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. 


ACCA and Board of Investment work together on “Ease of Doing Business” reforms


Karachi(Cliff News)During a meeting with Helen Brand OBE, Chief Executive, ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants), Board of Investment (BoI) Chairman Haroon Sharif said that the government is focused on addressing the structural problems in the economy to ensure export-led development and achieve stabilisation through development of human resource in the country.Highlighting some of the structural issues, the BoI chairman said that the professional bodies such as ACCA has a significant role to play in the development of human resource in the fields of corporate management, particularly corporate finance. Helen Brand highlighted that ACCA is training professionals on the line of fulfilling the requirements of digital age and is inculcating the highest standards of ethics and professionalism.“We are looking for tangible partnerships with private sector to bring in their knowledge and expertise to get the desired results.” – Haroon Sharif, Chairman, Board of Investment (BoI)The ACCA team also shared some of the insights on ‘Ease of Doing Business’ and overall business environment in Pakistan. Haroon Sharif appreciated the efforts of ACCA in finding the gaps in the policy and implementation and asked them to share concrete recommendations with the BoI, which is the Secretariat for ‘Ease of Doing Business’ reforms in the country.Earlier, Helen Brand OBE called on the Chairman of Audit Oversight Board (AOB), Mr. Tariq Iqbal Khan in Islamabad to explore opportunities for future partnerships. Senior representatives from the AOB, including Usman Hayat, Chief Executive Officer and Shahid Karim FCCA, Chief Regulatory Officer were also present at the meeting.Helen also met with Zia ul Mustafa Awan, President, ICMA Pakistan to discuss greater collaboration between both the professional accountancy bodies in developing the accountancy profession in Pakistan. Helen was also joined by Alan Johnson, Deputy President, International Federation of Accountants (IFAC) and Chair of ACCA’s Accountants for Business Global Forum.Helen Brand OBE was in Pakistan to attend the third edition of Leaders in Islamabad Business Summit. Powered by ACCA’s award-winning Professional Insights and featuring business leaders and luminaries from around the world, ACCA joined the summit as a Knowledge Partner.On the sidelines of the summit, Helen also attended different sessions hosted by country’s top leadership, most notably the sessions hosted by Prime Minister Imran Khan, President Dr. Arif Alvi and General Zubair Mahmood Hayat NI, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee.



ACCA announced Pakistan Leadership Conversation 2019


Lahore(Cliff News)Current and future issues facing the business in Pakistan and the role of business leaders in shaping the economy will be the main focus at the annual conference ‘Pakistan Leadership Conversation 2019 (PLC 2019)’ announced by ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants), with high-profile events in Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad starting 18 February.Pakistan Leadership Conversation (PLC) is a series of conferences that brings together prominent thought leaders from the public and private sectors and engage them in thought-provoking and future-focused conversations that aim to shape the future of society and economy in Pakistan. The conference features influential business leaders at the top of their profession and brings together hundreds of business professionals from across the globe.The British High Commission Islamabad has also joined ACCA as a co-organiserfor this conference. The agenda at the PLC 2019 will examine a wide range of key topics from institutional reforms to global competitiveness to digital revolution. There will be six panel discussions in which experts will discuss in detail the need for strategic business leadership possessing the right blend of ethical and professional skills to meet the demands of an uncertain future. Importantly, there’s a dedicated session planned for the leading policy makers and business operators to debate the implications of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).Speaking of the conference, Sajjeed Aslam, head of ACCA Pakistan says:“With an evolving business environment bringing a range of new challenges, the primary theme of this year’s PLC is ‘Strategic business leaders – capacity and character’ to rethink and redefine the role of business leaders of the future.”Attendees will have the best opportunity to discover updates in FinTech, taxation, global trade and China’s Belt and Road Initiative and will get exposure to global thought leaders including the President of ACCA, Mr. Robert Stenhouse who will be delivering a keynote at the conference.Started in 2017, Pakistan Leadership Conversation has now become an important annual event for those who want to keep abreast with the way the business world and accountancy profession is evolving.The conference will also be complemented by three corporate networking dinners celebrating the achievement of young ACCA affiliates who have attained membership in the year 2018-19.

