ISLAMABAD   -  The privatisation of Heavy Electrical Complex (HEC) has entered into its final stages, which would be completed within this quarter (by December 2021) after the approval of reserve price of bidding by Cabinet Committee on Privatisation (CCOP) and the Cabinet.

The Privatization Commission on Monday said that different options for determination of reserve price for the bidding of HEC shares are being considered by the Privatisation Commission (PC), before the bidding process is initiated with the approval of the Federal Cabinet. Importantly, breakthrough has been achieved in several of the pending matters related to employees and settlement of liabilities due towards the financial institutions. PC is ensuring that no further liabilities are added on the balance sheet of HEC while Ministry of Industries & Production is also playing its positive role to retain credit rating of the entity. Also, Power Division is in agreement that no adverse action is taken against HEC by any DISCO. Settlement of long-standing dues of KPEZDMC is another milestone which has been successfully achieved with the cooperation of the concerned stakeholders.

The privatization of HEC has generated interest from a number of investors. The bidders have been prequalified by PC and the pre-bid meeting was also held in August 2021. Most of the issues raised by the pre-qualified bidders in the meeting were satisfactorily addressed. It is expected that privatisation of HEC will lead to creation of positive sentiment for the overall privatization program presently underway. Many other privatization transactions of larger ticket size and quantum are also queued up which include the two RLNG based power plants, Pakistan Steel Mills, Guddu Power Plant, and Nandipur Power Plant. The bidding of HEC is likely to be held within this quarter after the approval of reserve price of bidding by CCOP and Cabinet, said the Privatization Commission. Privatisation is a very thorough process wherein extensive due diligence and due care is involved in each phase. Starting from the financial, legal, and technical analysis of the entity being privatised to its marketing, inviting interests of potential bidders, outreaching to potential investors and most importantly clearing the encumbrances which could adversely impact the transaction. Most of the entities offered for privatisation by the Ministries are loss making and have complex financial and legal issues which take extensive efforts by Privatization Commission to bring to this level where the HEC transaction has eventually reached.

Senate Standing Committee on Privatisation meets

Meanwhile, meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Privatization was held under the chairmanship of Senator Shammim Afridi.

Implementation status on the recommendations made by the committee in its last meeting on the capacity of the NPPMCL plant should be re –evaluated and completed without further delay. In this regard the committee was apprised that Annual Capacity tests on both the power plants of NPPMCL are being conducted every year regularly and witnesses by Central Power Purchasing Agency (Guarantee) Limited (CPPA-G) as per provisions of Power Purchase Agreement (PPAs). Accordingly, the annual Capacity Tests of both the power plants were conducted on completion of 3rd anniversaries of Commercial Operation Dates (CODs) and current capacities of NPPMCL’s power plants for 4th Agreement Year are better than the agreed capacities under the PPAs: Net Capacity of Haveli Bahadur Shah Power Plant: 1176.042 MW, net capacity of Balloki Power Plant: 1164.608 MW. Briefing by the Ministry of Privatization on “Sale of properties owned/ controlled by the Federal Government” under ongoing Privatization Programme was also taken up. Auctions were held from 7th to 28th September 2020 in different cities of the country under the supervision of the auction committee. Twenty –three (23) properties having reserve price of PKR 1.01 billion were successfully auctioned for PKR 1.11 billion. Whereas three (3) properties having reserve price of PKR 5.4 billion were unable to attract any bidder. The IMC on 14th October 2020, PC Board on 21st October 2020, CCoP on 16th November 2020 and Federal Cabinet on 1st December 2020 approved the auctions and bid prices.

Advertisement for hiring of financial adviser for sale of tentative seventeen (17) properties were published on 2nd July 2021. An Evaluation Committee duly constituted under PC laws, evaluated proposals and forwarded recommendation for hiring of top ranked IP for consideration of PC Board in their for the meeting. The Chairman Committee gave directions to share with the Senate Committee copies of the approved correspondence with the Cabinet.  The committee was informed of the unsold properties includes Textile Division ( TCP 120 Kanal Land Adjacent Estate, Phase 1, Multan, Aviation Division CAA 48 Kanal 18 Marla Link Airport Road, Rahim Yar Khan and MoIP , RML 41.628 Kanal property 87 Shahrahe-Quaid-e-Azan, Lahore worth PKR 262,500,000, 162,592,500 / and 5,026,778,750/ and out of the un auctioned properties is Ministry of water resources WAPDA 2 JANAK REST House, Saidu Sharif Road, Swat, KPK worth PKR 163,200,000 the auction is postponed on KP Govt. request.

Briefing by the Ministry of Privatizations on, “SME BANK Limited’ under ongoing privatizations programme was also taken. The Committee was informed that despite all efforts and iterative interactions with the pre-qualifies bidders to date positive feedback from the pre-qualified bidder is not for the coming. Alternatively SME Bank is being proposed to be delisted so as Finance Division and SBP may proceed alternate plans to either re capitalize or liquidate the bank given piling up colossal losses resulting in negative equity in excess of PR Rs 3 .5 Billion. The chairman Committee acknowledged the current status of delisting and asked to keep the committee informed on the process of delisting.

Briefing by the Ministry of Privatization on the current status of privatization of services International Hotel, Lahore was also taken up. The chairman Committee inquired about the continuous variation in height status to which the committee was informed that height clearance from CAA was approved as 350 ft., which was further recued to 310 ft. by PAF. The approved height was one of the key parameters used to conduct Highest & best use study to determine reserve price by the FA. Nonetheless, a reference was received from CAA indicating further reduction in height in the light of latest approval of the federal cabinet. According to the revised approval, maximum of 245 ft. height has been communicated by CAA vide their letter dated 24th May, 2021 which has material impact on the valuation of the property. The committee was informed that on October 27, 2021, the Cabinet took note of the presentation by the Secretary, Aviation Division, on “height Restrictions under Rule 68 (Obstacle Limitation Surface) of CAA Rules” as well as Aviation Policy and its implementation status, highlighting any Deviations (if any) and the reason thereof” further, the Cabinet ratified the decision of the CCoP in the case Titles” Privatization of services international Hotel Lahore-Approval of Bidder and Bid Price”, taken in its meeting held on 10.09.2021, the committee was informed that upon ratification/approval of SIH bidding process by the Federal Cabinet, the Privatization Commission on November 02, 2021 has issued letter of Acceptance (LoA) to the successful bidder for completion of remaining formalities.