EMPG and OLX Group announce merger of MENA and South Asia bussinesses

Karachi(Cliff News)Emerging Markets Property Group (EMPG), a leading property portal group in emerging markets, and OLX Group, Prosus’s global classifieds business, have announced their merger in Pakistan, Egypt, Lebanon and the UAE. The agreement includes a US $150 million investment round, led by OLX Group along with existing EMPG shareholders, which values EMPG at US $1 billion after the transaction. As part of the deal, OLX Group will contribute its operations in the four countries into EMPG and will become EMPG’s largest single shareholder, owning 39% of the company. EMPG will use the new capital to develop a range of new services, creating a more seamless user experience, enhancing data transparency, and deepening market intelligence for both consumers and business users. In Egypt and Lebanon, EMPG will operate the existing OLX platforms, rolling out new services for the real estate community, as well as offering consumers a superior experience across all categories. In Pakistan and the UAE, both groups’ platforms will be operated by EMPG and will continue to operate through their well-known local brands.The aggregated value of properties sold in these markets is estimated at US $90 billion, providing a commission pool for real estate agencies of over US $2 billion per annum. This presents a great opportunity for EMPG to enhance their real estate services in these markets. “EMPG has grown at a tremendous pace since its inception,” said CEO Imran Ali Khan. “Our unique ability to scale using our proprietary tech has aided and enabled this expansion. This deal puts us one step further in our journey towards providing solutions in multiple markets to over a billion consumers around the world, expanding our classifieds offering significantly.” Martin Scheepbouwer, CEO of OLX Group, says “I’m proud of what we have built in these four markets. Our brands are household names, and currently help tens of millions of people to exchange goods and services every month. The next phase is an exciting one, with EMPG’s real estate industry expertise helping deepen the customer experience. As EMPG’s largest shareholder, we’ll have a front seat to explore how we can scale their services model further – taking our ambition to shape the future of classifieds into its next stage.”EMPG is currently present in the GCC region with Bayut, Pakistan with Zameen, Bangladesh with Bproperty, Morocco and Tunisia with Mubawab, and Thailand with Kaidee. After this deal, besides expanding to Egypt and Lebanon, EMPG will also operate OLX’s platforms in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar and Oman, and the dubizzle platform in the UAE. 

 

Infinix Hot 9 officially available in Pakistan

[Press Release] Infinix Hot 9 is officially available for customers in Pakistan (2)

Lahore(Cliff News)Infinix, the premium smartphone brand catering to the GenZ with its innovative and state-of-the-art devices, has just launched the successor to its best-selling Hot 8, the Infinix Hot 9. The new phone comes with a 6.6″ HD plus infinity O display, 16 MP Quad camera, 5000 mAh battery, and super ample storage. The Hot 9 series feature two variants, 3GB/32GB Rs. 17,999 exclusively available online on Daraz and XPark, and the Infinix Hot 9 4GB/128GB Rs. 22,999, to be available both in stores and online. The device would soon be available in three attractive color options; Violet, Ocean Wave, and Quetzal Cyan.The Infinix Hot 9 is fitted with a 6.6-inch HD plus Infinity O display, designed to enhance the consumer’s viewing experience. The phone runs Android 10 with XOS 6 on top and features a massive 5,000mAh battery, with 4-day battery life. On the front camera, the buyers get an 8 MP primary camera with flashlight, and on the rear, there’s a 16MP + 2MP + 2MP camera with auto flash.An exciting new addition to the Infinix family, the Hot 9 is the ultimate device for all the people on the go who are looking for the all-in-one solution in their smartphone. With its powerful battery performance, sleek and stylish design, the HOT 9 is going to be the best buy in user-friendly price range. Infinix has always worked to produce devices with powerful features and distinctive designs so our consumers can create their style statements with their smartphones, and enjoy all the cutting-edge features at the same time,” said Mr. Joe Hu, CEO of Infinix Pakistan.The Infinix HOT 9 is a complete package for users looking to spend time on their phones uninterrupted by the worries of charging the device. Up-to-date with the latest design and features, the HOT 9 is an exciting new and budget-friendly addition to the smartphone market.

