No matter what the industry may be going through, a player as big as National Investment Trust Limited (NITL) will continue to please its investors. Armed with a proficient fund management team, NITL aptly knows how and when to alter its portfolio mix to flaunt fine returns.
Earlier this month, the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service published its annual report on Pakistani commodities, giving a 2015 forecast of 25.5 million tons of wheat, which is more or less in line with the record production of 25.3 million tons last year. Meanwhile, the FAO forecasts a record 26.4 million tons. Given the optimistic numbers and the recent boom in production that has left us with a surplus, one assumes all is well in the wheat industry. But trust mismanagement to creep in and foil the party.
One sector that should have benefited from declining crude oil prices is the domestic oil refining business as the continued weakness in oil prices results in improvement in gross refining margins – critical factor for refineries. The recent financial performance of Attock Group’s two refineries has seen improvement compared to their 1HFY15 performance where both were in a loss.
The only country that Pakistan has managed to beat in South Asia’s GDP race is Afghanistan. The World Bank’s recently released report titled, “South Asia Economic Focus Spring 2015 - Making the most of cheap oil”, forecasts Pakistan GDP growth to stay around 4.4 to 4.6 percent over the next two years led by low inflation, fiscal consolidation and the rebuilding of external accounts.
Its funny how history has come back full circle. In 1998, under the leadership of Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan did not compromise its nuclear programme despite strong pressure from the West and sanctions thereafter. The objective was to upgrade our security apparatus and prevent the balance of power from being shifted in Indias favour. Not that this column advocates nuclear warfare, or building nuclear arsenal at the cost of economic development, but the idea back then was to bolster our security and ensure sovereignty.
Did you know that a handful of 5 companies in Pakistan paid almost a quarter (24.1%) of corporate income taxes collected in the fiscal year ending June 2014? Four of these were government-owned firms - namely PPL, PSO, OGDC and Government Holdings (Private) Limited - and the fifth was MCB Bank. Minus MCB and you has a situation where one-fifth (21%) of the corporate income tax is being collected from governments own companies. Need one say more!
These are not good times for the telecom giant. The Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (KSE: PTC) yesterday released its first quarterly results for this calendar year. The results are disappointing - though not surprising - and come after CY14, when the top line had barely budged and net profits slid by about 60 percent year-on-year on account of external factors and internal restructuring.