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News // Asia

Pakistan Lures Overseas Investors

08 November 2006 , 09:43610
Pakistan will meet the target of selling shares in five oil and gas companies this fiscal year, including global depositary receipts in the biggest explorer, said Zahid Hamid, the minister in charge of asset sales.

The government will sell as much as 15 percent of Oil & Gas Development Co., the biggest explorer, to overseas investors by the end of December, while shares in Pakistan State Oil Ltd., the biggest fuel retailer, Pakistan Petroleum Ltd., the largest gas producer, and Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Ltd. and Sui Southern Gas Co. will be sold by the June 30 fiscal year-end, Hamid said in an interview yesterday in the capital Islamabad.

Pakistan's government intends to lure overseas investors and will help repay about $35 billion of overseas debt. The economy, which is targeted to grow at an annual pace of as much as 8 percent for the next five years, will probably expand 7 percent this year, from 6.6 percent last year, Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz forecast Nov. 5.

The government aims to sell a 51 percent stake in State Oil by December 2006, said the minister, who took charge in April this year. Saudi Arabia's al-Jomaih Holding, United Arab Emirates-based Al-Ghurair Investment and Abu Dhabi Group have been short-listed by the government as bidders.

"I don't anticipate any major delays even if it goes beyond December,'' Hamid said.

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