About Infinix

Launched in 2013 and targeting the young generations, Infinix Mobile is a premium online-driven smartphone brand. With “THE FUTURE IS NOW” as the brand essence, Infinix aims to allow consumers to stand out in the crowd and to show the world who they really are. Infinix is committed to providing the most cutting-edge technologies, bold and stylish designs, keeping consumers on trend and up-to-date. Infinix’s portfolio spans five product lines – ZERO, NOTE, HOT, S, and SMART; empowering users to own innovative technologies and experience intelligent lifestyles! Infinix has a presence in more than 30 countries around the world, covering Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, Southeast Asia and South Asia.

Bank Alfalah records profit after tax of 2.821 billion

Karachi(Cliff News)The Board of Directors of Bank Alfalah Limited in its meeting held on April 26, 2020, approved the Bank’s unaudited condensed interim financial statements for the quarter ended Mar 31, 2020.The Bank’s pre-tax profit and post-tax profit stood at Rs. 4.757 billion and Rs. 2.821 billion respectively, translating into an EPS of Rs. 1.59 per share (Mar 2019: Rs. 1.76). The profit for the first quarter of 2020 depicted a decline of 9.6% versus the same period last year. This is mainly due to prudent approach adopted towards provisioning against both the credit portfolio and investment impairment. On credit front, certain loans have been subjectively downgraded, while full impairment charge has been taken on equity book instead of availing the relaxation allowed by SBP of deferring charge over the year.On the revenue front, net markup income and non-markup income showed combined growth of 7.7% with strong contribution from FX income of Rs. 1.056 billion. Last year net Markup income included recovery of suspended markup on a non-performing loan. Non Markup income was impacted by bearish stock market sentiments amid corona virus fear. Non-markup expenses were higher by 19.4% compared to same period last year largely driven by higher investment in IT and digital channels, regulatory compliances, full period impact of 49 new branches opened last year along with overall impact of inflation and rupee devaluation.Total deposits reported at Rs. 755.135 billion, lower than December 2019 level, which is a customary decline in the first quarter. The Bank’s gross advances were reported at Rs. 520.436 billion. At the quarter end, our gross advances to deposits ratio stands at 68.9% while CASA ratio at 80.6% and remains amongst the highest in the industry. The Bank non-performing advances stood at Rs. 23.502 billion and NPL ratio at 4.5%, being one of the lowest infection ratios in the industry.Bank’s Investment book has accumulated hefty unrealized revaluation gains on government securities which can increase the bank’s profitability in the following quarters.  The shareholders’ equity of the Bank improved marginally despite payment of dividend approved by the shareholders in the AGM held in March 2020.  At the close of first quarter, the Bank remains adequately capitalized with CAR at 17.25%. 

ToTok launched Ramadan virtual gathering campaign

ToTok Photo Release 3 - ‘ToTok Ramadan Virtual Gathering’ campaign launched (April 28, 2020)

Karachi(Cliff News)As communities around the world continue to practice physical distancing, ToTok—the popular instant messaging app used regularly by millions of people across the world—is giving users more ways to celebrate Ramadan this year. The ‘ToTok Ramadan Virtual Gatheringcampaign ultimately encourages people to have fun while staying safe amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Running until May 23, all ToTok users will have access to in-app seasonal competitions and the chance to win fantastic prizes, in addition to enjoying bespoke content for the Holy Month.Geared towards foodies, all ToTok users can participate in the Best Ramadan Recipe Contest launching on May 4 and the Best Ramadan Dish Contest launching on May 14. The first contest encourages ToTok users to submit a video of themselves making their favourite Ramadan recipe. For the second contest, users can submit photographs of their most unforgettable Ramadan dishes and the stories associated with them. Both competitions will follow a similar format, which will see entries published on ToTok’s competition page, where users can vote for their favourite submissions. The top five entries with the most votes at the end of the competition will be announced as winners, with the chance to win popular consumer electronics from Huawei such as its latest Huawei P40 Pro smartphone, a Huawei Watch GT 2, and the latest edition of Huawei FreeBuds wireless earbuds.In addition to the competitions, users can now greet friends and family on ToTok using the ‘Ramadan Kareem’ emoji rain within their chats, which will shower their screen with the season’s greetings. The ToTok News feature is also being tailored to provide users with the latest Ramadan updates such as a Ramadan timetable, community initiatives, and more. As always, users can keep in touch with family and friends through ToTok’s HD video calls and group video calls, bringing loved ones into the comfort of their home to share special moments such as Iftar or Suhoor. Giacomo Ziani, ToTok Co-founder, said: “This is our first time celebrating Ramadan with our users, and we wanted to honour the occasion in a fun and light-hearted way. Although the consequences of COVID-19 will impact how many of us spend our time with loved ones this Ramadan, with the power to connect virtually and engage in community competitions, ToTok users can still enjoy many of the season’s special moments with family and friends while staying safe.”ToTok is available for download to Android users on ToTok’s official website (https://totok.ai/download-android), through the Huawei AppGallery—which also offer other 3D lenses and fun features to the owners of the latest P40 series smartphones —via Samsung, Xiaomi, OPPO, and Vivo app stores, or on popular third-party stores such as Apkpure, UpToDown, Aptoide, GetJar, Softonic. 

