Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Meezan Bank profit for 2015 up by 10 percent

Pakistan’s first full service Islamic bank, Meezan Bank, posted earnings of Rs5 billion for the year ended 31st December 2015, up 9.9% from the profit of Rs4.5 billion recorded in the preceding year. Along with the approval of financial accounts, the Board of Directors gave nodded distribution of 12.5 percent final dividend among the shareholders. This is in addition to an interim dividend of 17.5 percent paid earlier, taking the full year payment to 30 percent.
The increase in the bank's profitability is attributable to improved net spread after provisions. The net mark up income after provisions was stated at Rs17.6 billion, up 36.8% from a year ago. The expansion in its spread was mainly on the back of a significant increase in the profit earned on Islamic financing, investments and placements. It rose almost 15% YoY to Rs33.1 billion at the end of 2015. In contrast, other income of Meezan Bank registered a YoY decline in 2015, hurting its bottom line. It amounted to Rs4.6 billion, down 3.3% from a year ago. The major reason for the decrease in other income was the drop of 70.2% in the net gain on sale of securities in 2015. In addition, the bank's income from dealing in foreign currencies also decreased by 9.5% to Rs1.4 billion.

Monday, 22 February 2016

Oil glut has been created with a purpose

In one of my previous blogs I raised a point that western media often mislead. I have a strong feeling that like any third world country news are produced on the behest of lobbying firms. These lobbying firms often call their work ‘Policy Advocacy’. These entities work for protecting the interest of Fortune-50 and Fortune-500 companies and not the consumers or public at large.
My perception gets further strength when I go through the reports of mainstream media regarding the prevailing oil glut. These media companies paint a scenario that if oil price goes further down, the entire global economy would plunge in serious crisis. There would be many bankruptcies and for saving the oil and gas exploration and production companies crude price must be hiked.
These companies had made tons of money through connivance. This game was started by the US companies and Saudi Arabia and other oil producing countries were trapped. They lived under the false impression that inflow of petro-dollars was on the rise and totally ignored the fact that one the US attains self sufficiency in oil production, it would gradually deprive all other oil countries from oil income.
Interestingly, the US has plunged oil prices to present lows to inflict material injury to all the oil producing countries, Saudi Arabia, Russia and Iran being the prime targets. It is stunning that Russia and Saudi Arabia are fighting a proxy war in Syria but have joined hands to convince OPEC and non-OPEC members that their survival was in cutting down production.
This brings to mind an old saving that enemy of an enemy can be made friend. Saudis very strongly believe that the US has betrayed them with regards to Syria and Iran. Russia has established its nuisance value in the Middle East and its policy makers strongly believe that by joining hands with Saudi Arabia they can achieve twin objectives, weakening the US influence on countries located in Arabia Peninsula and pushing many of the US oil producing companies out of business.
Ironic is the attitude of oil consuming countries, which feel helpless before these exploiters. They are also falling victim of the disinformation being spread by the western media.  These countries have been made to believe that economic downturn in the US would also affect their economies adversely.
Since I live in Pakistan and following this issue to some extent, the incumbent government has failed in passing the benefit of low oil prices to the masses. Following IMF mantra the government has increased percentage of tax on energy products to overcome budget deficit. I am sure Pakistan is not the only countries following IMF recipe blindly but all those countries that live on the crutches of IMF are following the same policy blindly.
Pakistan has failed in benefiting from the GSP plus status granted to the country by the European Union only because of prevailing energy crisis. I would say it very loudly that energy crisis in Pakistan is not due to the shortage of energy products but blatant theft, gross inefficiencies and above all massive corruption.
In the third world rulers are installed and toppled in the name of ‘regime change’. It is simple that once an agent becomes redundant it is eliminated, assassinations are common but portrayed as act of rebels or an act of God.
Explosion of aero plane of Pakistan’s President Ziaul Haq was not an accident but outright killing. Those who died along with Zia included the US Ambassador to Pakistan, a Brigadier General of the US Army and many generals of Pakistan Army, who had played key role in defeating USSR in Afghanistan.

Friday, 19 February 2016

Engro Corp posts Rs17.3 billion net profit

Engro Corporation has released its financial results for the year ended 31st December 2015. The Board of Directors approved payment of 70 percent final dividend, taking full year payout to 180 percent. The announcement was a pleasant surprise for the investors in stock market, which is going through bearish spell lately.

Engro’s Corp’s profit after tax grew by almost 122 per cent to Rs17.3 billion (EPS: Rs26.32) for the year under review as compared to net profit of Rs7.8 billion (EPS: Rs13.59) earned last year.