About ACCA:

ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants, offering business-relevant, first-choice qualifications to people of application, ability and ambition around the world who seek a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management.ACCA supports its 208,000 members and 503,000 students in 179 countries, helping them to develop successful careers in accounting and business, with the skills required by employers. ACCA works through a network of 104 offices and centres and more than 7,300 Approved Employers worldwide, who provide high standards of employee learning and development. Through its public interest remit, ACCA promotes appropriate regulation of accounting and conducts relevant research to ensure accountancy continues to grow in reputation and influence. ACCA has introduced major innovations to its flagship qualification to ensure its members and future members continue to be the most valued, up to date and sought-after accountancy professionals globally.Founded in 1904, ACCA has consistently held unique core values: opportunity, diversity, innovation, integrity and accountability.

No change in Government policy on foreign ownership

Karachi(Cliff News)In a meeting with members of Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OICCI) on 1stFebruary, at OICCI Karachi, Mr Abdul Razak Dawood, Advisor to the Prime Minister on Commerce, cleared the confusion caused by a recent statement by some authorities, and confirmed that there is no change in Government policy on 100% foreign shareholding allowed in legal entities incorporated in Pakistan. He further clarified that to encourage MNCs to set up JVs with local partners the government will need to give some incentives. The Advisor also emphasized on the need for large foreign investment in the manufacturing sector to promote value added exports and import substitution. Mr Dawood also assured that level playing field will be provided to existing investors, as well as new local and foreign investors.OICCI members’ issues shared with the Advisor, included concerns on the effective protection of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) for trademarks, patents’ and copy rights and to make the Intellectual Property Organization Policy Board functional as it has not met since late 2016.The Advisor on Commerce and Investment assured the largest bloc of foreign investors in Pakistan that the Government of Pakistan led by PM Imran Khan is highly focused on improving Ease of Doing Business and is committed to go the extra mile to facilitate investment and commerce in the country. In this respect he referred to the recent economic reforms package announced by Minister of Finance on  23rd January and BOI Chairman’s recent media briefing highlighting various steps to facilitate SME’s and other businesses in the area of tax compliance, property registration and other aspects of Ease of Doing Business.The Adviser also informed participants that the government will soon announce a new ‘Industrial Policy’ and “National Tariff Policy’, in coordination with each specific sectors and also assured that the GoP was focused on improving interprovincial coordination.OICCI members shared growing interest and optimism in the government’s efforts to create a more friendly business enabling environment and recommended that the GOP should provide clarity on the Special Economic Zones and revised Investment Policy to further accelerate FDI in the country.Some of the OICCI members were extremely concerned on the growing abuse of Afghan Transit Trade Facility impacting the manufacturers in Pakistan, which, the Advisor assured, was already in the knowledge of the government authorities and some corrective action will be forthcoming soon.

About the OICCI:

Established in 1860, the Overseas Investors Chamber of Commerce & Industry (OICCI) serves as a platform to promote foreign investment, thereby playing a major role in the growth of commerce and industry in the country. The OICCI is the collective voice of close to 200 members, representing nearly all the largest foreign investors in Pakistan, who come from 35 different countries and operate in 14 different sectors of trade and industry. In its comprehensive function as a facilitator to foreign investors, OICCI plays a vital role on several fronts and the Chamber is frequently called upon to assist the government in policy formulation in the financial, commercial and industrial sectors, particularly where it impacts foreign investment. 56 OICCI member companies are listed on the Karachi Stock Exchange. Nearly 50 Members are associates of the Global Fortune 500 companies.