About ToTok:

ToTok was launched in 2019 by a group of international entrepreneurs with the ambition to make it easier for people to communicate and connect with their friends, colleagues, and families around the world. Providing a free service with superior user experience, it quickly became one of the fastest-growing apps in the world, and is used today by tens of millions of people.

 

Dawlance launches the latest e-commerce website

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At a time, where the whole of humanity is making unified efforts to fight against a pandemic, by ensuring social-distancing, a lockdown has also been enforced by the Pakistan government to protect its people. However, there is an opportunity in every challenge and the current situation has also unleashed the tremendous potential of digital connectivity. It is enabling the world to communicate and work cohesively, sharing real-time information and moving rapidly towards e-Commerce, on a much larger scale.

 Dawlance – the leading producer of home-appliances in Pakistan, is a highly innovative and progressive enterprise, which has taken an exemplary initiative at this most suitable time. In order to provide the people with high quality electronic products, at their doorstep, with unmatched convenience, Dawlance has launched its highly advanced e-Commerce facility by creating a user-friendly website. The consumers can simply place orders for their favourite appliances, round-the-clock, from the comfort of their homes, or even on-the-go. The products are delivered right at their doorstep, while the buyer doesn’t need to leave their home. 

 With modern and aesthetically designed layout, the website is made while keeping consumer journey in mind. Interestingly the website is carrying along the http://www.dawlance.com.pk legacy URL which everyone is already accustomed to. Overall website is divided into corporate and product section which fulfils the purpose of specific website visitors. Additionally, the home page has direct category tabs, access to media, new arrivals and most importantly a live chat widget which will be active 24/7 where queries will be looked after by community management team. Most importantly, considering that 74 million people in Pakistan have 3G or 4G connection and Dawlance has 80% mobile visitors the website is mobile responsive.

One of the most important sections incorporated in the new website is the SHOP NOW section, which is the utmost need of the hour for consumers. Dawlance consumers can now buy their favourite DAWLANCE appliance from the comfort of their living rooms either on COD or debit/credit card without any hassle. This is a much-needed feature that will greatly help Dawlance serve its customers at all times.

‘Life at Dawlance’ is another exciting page, highlighting info-tainment activities, awareness events held by Dawlance, to reflect the fun-side of the brand. It also tells the world about the personal achievements and passions of the Dawlance personnel. While the “About us” section provides a deeper understanding of the vision, objectives, corporate philosophy, investments, research and social-contributions of Dawlance and its leadership. Therefore, this website provides insights and inspiration to our domestic-consumers, corporate customers, export-clients, employees and all other stakeholders of the industry, about Dawlance as a responsible and sustainable enterprise, with great contributions towards the socio-economic development of Pakistan, for over 40 years now.

