Govt ap­proves $1.2 bil­lion HBL di­vest­ment

Enterprise - - News -

The gov­ern­ment on Satur­day ap­proved di­vest­ing all of its state-owned shares in top pri­vate bank HBL for $1.2 bil­lion that of­fi­cials say is the coun­try’s largest-ever eq­uity of­fer­ing.

The gov­ern­ment re­ceived $1.6 bil­lion of of­fers for its 41.5 per cent in HBL dur­ing three days of book-build­ing at Lon­don, New York, Sin­ga­pore and Dubai, the pri­vati­sa­tion com­mis­sion said.

“The [cabi­net] com­mit­tee has ap­proved the sell­ing of whole lot of its shares at 168 ru­pees a share,” Min­is­ter for Pri­vati­sa­tion Mo­ham­mad Zubair said af­ter the meet­ing.

“It was the largest-ever eq­uity of­fer­ing out of Pak­istan and largest-ever eq­uity of­fer­ing in Asian fron­tier mar­kets which fetched de­mand of $1.6 bil­lion.” The Pri­vati­sa­tion Com­mis­sion of Pak­istan said in a state­ment that $1.2 bil­lion of bids were ac­cepted of the to­tal $1.6 bil­lion of of­fers.

The gov­ern­ment had planned to of­fer 250 mil­lion base shares in HBL with an op­tion of sell­ing 390 mil­lion more depend­ing on the re­sponse.

A quar­ter was al­lo­cated for lo­cal in­vestors with the rest to be sold in­ter­na­tion­ally. An­a­lyst Mo­ham­mad So­hail, chief of To­pline Se­cu­ri­ties, lauded the ap­proval of the deal, say­ing it would bring much-needed for­eign cur­rency in the coun­try.

“Of all the shares, 75 per cent have been of­fered to for­eign in­vestors and it would bring $746 mil­lion to add to the for­eign ex­change re­serves,” he said.

The chair­man said with the pri­va­ti­za­tion of HBL the coun­try’s for­eign ex­change re­serves would be strength­ened re­sult­ing in fur­ther eas­ing of in­fla­tion which would ul­ti­mately ben­e­fit the com­mon peo­ple of the coun­try.

Ear­lier dur­ing the meet­ing of the CCOP, its chair Fi­nance Min­is­ter Ishaq Dar con­grat­u­lated PC Chair­man Mo­ham­mad Zubair, his team and ad­vi­sors on their hard work to make the HBL trans­ac­tion a com­plete suc­cess. He added that the tremen­dous re­sponse at home and abroad, in­clud­ing of­fer­ing by IFC and CDC, spoke vol­umes of the con­fi­dence that the in­ter­na­tional fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions had in Pak­istan’s eco­nomic stand­ing brought about by con­certed eco­nomic re­forms by the PML-N gov­ern­ment.

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