Need to raise awareness about fortification of flour, ghee & oil stressed

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Karachi(Cliff News)Chief Executive Officer of Thardeep Rural Development Program (TRDP) Allah Nawaz Soomro has stressed the need to raise awareness about fortification of flour, ghee and oil amongst the masses particularly millers, traders, retailers and wholesalers as millions of people mostly women and children across the country were suffering terribly due to severe malnutrition.Speaking at an Orientation Session organized jointly by KCCI, TRDP, Food Fortification Program and UK Aid, CEO TRDP said that there was absolutely no harm in fortifying flour, oil and ghee with Vitamin A, Vitamin D and other minerals which are essential for a healthy human body therefore, the importance of fortification must be promoted amongst people from all walks of life with a view to ensure a healthy society.The session was attended by President KCCI Junaid Esmail Makda, Vice President KCCI Asif Sheikh Javaid, Former Vice President Agha Shahab Ahmed Khan, Managing Committee Members, representatives from Sindh Food Authority, and others.CEO TRDP, while referring to numerous activities undertaken by TRDP in association with Government of Pakistan, Government of Sindh and UK Aid, informed that during all these activities and awareness sessions, the participants were sensitized about the addition of vitamins, iron and other minerals in flour, ghee and oil to provide nutrient filled food for children and women to overcome the malnutrition and stunted growth. “Addition of vitamins and other minerals to these household commodities would lead to disease prevention, boost immunity and improve cognitive development and productivity”, he added.He said that the around 1 million households across Sindh province have benefitted from TRDP and they have established a total of 22 offices all over Sindh with a staff of around 1400 while a total of 35,000 women have been trained so far in the agriculture and garments sectors.He suggested that TRDP can collaborate with Karachi Chamber in the field of Research & Development and both institutions can carry out studies, perform surveys and identify issues.Underscoring the need for devising legislations about fortifications of flour, ghee & oil, he said that the government was currently working on the said legislations and draft has been prepared but it was going to take a lot of time as it was at initial stages.In response, President KCCI Junaid Esmail Makda, while agreeing to CEO TRDP’s suggestion, advised to sign a Memorandum of Understanding between KCCI and TRDP so that both institutions could jointly carry out awareness campaigns in the larger interest of the country, particularly Sindh province.President KCCI pointed out that Pakistan has a high burden of malnutrition and the country is facing health and economic consequences due to under-nutrition. The National Nutrition Survey of Pakistan found that majority of children and women of reproductive age suffer from multiple micronutrient deficiencies which was a very serious issue that requires special attention.Referring to Prime Minister’s first speech to the nation, Junaid Makda said that PM Imran Khan quoted a report of the UNDP which reads that Pakistan is amongst the top five countries in the world where children die because of malnutrition. “It is really unfortunate that 45 percent of Pakistani children, that is, almost every other child, suffer from this disease”, he added.Stunting has a strong link with economic well-being and every 10 percent increase in per capita income results in decline of stunting by 3.2 percent, he said, adding that Pakistan loses $7.6 billion or three percent of its GDP each year due to malnutrition.Referring to KCCI’s liaison with Sind Food Authority, he said that the Karachi Chamber, being a socially responsible citizen, would be more than happy to work in collaboration with TRDP and extend full support to all its endeavors in Sindh.

Badiuddin Akber takes charge as CEO of CDC

badaruddin Akber CDC-urdu-1

Karachi(Cliff News)Mr. Badiuddin Akber recently took charge as the CEO of the Central Depository Company of Pakistan Limited (CDC) subsequent to formal approval by the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan.This key appointment has been made while taking into consideration that CDC is a key capital market institution and considered as the Infrastructure Backbone of the Pakistan Capital Market and is credited for the revolution that has brought transparency, credibility and efficiency to the market mechanisms. As the only securities depository in the country, CDC is entrusted with maintaining book-entry securities worth trillions of rupees and manages a diversified portfolio of businesses including Trustee and Custodial Services and Share Registrar Services.This is the third time in a row that the CEO of CDC has been selected from within its senior management. It is a testament of the company’s effective succession planning and also an expression of continued trust by the board of directors of the company on the senior management.Mr. Akber has 20 years of senior management experience in the fields of finance and operations in renowned conglomerates in Pakistan including Head of Finance and Company Secretary positions. He has also served as CFO and Chief Operating Officer at the National Clearing Company of Pakistan Limited. At CDC, he was previously serving as the Chief Compliance and Risk Officer and was also the nominated Chairman of the Oversight Committee formed by the SECP under Joint Inspection Regulations, 2015.He has extensive expertise in Financial Management, Clearing & Settlement, Risk Management, Operations, Product Development and Project Management in the Pakistan Capital Market. He has played a key role in the implementation of various significant products, services and reform measures which include Revamping of Capital Gain Tax Regime, Unique Identification Number (UIN), Institutions’ Risk Management System, Straight Through Processing of Market Settlements, and in the introduction of Leverage Products such as Margin Financing, Margin Trading and Securities Lending & Borrowing.He is a Fellow Member of the Institute of Cost & Management Accountants of Pakistan (FCMA). He also holds ACMA-CGMA (Chartered Global Management Accountants) qualification from the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA – UK) and qualification of Chartered Professional Accountant (CPA, CMA – Ontario, Canada).


