Engro Corporation’s revenue up by 49pc

KARACHI (PR): Pakistan’s premier conglomerate, Engro Corporation (PSX: ENGRO) announced its financial results for the first quarter ended March 31st, 2018 at a meeting held at its headquarters in Karachi. The company posted a consolidated profit-after-tax (PAT) of Rs 6,837million compared to Rs 4,219 million, up by 62%, while PAT attributable to the shareholders increased to Rs 4,194 million from Rs 2,841 million during comparative period last year. Engro Corporation concluded the first quarter of 2018 with revenue of Rs 33,525 million vs Rs 22,499 million for the similar period last year, depicting an increase of49% primarily driven by improved performances from its Fertilizers and Petrochemicals businesses. On a standalone basis, the company posted a PAT of Rs 3,146 million against Rs 5,300 million for similar period last year, translating into an EPS of Rs 6.01 per share (higher PAT in the previous period was on account of one-off super dividend from Engro Foods). The company announced an interim cash dividend of Rs 5 per share for the quarter.

Fertilizer business revenues grew by 81% whilst its PAT for the current quarter more than doubled as compared to comparative period - up by 138% - and stood at Rs 3,889 million. Higher profitability was led by increased urea sales volumes including exports as well as higher domestic prices on the back of reduced inventory levels. The Engro Polymer & Chemicals business produced highest ever PVC during the quarter and recorded revenue growth of 28% over similar period last year. PAT for the current quarter was Rs 1,448 million against Rs 846 million for the comparative period. Primary drivers of profitability remained PVC domestic market growth, supportive PVC prices in the international market and improved Caustic margins. Within Engro’s energy assets, the Qadirpur plant performed as per expectations with a net electrical output of 414GwH to the national grid. EPQL’s receivables from power purchaser remained high due to circular debt. This is becoming a continuous challenge for the business and the power sector in general and needs urgent attention from the relevant authorities. Thar Coal Mining Project progress remained ahead of plan with approx. 82 M BCM of overburden (represents 73% of total project) having been removed by the quarter-end.

China's decision to relax tariff welcomed

LAHORE (Staff Reporter): Chinese government's decision to relax another 57 tariff lines will help further strengthen bilateral trade ties and will also enhance Pakistan's exports to China. In a statement, the LCCI President Malik Tahir Javaid said that Pakistan is experiencing huge loss in trade with China that will be reduced by the removal of tariff on Pakistani 57 export goods. He said that Pakistan should have FTAs with maximum countries on win-win basis. He said that swallowing trade deficit calls for policy shift and a well-tailored strategy to tackle those factors that are contributing heavily to economic ills. The LCCI president said that unimpressive exports and widening trade deficit are big concerns at the moment and needed immediate attention of the decision makers. He said that Pakistan has been running consistent trade deficit because of various reasons including dependence on a few countries and on a few products for exports, undue imports and lack of interest to find out new destinations for Pakistani merchandise.

Tahir suggested that the government quarters should join heads with the private sector for finding out a methodology for increasing the exports of the country that is a prerequisite to control trade deficit.

LCCI Vice President Zeshan Khalil said that apart from cutting the cost of doing business in Pakistan, the government would have to evolve a long-term strategy to make its products attractive in the global market to increase its exports.

He said that there is a dire need of diplomacy to get due share for Pakistani products in the international market.

Tahir also called for a policy for building up the manufacturing sector saying that it is the base of all leading economies and account for more than 35 percent contribution to GDP.

He said that manufacturing base of Pakistan greatly suffered over the past decade on account of irregular and costly energy supply and high cost of doing business etc. He said that competitiveness challenges have created major problems in domestic and international markets. Increased cost has created decrease in exports and decrease in overall growth rate. These conditions require immediate remedial measures.

