Arif Habib announces Rs2.9b

profit after tax

LAHORE (Staff Reporter): The Board of Directors of Arif Habib Corporation Limited (AHCL) has announced a profit after tax of Rs. 2,901.86 million for the half year ended, December 31, 2014 as compared to Rs. 1,425.27 million in the corresponding period in 2013 translating into an EPS of Rs. 6.40 for the half year compared to EPS of Rs. 3.14 in the same period last year. The Company’s strong earnings performance is a result of its strategic investments which include the fertilizer, real estate, steel, cement, energy, securities brokerage, asset management and corporate finance sectors.

 AHCL’s positioning and presence in key sectors of the economy is expected to yield satisfactory performance in the coming half year.

PCJCCI initiates process for

Pak-China JVs in higher education

LAHORE (Staff Reporter): Pak-China Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCJCCI) has initiated a process to develop joint ventures between Pakistan and China in the field of higher education. In this regard a meeting of the Jiangsu Chamber of Commerce and Industry was arranged under aegis of the PCJCCI with University of Management and Technology (UMT) at UMT main campus. Mr. Wang Guogui, Supervising President Jiangsu Chamber led the Chinese delegation, which attended the meeting. Dr. Hasan Sohaib Murad, Rector UMT along with his team attended the meeting from UMT side.

The meeting discussed prospects of developing joint degree programs in business, Information Technology and Chinese language. Mr. Guongui, Leader of the Jiangsu Chamber offered Chinese expertise and information technology support to the education institutes in Pakistan. He was confident that bilateral collaboration in the fields of higher education could produce graduates of international standards in Pakistan, which could not only serve Pakistan, but also play significant role in the international business activities.

Pakistan loses Rs26b per year

in illegal tobacco trade

LAHORE (Staff Reporter): Pakistan loses almost Rs. 26 billion per year due to illegal tobacco trade, Philip Morris Pakistan Limited (PMPKL) stated in a detailed presentation to Director General I&I (IRS). Quoting, the latest Asia-14 illicit indicator 2013, a report launched by International Tax and Investment Center and Oxford Economics, PMPKL said that illegal tobacco trade is on rise in Pakistan, which is rated fourth in the Asia region in illicit tobacco trade.  According to the report the share of Non-Domestic Illicit Consumption increased alarmingly by 14.8pc, from 3.0 billion cigarettes in 2012 to 3.4 billion cigarettes in 2013.

Domestic Illicit Consumption accounts for a significant proportion of total illicit consumption in 2013, contributing 82pc to total illicit consumption of cigarettes that is causing huge economic loss to national exchequer.

DG I&I (IRS) and his team were briefed that according to International Tax and Investment Center and Oxford Economics report smuggling of cigarettes in Pakistan represents about 18pc of the total illicit market. The rest is due to local manufactures that are not paying taxes.

The DG I&I (IRS) also noted that some local manufactures are selling their brands illegally below the minimum sale price of cigarettes per pack (42) set by the government of Pakistan in Federal Excise Act. Some are offering rebates and even cash-back through cigarette packs to attract customers, which is unlawful as per SRO 1086 of the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination.

Global coal price likely to fall further

ISLAMABAD (APP): Coal prices, already down 52 percent since 2011, are forecast to keep falling. The rout shows that exporters’ OPEC-like tactics of trying to squeeze out high-cost producers have been frustrated by the rising dollar. A 19 percent jump since July in the Intercontinental Exchange’s dollar index, which tracks the greenback against 10 major peers, has helped companies that extract the power-plant fuel whose costs are measured in local currencies, Bloomberg reported. The approach is comparable to that of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries, the 12-member group that agreed in November to keep output unchanged even as a 49 percent slump in crude in the second half tested the ability of U.S. drillers to keep pumping.

 “It’s the same strategy in coal as in oil,” Guillaume Perret, a director said that in London at Perret Associates Ltd. who’s tracked and traded energy for 16 years.

 “There has been a strategy for the main miners, especially those with lower costs of production, to keep producing and push more expensive producers out of the market.”

Oil prices down in Asian trade

SINGAPORE (AFP): Crude prices were down in Asia Friday, after the US Senate approved a bill to build an oil pipeline from Canada to refineries in the US Gulf Coast, adding to concerns over a supply glut. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate for delivery in March was down three cents to $44.50 in volatile afternoon trading, while Brent for March eased 35 cents to $48.78. WTI fell below $44 a barrel at one point in New York trade Thursday, a level not seen since March 2009.  The US Senate also on Thursday approved a bill authorising construction of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to the United States.

After weeks of at-times fierce debate, the bill passed with 62 votes to 36, with nine Democrats defying President Barack Obama to support a project that would transport crude from Alberta’s oil sands to refineries along the US Gulf Coast.

The House of Representatives approved its own Keystone legislation earlier this month and now must decide whether it passes the Senate measure or enters into bicameral conference to thrash out a compromise bill.

“The Keystone pipeline will move US oil production more efficiently in the long term, and in the grand scale of things this will further exert downward pressure on oil prices,” said Shailaja Nair, associate editorial director at energy information provider Platts.

Oil has lost more than half its value since June last year when the commodity was sitting at more than $100 a barrel due to a global supply glut, boosted largely by robust US shale oil production.

According to the US Department of Energy, crude oil stockpiles last week surged to the highest level since 1982, according to its weekly tracked data. US production, meanwhile, rose to the highest level since at least 1983.

The OPEC oil cartel’s decision last November to maintain output levels despite the crude oversupply is also weighing down on prices in the face of weak demand from slowing economies worldwide.