Engro Fertilizers continued to be the chief contributor towards the profitability, recording net profit of Rs15 billion (EPS: Rs11.28) for the year 2015 due to availability of concessionary gas and inclusion of DAP in total sales.

Earnings of Engro Foods were recorded at Rs3.2 billion (EPS: Rs4.13) as compared to Rs0.8 billion (EPS: Rs1.16) last year. This growth was on account of volumetric expansion leading to a higher market share in the dairy segment coupled with margin accretion.

The chemical business, however, managed to keep its losses in-check by posting consolidated loss after tax of Rs0.6 billion.

In a stock filing, Engro Corp informed that it had appointed advisers for the potential sale of up to 24 percent holding in Engro Fertilizer through private offering to local and international investors subject to the approval of shareholders.


Thursday, 18 February 2016

HUBCO declares higher than expected dividend

Pakistan’s second largest independent power producer (IPP), Hub Power Company (HUBCO ) has announced its half yearly financial results for the period ended 31st December 2015. The entity has reported profit Rs5.3 billion (EPS: Rs4.59) attributable to holding company for the consolidated entity, posting 2%YoYdecline.
Profit for the quarter was reported Rs2.7 billion (EPS: Rs2.38), down 10%YoY but up 8%QoQ. With earnings resting within estimates, interim dividend payout of 45 percent was higher than the expectations. Higher profit can be attributed to Rs1.1 billion (EPS: Rs0.69) income from Laraib, up by 19%YoY.
Half yearly results reflect: 1) a 38%YoY reduction in turnover due to persisting fall in furnace oil price (45%YoY decline), 2) operating costs down by 42%YoY (majorly through falling input costs), 3) General and Admin expenses (rising 148%YoY) reflect expenses arising from headway on new ventures, and 4) financial costs sliding 33%YoY.
Being indicative of margin improvements from falling input prices, HUBCO results point to a rise in spending on account of new ventures, with accompanying losses being recognized in the consolidated accounts. Moreover, higher load factors failed to dent profits following the completed overhaul of the base plant, while diversification (income from Laraib) continues to support healthy payouts. 

EFU General Insurace full year profit exceeds Rs4 billion

The Board of Directors of EFU General Insurance approved financial accounts, payment of 45 percent final dividend and issue 25 percent bonus shares for the year 2015. The company had already paid 30 percent interim dividend, which will take full year payout to 75 percent.
For the year ended 31st December 2015 the company has posted profit after tax of Rs4,033 million (EPS: Rs25.21) as compared to profit of Rs1,829 million (EPS: Rs11.43), an increase of 120 percent.
This excellent performance can be attributed to a number of factors that include: 1) underwriting income rising to Rs1,533 million from Rs1,316 million, 2) investment income increasing to Rs1,202 million from Rs914 million and 3) reversal of provision for impairment of an associate company amounting to Rs1,987 million.

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

ODGC profit declines by 28.5 percent

Pakistan’s largest exploration and production enterprise, Oil & Gas Development Company (OGDC) has released its half yearly financial results for the period ended 31st December 2015. OGDC profit eroded by 28.5 per cent but the Board of Directors was generous enough in approving payment of second interim dividend of 12 percent, taking payment during first half to 27 percent.

OGDC has posted profit after tax of Rs34.206 billion (EPS: Rs7.95) during the period under review as compared to net profit of Rs47.828 billion (EPS: Rs11.12) for the corresponding period a year ago, down by 28.5 percent.

Net sales of OGDC plunged to Rs86.186 billion during July-December 2015 from Rs118.64 billion during the same period 2014, a decline of 27.35 percent.

OGDC has presence in the four provinces, largest portfolio of hydrocarbon reserves – 59 percent of oil and 36 percent of gas as at 30th June 2015.

OGDC’s average daily production is 40,028 barrel oil, 1,116mmcf gas, 312tons LPG and 28 tons Sulphur. It contributed 28 percent to total gas and 48 percent to crude oil production

Tuesday, 16 February 2016

PSO posts 57 percent increase in profit after tax

On Tuesday, Pakistan’s largest oil marketing company, Pakistan State Oil Company Limited (PSO) released its half yearly results and also announce approval of 50 percent dividend by the Board of Directors. The results were above market expectations.

PSO has posted profit after tax of Rs6.7 billion (EPS: Rs24.76) for the half year ended 31st December 2015 as compared to profit of Rs4.2 billion (EPS: Rs15.76) for the corresponding period of 2014, an increase of 57 percent.