SBI for cementing Pak-Russia co-op

KARACHI (Staff Reporter): Sindh Board of Investment chairperson Naheed Memon on Tuesday emphasised the need for increasing economic and regional cooperation between Pakistan and Russia. “This is right time for Pakistan and Russia to increase their trade, investment, and economic and regional cooperation,” she said while speaking at a meeting with delegation from Saint Petersburg, Russia, here. The Russian delegates represented 15 companies dealing in power, oil and gas, pharmaceutical, chemical, spare parts, metallurgical, textile especially polyester and yarn producers, engineering and aviation. They held B2B meetings with Pakistani counterparts to discuss in detail the possibilities of increasing trade and partnering in various potential sectors for good of both the countries. They also deliberated upon the changing regional and global scenes at regional and international levels. SBI chairperson recalled that Pakistan Peoples Party government in Sindh had signed memorandum of understanding with government of Saint Petersburg in October 2017 there.

The visit of this high profile delegation was the follow up of that MoU, she said.

Naheed Memon stressed that the world had entered the era of co-existence and cooperation. And, she said, regional trade blocks had emerged as very successful model of economic cooperation. She said Pakistan has adopted the policy of focusing on China, Central Asian States, Middle East and Africa after becoming a part of China’s global initiative “ One Belt –One Road” to find new markets and find potential international partners.

On the second day of their visit, Wednesday (today), Russian delegation is likely to sign MoUs with different Pakistani organisations.

Innovation major driver of socio-economic growth: Malik

ISLAMABAD (Staff Reporter): Federal Minister for Commerce and Textile M Pervaiz Malik said that Intellectual Property Organisation (IPO-Pakistan) was motivating students and entrepreneurs to translate their ideas into products and services to materialize this fact. Addressing a seminar held in connection with the World Intellectual Property Day (World IP Day) organized by IPO-Pakistan, he stressed the need for socio-economic growth through innovation and creativity.  "Innovation and creativity have not only become major drivers of socio-economic growth but also are considered essential tools for development of any society", the minister said. He further said that the theme of this year's World IP Day which was "Powering Change: Women in innovation and creativity" was very much relevant to the modern times need. The minister highlighted the importance of realization of taking benefit from women's intelligence and aesthetic sense by engaging them in different fields of everyday activities.

 and said that the 2018's World IP Day theme was an acknowledgement and gratitude to this fact.

Malik stressed for providing equal opportunities to all genders for utilizing their skills, knowledge and expertise in the areas like science, technology, arts, medicine, services and international trade and expressed the confidence that it was the only way for achieving a healthy and robust growth of not only economy but society as well.

Talking about involving research and academia in the process of creating awareness about IP rights, the minister said, "Twenty-seven universities and research institutes in Pakistan have been linked to the world IP community under the Technology Innovation Support Centers (TISCs) programme with active support of Higher Education Commission (HEC) and World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)". This has been done to engage large number of female students and women entrepreneurs to register their IP creations with IPO-Pakistan registries.

The minister assured unflinching support to IPO-Pakistan for the protection of IP rights in the country and continuing working for the improvement of IP ecosystem in Pakistan.

Earlier, Additional Secretary (Trade Policy) Javed Abid in his remarks symbolized empowering of women with empowering of societies and said that this empowerment ultimately leads to development and prosperity of the societies.

He said that IPO was putting up great efforts for engaging institutional stakeholders in creating awareness about IP rights and expanded its enforcement coordination mechanism to encourage IP rights holder to register their IPRs. IPO-Pakistan Director General M Irfan Tarar thanked the chief guest, speakers and audience for attending the seminar and highlighted the achievements of IPO-Pakistan.

He said that in the short span of time, IPO-Pakistan has achieved milestone achievements including; streamlining of IP system, intensified IPR awareness campaign, and establishment of TISC centers in universities and upgradation of IP Laws.

He said reviving of automation project, e-filing, e-payment and e-search for IP applications will be initiated shortly.

Different speakers highlighted different aspects of IP rights, innovation and women role in this regard.

Prominent among the speakers include; Fatima Jinnah Women University Vice Chancellor Prof Dr Samina Amin Qadir, Pakistan Institute of Fashion & Design VC Prof Hina Tayyaba Khalil. Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Lahore President Falahat Imran and Ejaz Gul, prominent film writer.