSX. New listings have remained persistently low at PSX historically due to multiple reasons. This adjustment could further slow down IPO activity in the country.

The stock market, which generally reacts well to the growth budgets, has been displaying disappointing performance post-budget announcement, where the benchmark KSE-100 index has gained only 174 pts as of today and settled at 48,481 points level. Nevertheless, a growth-oriented budget would strengthen investors sentiments going forward as they foresee a rise in corporate earnings. Moreover, AKD Research in its report also highlighted that keeping sectoral development aside, CGT development alone can potentially propel the market above 50k level.

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Citi Pharma IPO oversubscribed by 2x

June 16, 2021: The book-building process of Citi Pharma’s Initial Public Offer (IPO) has concluded with an oversubscription of 2 times, according to Topline Securities, advisor and book-runner of the issue.

“The IPO received an overwhelming response from institutional investors and high-net-worth individuals as the strike price clocked in at Rs 32/share, 14.3% higher than the floor price of Rs28,” the leading API Manufacturer of the country said in a statement.

Citi Pharma has raised Rs 2.32 billion in total, making it the second Pharma sector IPO in 23 years and the single largest IPO of 2021 till date. 

 “The response to the book building was far better than our expectations,” said Mohammed Sohail of Topline Securities. In the last IPO (Organic Meat) managed by Topline investors have made a gain of close to 90% in a year

 Several brokerages had issued almost unanimous calls to ‘subscribe,’ which resulted in investor demand amounting to Rs 4 billion against the IPO’s book-building size of Rs 2 billion. Investors who bid at PKR 32 will get approx. 10% of their bid quantity.

 The general public will subscribe to the remaining 18.1 million shares (25 percent of the total offer size) on June 23/24 at the strike price of Rs 32” the company said. 

Rizwan Ahmed, CEO of Citi Pharma, in his message thanked investors for their overwhelming response and vowed to ensure the growth of their shareholders’ equity.

Omar Salah Ahmed - Head of Corporate Finance & Advisory at Topline added "Citi Pharma is one of the most unique companies in Pakistan's pharma sector and this expansion will bring in a new phase for the Company. We wish them all the best for the future as well as the investors - who will no doubt be a part of a great growth story. Investors have responded to the future growth."

 Citi Pharma plans to become the first fully-integrated listed pharmaceutical company in Pakistan, serving from raw material consumers to end medicine consumers.

Citi Pharma has achieved revenue growth from PKR 1,016 million in FY16 to PKR 3,528 million in FY20. Showcasing 36.2% CAGR in 5 years. The company recorded PKR 4,015 million in sales during 9MFY21 already surpassing last year’s sales. 

The company is planning to expand its existing capacity of 3,600 tonnes per annum of paracetamol to 6,000 tonnes per annum. In addition, the company says it plans to add new APIs as well as a pharmaceutical formulation, or final products, to its existing product line.

Citi Pharma also wants to build three manufacturing facilities, taking its total capacity to 200,000 vials/injectables per day, dry powder/suspension to 60,000 bottles per day, capsules to 4.2 million per day, and tablets to 4.5 million per day. These include dedicated manufacturing lines for penicillin, cephalosporin, and psychotropic and narcotics drugs.

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SBP maintains free IBFT pricing for transactions up to...

July 16, 2021: To cope with the extraordinary situation of lockdowns amid the Covid-19 Pandemic in 2020, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) advised banks and other service providers in March 2020 to offer free of cost Inter Bank Fund Transfer (IBFT) services to all their customers regardless of the size of the transaction.

The objective was to facilitate bank customers to meet their banking services needs through online services during exceptionally difficult times and to avoid in-person interaction to curb the spread of COVID.

This step resulted in an overwhelming response by customers, with internet and mobile banking transactions more than doubling in Q2FY21 over the last year. SBP appreciates the support of all service providers for this initiative by allowing free-of-cost interbank fund transfer services to the public without recovering their operational cost and incurring substantial revenue losses.

It is encouraging that the Covid-19 situation has improved significantly and despite a fluctuating number of cases the overall conditions now allow relaxations in mobility restrictions while following proper SOPs. 

In this backdrop, SBP reviewed the current IBFT pricing mechanism and has made some changes to ensure that free-of-charge IBFT services are provided by banks and other financial institutions on a sustainable basis. 

The new instructions allow banks and other service providers to charge a minimal fee on high-value transactions while protecting and encouraging the low-income segments of the population to continue using digital transactions free of cost. SBP has directed banks to provide free-of-cost digital fund transfer services to individual customers up to, at least, a minimum aggregate sending limit of Rs25,000 per month per account/wallet. However, banks may choose to set this aggregate limit at a higher amount as well. This would allow individual customers to make as many free fund transfer transactions remaining within their aggregate monthly limit of free transfers.

For transactions above the aggregate limit of Rs 25,000 per account in a month, banks may charge individual customers, a transaction fee of no more than 0.1% of the transaction amount or Rs 200, whichever is lower.

This will enable service providers to recover part of the costs they incur on providing inter-bank fund transfer service and build sustainable and innovative business models. Nevertheless, the new instructions encourage banks to provide free-of-cost digital fund transfer services to their customers to promote the adoption of digital payments in the country.

SBP has also advised banks that all digital fund transfer transactions between different accounts within the same bank (intra-bank fund transfers) shall remain free. Further, incoming interbank fund transfer transactions shall also remain free.

SBP has further directed banks to ensure proper disclosure of charged and free IBFT amounts along with applicable fees to their customers by sending regular notifications through SMS, apps, and email.

After every digital transaction, banks are required to send free of charge SMS to their customers on their registered mobile numbers intimating them about the transaction amount and the charges being recovered.

In order to provide seamless digital banking services to the public, SBP has further advised banks to remove any limits on the number of fund transfer transactions on their customer accounts/wallets unless there are genuine concerns related to AML/CFT or frauds.

Press Release

SECP issues draft regulatory framework for digital-only insurers and...

June 16, 2021: The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP), as part of its agenda to promote digitalization and encourage innovation in financial services, has introduced draft registration regime for digital-only insurers and dedicated microinsurers, for seeking public comments.

The draft framework, proposed through amendments in Insurance Rules, 2017, sets out the registration requirements for entities desirous to operate through digital mode only, and for entities wanting to transact small ticket size insurance i.e. microinsurance.  In addition, the draft also stipulates requirements relating to business conduct such as technological capacity, allowable classes of business, requirement to start pilot operations before full-scale launch, cybersecurity, product filing requirements, fair treatment of customers, among others.

The initiative, based on global developments concerning insurers operating on digital-only basis, will be further complimented by recent developments in payment systems landscape. Moreover, the new framework does not prohibit existing entities to underwrite microinsurance or distribute insurance through digital modes. The objective of the proposed amendments is to encourage innovation, improve competition, widen product range, and enhance financial inclusion, while aiding in reduction of entry barriers through lenient regulatory requirements, in terms of minimum paid up capital and solvency regime.

The draft amendments, along with position paper illustrating the proposed framework, can be accessed at SECP’s website.


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