President KCCI Junaid Esmail presenting crest to CG of Ukrine Yurii Chornyi

KCCI Ukraine

Karachi:President Karachi Chamber of Commerce & Industry Junaid Esmail Makda presenting crest to Consul of the Embassy of Ukraine Yurii Chornyi during his visit to KCCI. Hon. Consul General of Ukraine Engr. M. A. Jabbar, Senior Vice President KCCI Khurram Shahzad, Vice President KCCI Asif Sheikh Javaid, former Vice President KCCI Nasir Mehmood and Members of Managing Committee KCCI are also seen in the picture.




ACCA and British HC hosted event on “Ease of doing bussiness in Pakistan”

ACCA English Pics

Karachi(Cliff News)ACCA Pakistan and British Deputy High Commission held a conversation in Karachi on the ‘Ease of doing business in Pakistan’ and ‘Global Competitiveness Index’.These indices rank countries against each other based on how the regulatory environment is conducive to business operations.ACCA hosted this discussion in line with its commitment to deliver value for the economies where it operates and the pledge of ACCA members in Pakistan to drive GDP growth by 7% as well as improving the ranking of Pakistan to top 50 for ‘ease of doing business’ and ‘global competitiveness index’ for the next 5 years; ACCA and ACCA members continue to contribute and collaborate with thought leaders to focus on high impact actions as a key priority.Elin Burns – British Deputy High Commissioner and Director for Trade for Pakistan, in her address said, “It is great to see the government on a federal and provincial level making progress on creating ease of doing business and mobilising domestic and foreign investment. These reforms, bringing Pakistan 11 places up in the World Bank’s latest report are important for Pakistan’s economic prosperity and improving the overall business climate. ACCA’s commitment to this agenda is commendable and we hope to see more organisations taking a lead role on this front.”The event was marked by a high-octane panel discussion which was moderated by Faisal Qamar, Managing Partner, HRSG BPO. The conversation leadersincluded Naeem Zamindar, former Minister of State and former Chair of Pakistan Board of Investment, Syed Muhammad Shabbar Zaidi, Territory Senior Partner & Chairman, A.F. Ferguson & Co. Chartered Accountants, Ehsan Malik, Chief Executive Officer, Pakistan Business Council, Richard Morin, Managing Director, Pakistan Stock Exchange, Syed Irfan Farooq Memon, Group Head – Internal Audit, United Bank Limited, Naz Khan, Managing Director, X-Petroleum Limited and Umer Jalil Anwer, Chief Financial Officer, Siemens (Pakistan) Engineering Company Limited. The panellists concluded that the implementation of tangible and critical changes in legislation and professional capability set were essential to improve Pakistan’s ranking. They also emphasised on the importance of enabling the right talent and highlighted the key drivers for improving business function was social and financial inclusion of women and attracting local and foreign investments.“Pakistan has improved its ranking by 11 spots in the World Bank’s latest Ease of Doing Business rankings, climbing to 136th from 147th last year. It is remarkable but not sufficient, we need to improve and work diligently on the reform agenda. At ACCA we strongly believe that mountains do move and the strategic business leader across Pakistan has to demonstrate persistence and character, “said Sajjeed Aslam, Head of ACCA Pakistan.

