PIA privatisation: Govt to start marketing in June

Published: May 24, 2016


LONDON: Pakistan will begin the marketing process next month to sell a 49% stake in Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) and plans to list shares in several power utility firms this year, Privatisation Minister Mohammad Zubair said on Monday.

“We are going to start the soft marketing in June,” Zubair told Reuters in an interview on the sidelines of an investment conference organised by Renaissance Capital.

“We have to understand the market and what the market is looking for,” he added. “We are looking for another investor, it could be an airline but doesn’t have to be, but we are just looking for one.”

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had made the privatisation of PIA a top goal when he came to power in 2013.

Parliament adopted a law in April to convert PIA into a limited company but it prevented the government from giving up management control.

Zubair said this clause would apply only for a two-year period, after which the government could sell the whole stake.

The privatisation of 68 state-owned companies, including loss-making enterprises such as PIA, Pakistan Steel Mills and power distribution companies, is a major element of a $6.7 billion International Monetary Fund package.

Fierce resistance to privatisation by opposition parties and labour unions has made the programme politically sensitive.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 24th, 2016.

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