Bernama - Malaysian National News Agency
February 27, 2004 16:18 PM

Aga Khan Fund Concludes Habib Bank Privatisation

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 27 (Bernama) -- The Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED) concluded the privatisation of Habib Bank Ltd (HBL) with the Privatisation Commission formally granting AKFED rights to 51 percent of the shareholding in HBL against a committed investment of Pakistani Rupees 22.409 billion (US$389 million).

"This sale represents a very important step towards enhancing potential in the financial services sector and towards reinvigorating investment by those with a solid and proven interest in growing this country's economy," Finance Minister Shaukat Aziz said in a statement in Pakistan made available to Bernama here Friday.

Underlining the importance of a transparent process, Dr Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Minister for Privatisation and Investment said that "privatisation of Habib Bank is a manifestation of the government policy that underscores privatisation in a fair and transparent manner for the people of Pakistan in the right way, to the right people, at the right price.

"AKFED is committed to building on the strength of the premier financial institution in Pakistan and to extending its range of activities into new areas both in Pakistan and abroad," said Iain Cheyne, Director of AKFED.

In accordance with the Commission's instructions, AKFED had effected payment for 26 percent of the shares, with the remaining 25 percent being payable over two years.

The existing senior management was expected to continue to work with directors newly appointed to the bank's board by the Government of Pakistan and by AKFED.

AKFED will be represented by Sultan Allana, who will serve as the Chairman, Zakir Mahmood, who will continue as President and Chief Executive Officer, Barrister Sajid Zahid, senior partner at Orr Dignam & Company and Iain Cheyne.

HBL was incorporated in 1941 in Bombay and moved its headquarters to Karachi in 1947 becoming the first and largest commercial bank to be established in Pakistan.

A pioneer in the introduction of new products such as automated teller machines, and travellers cheques into the Pakistani market, the bank today has more than 1,400 branches and is present in 25 countries across five continents.

AKFED is a for-profit international development agency that seeks to create economic capacity and opportunity in specific regions of the developing world.