Arçelik – the largest enterprise in Turkey & 3rd largest manufacturer in Europe, took over Dawlance in 2016, with an initial investment of more than 36 Million Euros, followed by well over 16 million Euros of investments, by the year 2019. It has already enabled rapid expansions and competitive advantage, in production-machinery, technology-research, product-development and brand-building capacity. This global collaboration promises tremendous enrichments in Dawlance’s access to investments, resources and R&D expertise backed with multi-national experience. It inspires more robust performance and a broader vision, with strict compliance to global standards of quality, safety and energy-conservation.

Last year, Dawlance had also pioneered an ‘Internet-of-Things’ (IoT) platform, through a powerful mobile-app named – SYNC, to bring revolutionary convenience in Pakistan. This enables all forms of electronic hardware in appliances and devices to communicate and interact with each other, over the Internet. So, the consumers can remotely monitor and control all their electronic products, on-the-go.

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Getz Pharma becomes the first organization to screen all its employees

Karachi(Cliff News)Getz Pharma is proud to announce that it is the first and only organization in Pakistan to have taken the initiative of testing each and every employee for Covid-19, and to close its factory and head office in Karachi, completely, till every employee has been tested.“Getz Pharma Cares for your health has been the vision and mission from the day that the company started”, said Khalid Mahmood, the company’s Managing Director and CEO. He added that caring for people means leading from the front and proving it when there is a crisis and when people are in need. “Today we feel fulfilled to inform our employees and the world that that we are living up to our mission, once again, and proving it by our actions.” From today, April 23rd, 2020, the factory and head offices will be closed and the facility will be turned into a huge COVID-19 testing and screening facility. Fifty six employees including senior managers and directors have been trained in using the FDA approved testing kits. It is expected that the first wave of 100% testing will be completed in five days from today and all 1,300 employees of Getz Pharma’s head office and factory premises would have been tested.  The testing will be an ongoing activity based on an SOP made by the head of community health and medical research. The implementation of the testing, subsequent quarantine and re-testing based on the SOPs by WHO, will minimize or nearly eliminate the infection at Getz Pharma and its spread to its employees, to their families and to their communities. Those who are found negative will be allowed to enter the facility and work in WHO and PIC/s approved manufacturing facility and at the head office. However, those who are found positive, by testing, will be sent home on a paid leave after being counseled by trained counselors.  Getz Pharma will do aggressive contact tracing, testing within contacts and these employees will be retested after 30 days, and will come back to work only after they recover and become Covid-19 negative. In the second step, the families of all workers will be tested. All workers and their families are the most valuable and vulnerable part of the Getz family. At this difficult time of need the most support is being offered by the company. “Getz Pharma is following South Korea’s example. South Korea increased their testing ability and now has the lowest daily number of cases in the world.  I believe that this action if followed as a model, will reduce the pressure on our government for testing and will protect our employees, their families and the community”, added Khalid Mahmood. To test all employees it was decided to purchase a large number of the USFDA approved testing kits.Getz Pharma donated these FDA approved kits to the Department of Health, Government of Sindh and trained the government master trainers on the use and implementation of these testing kits. Getz Pharma is extending an open invitation to reporters from all media houses to visit the site and get free testing by showing their valid press card and NIC.“Reporters are also on the frontline of this pandemic, risking their lives by providing information to the nation, that is very crucial at this time,” said Dr. Wajiha Javed, Head of Public Health & Research. 

Getz Pharma

Getz Pharma is Pakistan’s largest pharmaceutical company with operations in over 25 countries. It is the only company whose manufacturing facility is pre-qualified and approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) Geneva as well as member countries of Pharmaceutical Inspection Corporation Scheme (PIC/S). Getz Pharma is the largest investor and the highest taxpayer in the pharmaceutical sector of Pakistan and 33rd highest taxpayer of Pakistan. It is also the highest exporter of pharmaceutical products and has received the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FPCCI) Export Trophy from the President and Prime Minister of Pakistan for 14 consecutive years. 