The major takeaways are: 1) reduction in financial cost to Rs3.6 billion from Rs5.9 billion, may be because of improved cash flow and declining interest rates, 2) increase in share of profit of associates rising to Rs388 million from Rs23 million and 3) other income also went down to Rs5.3 billion from Rs6.7 billion.

Net sales of the company declined by over 30 percent to Rs353.9 billion from Rs508.2 billion. This erosion can be attributed to the declining trend in international prices of crude oil, also affecting prices of POL products being dispensed by PSO.

Sunday, 14 February 2016

US, Russia and Pakistan trio

The USA and Russia, it seems, are now being pulled together by the exigencies of the times and, in the interest of world peace, are exploring ways to cooperate with each other rather than follow their old adversarial trajectories. This was more than obvious in the greetings message that President Putin sent to President Barack Obama last Christmas. The US Secretary of State, John Kerry’s visit to the Kremlin is also a case in point. And this was all happening despite Putin’s Crimea campaign and the fact that US ally Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet over Syria.
Russia (as the USSR) and the USA have been traditional rivals since the end of World War II. Both were contemporary superpowers in their time. When the USSR was dismantled, some say, following American machinations, the USA was left as the world’s only superpower. But while the rivalry progressed in the 50s, 60s and 70s, it produced some interesting aspects. Both tried to one-up each other during this period. They raced against each other on the ground in terms of military forces and arms and in space with their respective rockets and satellite programs.
In fact the US and Russia have a long history of trying to outdo one another. Many bilateral rivalries have occurred between the two throughout their tumultuous history.
After World War II, an arms race between the US and the Soviet Union ignited, with both powers vying to be kings of advanced weaponry. This technological rivalry naturally evolved from mere rocket-based arms to the exploration of the cosmos, as both nations raced to put a satellite, an animal, and a man into orbit. The Soviets darted fast out of the gate, launching the Sputnik 1 and Sputnik 2 (with Laika the dog in tow) into orbit in 1957. However, when the US astronauts, the Soviet cosmonauts and President John F. Kennedy entered the picture in the 60s, the race really heated up. On April 12, 1961, the Soviets catapulted Yuri Gagarin — a pilot in the Soviet Air Force who had once fled his village from a German invasion — into orbit.
Not to be outdone, President Kennedy soon addressed Congress and the nation and demanded that the US put a man on the moon by the end of the decade. Heeding the call, American astronaut John Glenn one-upped Gagarin by orbiting the Earth three times in 1962. The next year, Cosmonaut Valentia Tereshkova became the first woman in space. And so a back-and-forth power-and-prestige grab ensued and lasted until the end of the decade. On July 20, 1969, astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin touched down on the moon. Moments later, when Armstrong announced that “the Eagle has landed” and stepped onto the moon, the space race had been won. In 1972, chess player Bobby Fischer took it on himself to topple the Soviet Union’s almost 25-year dominance in the sport when he went up against current world champion Boris Spassky. Given the bilateral relations between the two countries at the time, it’s no surprise that the 21-game match in Reykjavik, Iceland, drew worldwide interest. Despite some infuriating disappearing acts and seemingly high- maintenance demands from Fischer, the eccentric American genius ultimatelyproved victorious (and even won a rematch against Spassky in 1992) and is considered by many to be the greatest chess player who ever lived.
In the 80s, Ronald Reagan challenged Mikhail Gorbachev, the leader of the Soviet Union. Standing in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin on June 12, 1987, Reagan firmly commanded Gorbachev to “Tear down this wall!” This was the infamous Berlin Wall, which separated East Germany from West Germany. Twenty-nine months later the wall fell.
The thawing relations between the America and Russia were marred after Turkey shot down a Russian fighter jet. It was feared that Russia would retaliate but it decided not to in all probability because a Russian attack on a Nato country would have been akin to an international war. The change in US policy towards Russia became too obvious when US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Moscow. This was pursuant to the efforts being made to organize talks aimed at ending the Syrian civil war.
Historically Pakistan has hardly enjoyed cordial relations with the USSR. After fragmentation of the USSR into smaller republics, Russia was always seen by Pakistan’s ruling junta as a foe rather than a friend. Lately, the Russian regime has been making a deliberate attempt to bridge the confidence gap but animosity spread over decades is not likely to turn into friendship easily through Pakistan has recently purchased some advanced military helicopters from Russia. Both countries need to work harder to forget the past but many factors continue to haunt the relationship, the worst being the ever-changing geopolitical scenario which often turns friends into foes or the other way round.
Since its independence, Pakistan has remained under the umbrella of US foreign policy. It provided airbases to the US from which spy planes would snoop on the USSR. At one stage, the USSR even threatened to attack these bases. One important factor that ruined potential Pakistan-USSR relations right in the beginning was cancellation of Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan’s visit to the USSR as he chose to go to the US at the eleventh hour.
Pakistan always enjoyed cordial relations with China and is known as its ‘time-tested friend.’ This often restricted Pakistan’s relations with the US, India and the USSR. Later, Pakistan’s relations with China were condoned by the US due to its growing trade ties but Russia has always remained a foe in the Pakistani perception.
Russia and the United States have always maintained diplomatic relations, but the already strained relations between Russia and the U.S. have greatly deteriorated due to the Ukrainian crisis and the Syrian Civil War. Even then, despite the tensions between both countries, the United States and Russia are still willing to cooperate and work together on international issues such as security and international peace – and that is the silver lining for world peace.
This article was originally published in South Asia magazine published from Pakistan http://southasia.com.pk/international.html

