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Pak eyes foreign funds for SOEs

LONDON: Pakistan is nearly ready to launch a privatisation programme which aims to bring in foreign management expertise and tap international markets to turn around its flagging state-owned industries, its privatisation minister said in an interview. “You will see in the next 12 months about 5 or 6 deals coming on the block,” Waqar Ahmed Khan told Reuters on Sunday, adding that he expected the first deal in January.
Pakistan privatisations in the past have been dogged by allegations of corruption and accusations of companies being sold off too cheaply.
Khan said this time the government planned to sell minority stakes or offer equity-linked investments such as convertible bonds to bring in foreign firms to provide the management expertise to raise the value of the companies before bigger stakes are sold. Pakistan also hoped to announce early next year it had found one or two such foreign companies, or strategic investors, to buy into Pakistani state-owned firms, which, he said, “will lend credibility to the whole process.”
He declined to name them, but said Pakistan was looking for companies with the experience, technical, management and financial capabilities to help firms realise their potential. He also said he was looking at multiple stock exchange listings, which would subject the privatisation process to international scrutiny and bring investment into Pakistan. “We want to give tremendous credibility and total transparency to this whole privatisation programme,” he said.-Reuters


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