Reckitt Benckiser Pakistan joins forces with Ministry of Health to fight Covid-19

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Karachi(Cliff News)Reckitt Benckiser Pakistan Limited (RBPL), makers of Dettol, officially announced their collaboration with Ministry of National Health Services, Regulations & Coordination (NHSRC), Pakistan. This is the first of its kind collaboration, which will with immediate effect be looking to support the ongoing efforts in the country to fight the COVID-19 spread and protect the masses from this outbreak.As part of this collaboration, RBPL will be spreading awareness through public service messages while also educating masses about preventive measures against the virus. Talking about this collaboration, Kashan Hasan, CEO RBPL, said “In these difficult times, where there is so much uncertainty, we are certain of one thing which is we have to come together as one nation to protect our people. We are proud to support the Ministry of Health in this cause. Dettol is committed to educate and inform our people and enable them with the right tools to prevent this virus from spreading. We request all Pakistanis to adhere to social distancing, wash hands regularly and maintain hygiene, and support the Government in the measures they are taking. Together with all our efforts Hoga ‘Safe’ Pakistan!”Dr. Zafar Mirza, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health said in a statement “In this time of need, we appreciate the support and initiative by RBPL to serve the people of Pakistan. We must all come together to protect our fellow Pakistanis by educating them, by staying at home, by providing for the most vulnerable communities and by enabling our frontline workers with the tools that can assist recoveries. The purpose of this collaboration is to pool resources to reach out to maximum number of Pakistanis.” Globally known to be a leader in germ protection, Dettol has already actively been spreading awareness about COVID-19 via interactive activities, infographics and videos. Two public service messages have been aired, as part of this collaboration with the Ministry of Health, across media platforms with superstars Mahira Khan and Fahad Mustafa supporting the cause. Dettol continues to spread right awareness against the pandemic as well as donating hygiene products to various NGOs to support frontline workers as well as those vulnerable groups who might not have access to such precautionary measures.

Nestle partners with Pakistan Red Crescent Society to set up response for Covid-19 pandemic

Lahore(Cliff News)Nestlé Pakistan has stepped up its national response to COVID-19 pandemic by partnering with Pakistan Red Crescent Society (PRCS). Whereas PRCS has unmatched presence and expertise in providing first-aid, emergency response and epidemic control. This contribution by Nestlé Pakistan of PKR 5 Million will include installation of hand hygiene stations at public places, quarantine and health facilities across Baluchistan and KPK.As part of this partnership, Nestlé Pakistan will extend support to PRCS for promoting well-being for all age groups during the pandemic particularly, amongst the vulnerable communities in Baluchistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK). This will include improving the hand washing practices widely to prevent transmission of COVID-19 and improving access and utilization of essential and quality hygiene aids to vulnerable communities.Earlier, Nestlé Pakistan committed PKR 100 million rupees to meet the nutritional needs of both affectees and frontline workers in the national response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the pledge, Nestlé Pakistan is contributing through its products that include 4 million servings of milk, iron fortified dairy products, baby cereals, water and juices.Waqar Ahmad, Head of Corporate Affairs Nestlé Pakistan, said, “With our partnership with Pakistan Red Crescent Society , we will be able to provide equitable access to public hand hygiene stations along with, raising awareness about personal hygiene by distributing hygiene kits to vulnerable communities of Pakistan. This partnership is part of Nestlé Pakistan’s commitment to playing a key role in the national response to this pandemic”.Khalid Bin Majeed, Secretary General PRCS, while sharing his views said, “Nestlé Pakistan’s support to Pakistan Red Crescent Society (PRCS) for its anti-corona initiatives worth its weight in gold. The PRCS is hugely indebted to Nestlé Pakistan for the contribution and believes it will go a long way towards successfully achieving the desired objectives and help the communities against the pandemic.”Nestlé Pakistan is working tirelessly to ensure that much-needed food and beverage products are available for our consumers across Pakistan, in commitment to the strategic roadmap laid out by Prime Minister Imran Khan and respective provincial leaderships. We have also joined hands with reputable NGOs in response to their COVID-19 emergency appeals to support deserving people across Pakistan. At Nestlé, we care deeply for people and for the communities in which we operate, and we believe we have an essential role to play during the COVID-19 crisis.

About Nestlé

Nestlé is the world’s largest food and beverage company. It is present in 191 countries around the world, and its 328,000 employees are committed to Nestlé’s purpose of enhancing quality of life and contributing to a healthier future. Nestlé offers a wide portfolio of products and services for people and their pets throughout their lives.

