ISLAMABAD - Pakistan’s profit-making entity, National Power Construction Company, was privatised for Rs 2.5 billion to Saudi Arabia’s M/s Mansour Al Mosaid.

The government sold 1.76 million or 88 percent of the total shares of NPCC to M/s Mansour Al Mosaid. The remaining 240,000 or 12 percent shares are in the hands of the company’s employees under the Benazir Employees Stock Option Scheme.

The government has generated more than excepted money from this privatisation deal as it projected Rs 1.969 billion with reference price of Rs 1,119 per share. Three companies participated in the bidding process for the purchase of the NPCC shares.

M/s Mansour Al Mosaid Company offered maximum price for NPCC, Rs 2.5 billion at Rs 1,420 per share. The other two bidders, Habib Rafiq-led Consortium and Zahir Khan Brothers and Reliable Engineering Limited Consortium, offered Rs 925 and Rs 344.5 per share, respectively.

“It was the first strategic sale in the last 10 years”, Minister of State and Privatisation Commission Chairman Muhammad Zubair said during the bidding process of NPCC. The government’s privatisation programme has so far been restricted to capital market transactions.

The government, in its privatisation programme, had privatised profit-making public sector entities, including Habib Bank Limited (HBL), United Bank Limited (UBL), Allied Bank Limited (ABL) and Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL).

The NPCC has been consistently profitable over the last 10 years; the balance sheet is debt-free, giving a significant room to prospective buyers to take on debt to finance expansion. The minister of state said the government would also go for the privatisation of loss-making public sector entities, including Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) and power generation companies in next six months. “PIA, PSM and Fesco are on the active list of privatization,” he added.

Later, the Cabinet Committee on Privatisation, under the chair of Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, approved with consensus divestment of 88 percent GoP shares in the NPCC.

Privatisation Commision (PC) Chairman Muhammad Zubair briefed the chair on the bidding process.

He said that out of the three qualified bidders, M/s Mansour Al Mosaid Company of Saudi Arabia, offered the highest bid of Rs 1,420 per share which was 26.9 percent higher than the CCOP approved reference price of Rs 1,119 per share and for 88 percent GoP shares. The Privatisation Commision chairman further said the PC Board in its meeting had approved the highest bid. The CCOP accordingly approved the divestment of GoP shares in NPCC in favour of M/s Mansour Al Mosaid Company, being the highest bidder.

The bidding was held Tuesday morning in the presence of representatives of bidders at Serena, Islamabad, and was chaired by the Privatisation Commission chairman. A large number of print and electronic media representatives and other stakeholders were also present.

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar congratulated the PC chairman and all the members of his team for conducting the whole process in accordance with the prescribed rules and procedures. He also appreciated the NPCC officials for according full cooperation to the PC for carrying out the divestment process.