KARACHI - Pakistan government is unlikely to offer 26 per cent shares of National Bank of Pakistan at throw away price to a Chinese bank, The Nation learnt. In a bid to attract foreign investment and foreign exchange the PPP government negotiated the sale of the shares of the state-run and the largest bank in the country, National Bank of Pakistan, to Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC). Sources said that the price of the NBP share had fallen to the bottom, at 48 rupees (on Monday) after hitting 380 rupees last year, as the stock market had crashed gradually from 15,440 points in April 2007 to below 5,000 points these days. Neither the Federal Government nor the key officials of the NBP would be interested in selling shares of the bank to a Chinese bank at a throw-away price. Sources, however, said that the NBP shares deal with the Chinese bank could materialise on off-the-book value, keeping in view the size, assets, profit, paid-up capital, number of account-holders, clients, etc. The off-the-book value is usually two to three times higher than the price of the share of the company being traded at the stock market, said sources. Pakistan Govt and China are keeping mum on this deal due to differences on the price of the shares although the deal reports hit the limelight in the media and in the financial markets when President Asif Ali Zardari visited China in October last year with the optimism to mop up foreign exchange from the friendly country. Sources also ruled out the possibility of the launching of the Global Depository Receipts of the National Bank of Pakistan saying that the stocks markets were in crisis in the world while the credit-rating of Pakistan was not favourable for this purpose. According to third quarterly report of NBP for 2008, the revenue of the bank increased by 18 percent during the nine months in CY08 (July-September) from Rs. 33 billion to Rs 39.6 billion while net profit reduced by approximately 14 percent largely on account of higher provisions. Report said that around 30 percent of the incremental provisions of NBP for nine months period ending September 30, 2008 were on account of legacy loans which had been downgraded. NBP's net interest margin registered an impressive growth of Rs 2,421million or 10 percent mainly due to growth in volumes during Jul-Sep 2008. Net advances increased by Rs 68 billion and Rs 47 billion as compared to corresponding period of last year and year end 2007 respectively. The growth in advances mainly derived from corporate and commodity financing. Deposits increased by Rs 39 billion or 7.4 percent over corresponding period last year. Compared to year end December 2007, however, the deposits decreased by Rs 30 billion or 5.1 percent mainly due to reduction in expensive deposits. Report disclosed that NBP non interest base income shown an impressive increase of Rs 3.7 billion or 42.4 percent during the quarter under review over corresponding period due to higher commission, exchange income and compensation on account of delayed tax refunds. The NBP is the largest bank in Pakistan. It has 4 branches each in Central Asia, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, 2 Branches each in USA, Hong Kong, Japan and Europe, with one branch in Bahrain and Korea.