 

EBM donates 100 million to PM relief fund for Covid-19

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Karachi(Cliff News)In a recent meeting with the Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, Dr. Zeelaf Munir, MD and CEO of EBM, Pakistan’s leading manufacturer of branded biscuits, made a commitment to donate PKR 100 million to the PM Relief Fund for COVID-19.Dr. Munir appreciated the Government of Pakistan as well as the Prime Minister for their tireless efforts as well as for the preventive measures taken to overcome the public-health challenge and to safeguard the nation’s community and economy. With regard to her company’s role in facilitating the government in their campaign against COVID-19, she said, “EBM has made a commitment to support the government in its efforts to provide food and relief to millions of deserving households during lockdown. We have also donated medical equipment to enable the provision of better healthcare at hospitals. At this time of crisis, the corporate community and the civil society must unite & contribute additional resources in order to help eliminate hunger, disease and poverty, while also paving the way for an early economic recovery.”The donation was appreciated by the Prime Minister who said, ‘We greatly appreciate this gesture from English Biscuits Manufacturers and believe that this donation will go a long way in terms of fulfilling the immediate needs of the nation.’EBM will continue its donations, in cash and kind, for the PM’s Fund and other notable charities, ensuring transparent distribution, based on Data. Social-Responsibility has always been one of the core values at EBM as it ties in with the company’s lifelong promise of ‘nourishing lives, hearts and communities’.

About EBM:

EBM has been baking nutritious delights for Pakistani consumers under the brand name Peek Freans since 1966. As one of the pioneers of the industry as well as a dominating market leader, EBM continues to innovate on each of the three fronts: product, quality, and communication.

Engro partners with Indus Hospital to boost COVID-19 testing capacity

Karachi(Cliff News)As part of the PKR 1 billion Hussain Dawood Pledge, Engro Fertilizers (a subsidiary of Engro Corporation) has committed to provide PKR 95 million in financial assistance to The Indus Hospital to expand COVID-19 testing capacity across Sindh and strengthen the health sector to cope with the ongoing pandemic.Under the “Sindh Screening Program – Free of Cost” campaign, Engro Fertilizers will sponsor The Indus Hospital Network to launch testing interventions across rural Sindh. To ensure maximum coverage of the rural population, the testing campaign will be deployed in Larkana, Nawabshah, Jamshoro, Sukkur, Tharparkar and Badin, which have seen a gradual increase in the number of cases over the past weeks. According to Ghias Khan – President & CEO of Engro Corporation, “This partnership is geared to meet the priority of improving COVID-19 testing rates in Pakistan, based on the principle of inclusion and healthcare access for all. According to National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), around 58 per cent of Pakistan’s total coronavirus cases are now locally transmitted, hence, there is a real need for concerted focus on testing and isolation to control the spread of COVID-19. We look forward to continued collaboration with the Government and expanding this program with reputable implementation partners to other parts of Pakistan as well”.Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Abdul Bari Khan – CEO of Indus Hospital, said that, “We are pleased to join Engro as an implementation partner to improve COVID-19 testing rates in Pakistan. To deal with this pandemic, it is critical that coronavirus cases are detected early and the patients are isolated to prevent transmission of the virus”.Nadir Qureshi – CEO of Engro Fertilizers added that, “Engro Fertilizers is committed to support Pakistan’s fight against COVID-19, the most pressing issue faced by the country today. Currently, Pakistan has one of the lowest per capita testing rates in the world, which could impact the efforts to contain the virus. This collaboration with Indus Hospital will enhance the outreach of testing facilities across key clusters in Sindh and InshAllah help fight this pandemic more effectively”. Under the PKR 1 billion pledge made by Chairman Engro Corporation Hussain Dawood and Dawood Hercules Corporation, COVID-19 relief efforts will be supported in services, kind and cash on multiple fronts, including:

  • disease prevention, with a major focus on testing and diagnostics;
  • protecting and enabling healthcare practitioners and other key workers, who are at the frontline of the fight against this pandemic;
  • enabling patient care and facilities; and,
  • bolstering livelihoods and sustenance of the most deserving in society.