Pakistan Plans to Privatize Two More Companies

Pakistan plans to list two more public sector companies in the first quarter of 2004 after a successful public offering of the country's biggest oil and gas exploration firm Oil & Gas Development Co.

According to a statement by the country's privatization body, Privatization and Investment Minister Hafeez Shaikh has told government ministries to speed up the sale of minority stakes in public sector companies.

The government plans to launch initial public offerings for Pakistan Petroleum Ltd., which operates the country's biggest natural gas fields in Sui, and for power firm Kot Addu Power Co., in which U.K.-based International Power PLC already has a minority stake.

"The process of the appointment of lead managers for Pakistan Petroleum Ltd. and Kot Addu Power Co. is at an advanced stage," the Privatization Commission said.

Pakistan also plans to sell further stakes in the first quarter of 2004 in state-run companies that are already listed. These include a stake of up to 10% in Sui Southern Gas Co. and 5% of Pakistan International Airline Corp.

The government sold 5% of the shares of Oil & Gas Development Co through country's stock exchanges as part of its privatization program.

The offer was oversubscribed by almost nine times.