Indus Motors announces financial results for the first Quater

Karachi(Cliff News)The Quarterly Board Meeting of Indus Motor Company Ltd. (IMC) for the first Quarter of FY 18-19 was held on October 26, 2018.The CKD and CBU sales of IMC for the quarter ended September 30, 2018 were 15,560 units, up by 1.3% compared to 15,354 units for the same period last year.The company’s sales turnover increased to Rs 34.9 billion, up 12% over Rs. 31.2 billion in the last quarter. The increase in revenue represents change in sales mix and slightly improved volumes compared to the same period last year.The profit after tax in the first quarter of FY18-19 was Rs 3.5 billion, down by 3.3% from Rs 3.6 billion achieved during the same quarter last year. Earnings per share decreased by 3.3% to Rs 44.63, as compared to Rs. 46.17 in the same quarter last year. The profit has declined mainly due to increase in cost of inputs on account of rupee devaluation against all major currencies.IMC CEO, Ali Asghar Jamali, said, “We are committed to the Pakistani market and to our loyal customers who have shown great trust in our products year on year.”The market has witnessed a slowdown on the back of rising interest rates and the restriction on non-filers from buying vehicles among other factors such as Eid holidays and consumer expectations of new models and variants.In the month of September, the Company took the wraps off the new Toyota Rush, which is a unique offering that combines the space and solid road performance of a large SUV with Toyota-guaranteed dependability, all packaged in a stylishly designed body.An interim cash dividend of Rs 32.50 per share was declared by the Board of Directors for the first quarter of FY18-19, as compared to Rs. 30 per share paid for the same period last year.

Didier Talpain for building Pak image to attract French businessmen and investors


Karachi(Cliff News)Consul General of France Didier Talpain has said that bilateral trade between France and Pakistan was not that high and it was quite low which was mainly due to persisting negative perception and misconception about the security situation in Pakistan therefore it was necessary to focus on building the image of the country. The misconception about security situation still remains in minds of many French businessmen despite the fact that the situation was much better as compared to what it had been before 2013, he added while exchanging views at a meeting with President KCCI Junaid Esmail Makda, Senior Vice President Khurram Shahzad, Vice President Asif Sheikh Javaid and KCCI Managing Committee during his visit to Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry. French CG said that it was their job at the French Embassy and its Consulate to explain it to the French business community that the security situation was much better and they were doing so with a view to promote bilateral trade and encourage investors to explore this important market where some French companies were already doing good businesses. Stressing the need for enhanced trade relations with Pakistan and expanding cooperation between the two countries, he said that many French companies are keen to come to Pakistan and invest in various fields. He also inquired about various facilities which will be provided to foreign investors intending to set up their units in Special Economic Zones (SEZs) being established in Karachi and Sindh. Earlier, President KCCI Junaid Esmail Makda, while highlighting the investment potential of Karachi, stated that with improved law and order situation, Karachi offers a lot to French investors who can surely benefit from the situation by investing or undertaking joint ventures in Karachi. He said that France and Pakistan share cordial relations based on military, defense, cultural, educational cooperation and economic ties while trade between the two countries has generally been steady. He pointed out that during 2017, Pakistan exported goods of worth $970.9 million to France as against exports of $859.7 million in 2016, showing an increase of 13%. The goods imported by Pakistan from France were recorded at $607.6 million during 2017 as against imports of $615.7 million in 2016, showing a decline of 1.3%. He also appreciated France’s support to Pakistan in grant of EU’s GSP Plus status that has helped in further enhancing bilateral trade between the two countries however, the existing trade volume was still too low as compared to the potential. He underscored the need to make collective efforts to pave way for improved trade relations between the two friendly countries. “There is also a need to enhance interaction between the business communities of Pakistan and France which, I am sure, would yield positive result and create a win-win situation for both the economies”, he added while urging the French business community to invest in the Special Economic Zones in Karachi and Sindh where they can enjoy numerous facilities including tax holiday for up to a period of 10 years, one-window facility along with uninterrupted water, electricity and gas supply. While referring to the potential for enhancing bilateral trade relations between Pakistan and France, Junaid Makda stated that France was a major supplier of defense equipment, machinery and electronics. In this regard, France can cooperate in establishing industries in Pakistan by utilizing low cost labor available here and also help in technology transfer. “Moreover, France is also a good market for Pakistani textile products, especially readymade garments, bed wear and knitwear”, he opined. Junaid Makda stated that being the Council Member of World Chambers Federation (WCF) and International Chambers of Commerce (ICC), he has been actively striving hard to play the role of bridge between KCCI and other Chambers around the world including France. In this regard, he requested French Consul General to help KCCI in signing a Memorandum of Understanding with its peer Chambers in France. He also invited French companies to participate in 16th My Karachi – Oasis of Harmony Exhibition which is scheduled to be organized in the month of April 2019 which would provide an excellent opportunity to French businesses to showcase their products and create strong linkages with their counterparts in Karachi by holding B2B meetings in a cordial atmosphere.