Dar satisfied with PSE divestment

Islamabad (Staff Reporter): Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Saturday expressed his satisfaction over the divestment process of Pakistan Stock Exchange, which is being facilitated by the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP). Finance Minister chaired a meeting to review the progress regarding the divestment of shareholding of Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX). Chairman SECP briefed the Minister and informed him about the overwhelming response received from foreign and local institutions against the Expression of Interest (EoI) invited by PSX. The Finance Minister was briefed the received EoIs are currently being scrutinized by the SECP which will be followed by the due diligence, bidding process etc. The SECP has held detailed consultative sessions with senior market professionals and experts who have endorsed institutional shareholding structure for the stock exchange, including local and foreign investors. This is expected to bring in the desired international expertise, technology, improved governance at the Board level and create international linkages for attracting foreign investment.

The local institutional participation will assist in enhanced capital market outreach, local market knowledge and overall objective of the government for financial inclusion.

Manulife reports strong APE sales

HONG KONG (Reuters): The Manulife group of companies operating in Hong Kong reported financial results for the second quarter and first half of 2016, marked by strong growth in annualized premium equivalent (APE) sales. Guy Mills, Chief Executive Officer of Manulife (International) Limited, said: “We have seen very strong APE sales growth in the second quarter. This included contributions from our agency force, bank partners and brokers, testifying to the success of our multiple distribution channels. Higher APE sales brought us higher new business value2, which highlights the high quality of our new business.” Mr. Mills continued: “Our strengthened bancassurance partnership with DBS allowed us to reach a wider customer base. And we have been first-to-market with innovative new insurance products, such as an iGenes Pharmacogenomic test for eligible buyers of ManuSilver Care. We have continued to promote healthy living through the ManulifeMOVE program, which also brought greater engagement with customers and earned us many industry awards.

Our profile as a trusted brand among Hong Kong consumers was heightened with a series of brand awards, all of which confirm that our customer-centric approach is on the right track.”

Manulife Hong Kong’s APE sales in the second quarter of 2016 were HK$953 million, a significant increase of 40% from HK$680 million in the same quarter of 2015, attributable to increasing insurance sales from all distribution channels and successful sales campaigns. These, together with new product launches in the first quarter, have resulted in an increase of 44% in half-year APE sales to HK$1.8 billion from HK$1.3 billion in the first half of 2015.

LG opens premium brand shop in Lahore

Islamabad (PR): LG Electronics, the global leader and technology innovator in electronics brands, opened a premium brand shop in Lahore on Saturday, which is designed to serve customers with a wide array of LG products, thus, catering to their needs at a local level. This premium brand shop will be the first life style gallery setup that will house a complete range of home appliances and home entertainment products destined to serve the growing need of premium Pakistani customers. This will also serve as a one window solution to those who seek electronic products under the umbrella branding of LG and will therefore be able to avail the opportunity to experience a complete range of technologies and innovations under one roof. “Our aim is to delight our potential and existing customer base with premium quality products and be able to come down at a level where we can understand and cater to their needs so as to become a significant part of their daily lives,” said Yong Geun Choi, President LG Gulf.

Minister sees vast scope for expanding Pak-Lanka trade ties

Islamabad (Staff Reporter): Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on Saturday said that there was tremendous scope in further strengthening the economic and trade relations between Pakistan and Sri Lanka. He made these remarks while talking to Finance Minister of Sri Lanka. Karunanayake was in Islamabad as head of Sri Lankan delegation, which attended the 8th meeting of the SAARC Finance Ministers. Dar assured his counterpart for full cooperation of the government of Pakistan in strengthening the economic and trade relations between two countries. Karunanayake congratulated the Finance Minister on successful hosting of the SAARC Finance Ministers meeting and stated that decisions reached in the meeting would further strengthen the SAARC process. He also appreciated the exceptional economic performance of Pakistan over the past three years and said that Pakistan's economy was now closely followed the world over and particularly in the South Asian region.

The South Asian countries, he added, could learn a lot from the reform efforts in Pakistan which had not only stabilized the economy in a short span of time but put it on a firm growth path.

Finance Minister Dar appreciated the gesture of Mr Karunanayake to attend the SAARC Finance Ministers meeting personally. His presence in Islamabad, he said, was a proof of the close bilateral relations between the two countries.

Mr Karunanayake thanked Minister Dar for the hospitality extended to him and his delegation during their visit to Pakistan