Friday, 12 February 2016

Pakistan stock market plagued by declining oil price

Like other international markets, Pakistan stock market once again plunged into negative territory. During the week ended 12th February PSX100 index closed at 31,464 points (down 3.12%WoW) completely eroding the gains made a week ago. Market volatility was led by anxious investors opting for profittaking amid continued selling by foreign investors. During the week under review foreign outflows were recorded at US$17.2 million against US$2.2 million outflows recorded a week before.
Activity at the market failed to recover, where average traded daily volumes for the week declined to 141 million from 144 million shares. Key news flows driving the market included: 1) the GoP signed a 15-year agreement to import up to 3.75 million tons/year of LNG from Qatar at a price of 13.37% of Brent, to be imported by PSO, 2) Baluchistan government announced liftingoff the ban on new projects of oil and gas exploration across the province and started negotiations with PPL, OGDCL and some international exploration companies, 3) the GoP borrowed over Rs116 billion at the rate of 6.10% through auction for 3year Fixed Rental Rate GoP Ijara Sukuk and 5) GoP directed OGRA to allow recovery of proposed Rs101 billion commercial loans to be taken by gas utilities from consumers in lieu of building pipeline infrastructure.
Leaders at the bourse included POL, SNGP, AGTL, and DAWH. The laggards were OGDC, FATIMA, HCAR, BAFL and EFERT. As earnings season gaining momentum the prominent companies scheduled to announce financial results include PSO, OGDC, PPL, DGKC, LUCK, HUBC and ENGRO. Analysts expect volumes to recover in anticipation of stronger corporate profitability. Although, persistent foreign selling continues to mar the sentiments a rally in regional markets can also bring some respite to the local market.
Pakistan’s biggest integrated electric utility K-Electric (KEL) is expected to release its 1HFY16 financial results shortly. According to a forecast the company is expected to post profit after tax of Rs15.4 billion (EPS: Rs0.56/share) reflecting an increase of 17%YoY, while 2QFY16 earnings are expected at Rs8.9 billion (EPS: Rs0.32/share), 14%YoY lower than levels seen last year. Profit before tax for 1HFY16 is expected to rise to Rs14.4 billion, up 80%YoY, aided by: 1) a 1.4% reduction in T&D losses to 22.4% during the period under review, 2) decline of 40%YoY in the cost of purchased electricity (currently at Pkr5.8/KwH) and 3) a 29%YoY reduction in financial charges. Despite these improvements, analysts caution about regulatory hurdles as dampeners to long term selfsufficiency of supply (shifting to coal) and approval of major agreements (MultiYear Tarriff, Power Purchase Agreement). Prominent triggers to look out for are: 1) greater than expected reduction in T&D losses from pre US$500 million T&D revamp plan, 2) continuous decline in cost of purchased units, as FO prices fall, reducing the burden of T&D losses born by the utility and 3) significant headway on 700MW coal fired power plant to be set up with China Datang Corp, the land for which has been procured.
Total auto industry sales were recorded at 21,717 units, benefiting from the 'January Effect' prevalent in the industry. Cumulative, 7MFY16 sales remained robust, at 133,437 units increasing by 57%, supported by strong growth in offtake from PSMC (83,188 units sold, growing 90%YoY) and INDU (36,448 units sold, rising 24%YoY). Segmentwise sales growth was led by the 800 and below 1000cc variants with sales growth of 85%YoY for 7MFY16 (44,594 units sold), followed by the 1000cc segment rising 42%YoY (14,145 units sold) and the 1300cc and above segment increased by 22%YoY (49,168 units sold). These trends in segmentwise growth have flowed into the OEM's dominating each segment. A historical trend analysis of the past 10 years showcases January a good month.