Nestlé records 5.8pc growth in profit

LAHORE (Staff Reporter): Nestlé Pakistan boosted its overall earnings by 3.47% for the six months ended on June 30, 2016. Nestlé Pakistan has witnessed an overall increase in its total revenue by almost Rs 3.1 billion. Nestlé Pakistan revenue stood at Rs. 56.3 billion, 5.8 % higher compared to the same period last year. This was achieved in an environment of continued low inflation and competitive pricing and is in line with the company’s expectation. After an impressive display of a strong financial performance in the first quarter of 2016, Nestlé Pakistan has again posted encouraging results for the Second quarter and first Half of 2016. Additionally, its earnings per share have increased from Rs 136.83 per share in 2015 during the same period to Rs 141.58 per share in 2016. The gross profit margin increased by 235 bps compared to last year as a result of improved product mix, favorable input costs and a relatively stable Pak Rupee. Nestlé Pakistan’s operating profit increased to Rs. 10.8 billion translating into 8.76 % growth versus the same period last year.

This was achieved as a result of improved gross margin and effective cost management. The Company has a cautiously optimistic positive outlook for the rest of the year. The focus remains on driving sustainable profit growth with healthy stock levels and freshness of products in trade.

1st World Islamic Finance Forum in Sept

LAHORE: (Staff Reporter): Centre for Excellence in Islamic Finance at IBA is planning to organise an International Islamic Finance Conference on 5th and 6th September 2016. World Islamic Finance Forum (WIFF) 2016 is a unique conference being organized by CEIF IBA to bring together researchers, academicians and practitioners for generating innovative ideas to stimulate Islamic finance growth while overcoming present day industry challenges. This academic cum industry conference is designed to highlight the roadmap for future taking into consideration macroeconomic goals, business needs, social objectives, capacity building requirements, standardization issues, legal and Shari’ah implications. Key personalities from the global Islamic finance arena have agreed to participate in the conference to jointly carve out the roadmap for the Islamic Finance industry. Participants from USA, Malaysia, Bahrain, Jeddah will be attending the conference.

Potential of marble, granite discussed

ISLAMABAD (APP): Pakistan Stone Development Company (PASDEC) here on Friday briefed Chief Minister Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) Hafiz Hafiz-ur-Rehman on potential of marble and granite in the region. On the occasion, CEO PASDEC offered to extend all possible support to the government of Gilgit-Baltistan in its endeavor to upgrade the sector and provide for better employment opportunities to the locals, said a statement. It was also agreed between the stakeholders that a MoU would be executed comprising precise actions to uplift the sector in the coming days. It is pertinent to mention here that PASDEC has been established by the Ministry of Industries and Production, Government of Pakistan, for upgradation of the marble and granite sector of the country. PASDEC has introduced mechanized mining in the Country which has reduced considerable wastage of the Natural Resource besides providing for state of the art mining machinery to the mine owners and skill development in mosaic, inlay and handicrafts.

Oil up on output prospect, weaker dollar

LONDON (AFP) :  World oil prices rallied this week, extending a strong run since the start of August, on prospects that producers may strike a deal to limit high output. Brent North Sea crude on Friday rose above $51, reaching the highest level since just before Britain’s vote to quit the EU that sent markets crashing. Brent struck $51.22 a barrel — a peak since June 22 on the eve of the Brexit referendum. The rally was thanks also to a weaker dollar, according to analysts. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) meanwhile hit a near seven-week high of $48.71 on Friday.  “The prospect of co-operation between OPEC and Russia to freeze output (around current levels) has been a crucial driver of recent gains,” said Dorian Lucas, analyst at energy research group Inenco. Falls in the US currency this week have also helped to boost demand for dollar-denominated crude.  The dollar slid mid-week after the minutes from the Federal Reserve’s last meeting suggested central bankers would remain cautious regarding the raising of US interest rates.

Oil prices have meanwhile roared back to enter a bull market since the beginning of August, rallying more than 20 percent from below $40 a barrel.

“After briefly entering bear market territory as defined by a 20 percent drop from a peak at the start of the month, the market for Brent oil has completed a remarkable U-turn and has now reentered a bull market,” said David Cheetham, market analyst at trading group XTB.

“The rally from last week’s low of around $43.50 to... above $51 has been pretty incredible in both the size and severity of the move.

“The main fundamental development has been the OPEC meeting that is being held next month and hopes have been raised that finally the organisation can agree on some form of output freeze,” Cheetham added in a note to clients.

Members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and their rivals outside the group are to meet informally in Algeria in September, and there have been hints their talks could include ways to tackle an oversupplied crude market despite signs of the glut coming down.

“With Brent crude trading back above $50 a barrel and WTI potentially also looking to cross the threshold soon enough, a deal is clearly at least partially priced in,” said Oanda’s senior market analyst Craig Erlam.

“Should no deal be forthcoming then we could quickly see prices heading back towards $40 once again.”

— End to supply glut? —

Prices have won support this week also from official data showing falls in US commercial stockpiles of both crude and gasoline.

The Paris-based IEA energy watchdog is predicting that the global oversupply which has dogged prices for much of the past few years will disappear in the latter part of 2016.

At the same time however, the International Energy Agency has cut its 2017 forecast for oil demand growth because of a weaker outlook for the world economy following Britain’s vote in favour of exiting the European Union.

Around 1230 GMT and following profit-taking, Brent for delivery in October stood at $50.58 a barrel, down 31 cents compared with the close on Thursday.

WTI for September delivery was 19 cents lower at $48.03.