Pak­istan ap­proves US$1.02 bil­lion HBL state-owned shares di­vest­ment

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

Pak­istan on Satur­day ap­proved di­vest­ing all of its state-owned shares in top pri­vate bank HBL for US$1.02 bil­lion, in what of­fi­cials said is the coun­try’s largestever eq­uity of­fer­ing.

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

“The (cabi­net) com­mit­tee has ap­proved the sell­ing of whole lot of its shares at 168 ru­pees a share,” Min­is­ter for Pri­va­ti­za­tion Mo­ham­mad Zubair told AFP af­ter the meet­ing.

“It was the largest-ever eq­uity of­fer­ing out of Pak­istan and larg- est-ever eq­uity of­fer­ing in Asian fron­tier mar­kets, which fetched de­mand of US$1.6 bil­lion.”

The Pri­va­ti­za­tion Com­mis­sion of Pak­istan said in a state­ment US$1.02 bil­lion of bids were ac­cepted of the to­tal US$1.6 bil­lion of of­fers.

HBL, for­merly known as Habib Bank Limited, was part-pri­va­tized in 2004, with the Agha Khan Foun­da­tion buy­ing the bulk of the shares.

The cur­rent of­fer­ing is Pak­istan’s largest pri­va­ti­za­tion deal since 2006, when the then gov­ern­ment raised US$712 mil­lion from sell­ing its stake in Oil and Gas Devel­op­ment (OGDCL).

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 per­cent have been of­fered to for­eign in­vestors and it would bring US$746 mil­lion to add to the for­eign ex­change re­serves,” he told AFP.

HBL, which opened in 1947, has 1,425 branches in Pak­istan and an in­ter­na­tional net­work spread over 26 coun­tries.

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