WB approves mid-term review to

support uplift in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD (APP): The World Bank (WB) has approved a mid-term review to support social sector development in Pakistan in partnership with International Finance Corporation (IFC). According to Radio Pakistan, the World Bank (WB) will provide assistance for improvement in energy sector, service delivery and enhancing capability of institutions. The mid-term strategy is in line with Pakistan's Vision 2025 which include economic reforms, power sector reforms and sustainable solutions to financial issues. The World Bank (WB) and International Finance Corporation (IFC) also decided to increase financing by $13.3 billion for various sectors over the next three years. The World Bank (WB) and International Finance Corporation (IFC) are extending support for improvement of agriculture sector in Punjab, urban development in Karachi and for uplift of living standard of people in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Balochistan province.




Tesco to raise store staff wages by 10.5pc over two years

LONDON (Reuters): Tesco, Britain's biggest private sector employer, is to raise pay for hourly paid store staff by an inflation-beating 10.5 percent over the next two years, it said on Friday. "This reward package sees our biggest investment in store pay for a decade," said Matt Davies, Tesco's UK CEO. Tesco's move comes as the Bank of England is closely watching a pick-up in inflation for signs it might fuel higher pay settlements. However, official data earlier this month showed British workers' earnings after inflation shrinking at the fastest pace since 2014. The supermarket chain, which employs 310,000 in the UK, said the current hourly rate of 7.62 pounds ($9.70) an hour will increase to 8.42 pounds an hour by November 2018. It said that alongside a staff benefits package which includes a bonus plan and pension, the average store worker will be on an equivalent hourly rate of 9.52 pounds by November next year. The government mandated National Living Wage for workers aged 25 and over currently stands at 7.50 pounds an hour.

News of the Tesco pay increase comes two days after it said it would close a customer service centre in Cardiff with the loss of up to 1,100 jobs.


PTT investigating JDA A-18 gas

field shutdown

BANGKOK (Reuters): Thai energy company PTT is investigating a shutdown at a natural gas field in the Malaysia-Thailand Joint Development Area (JDA) in the Gulf of Thailand, it said on Sunday. PTT is also carrying out relief measures to power plants and gas stations after the JDA's A-18 block stopped operating on Saturday. Operations have yet to resume, but PTT said the shutdown is temporary. "PTT will be cooperating with producers and managing damages to be minimal for all sectors," Noppadol Pinsupa, vice president of PTT's gas business unit, said in a statement. The A-18 block is operated by PTT and Malaysia's Petronas Carigali and produces about 440 million cubic feet of natural gas per day, according to PTT. The shutdown affected two power plants in the Chana district in southern Thailand, which usually receives about 180 million cubic feet a day from the JDA. The plants will be supplied with diesel fuel in the meantime, PTT said.

PTT also said it will supply 5 million cubic feet per day of substitute NGV gas to 10 of 16 affected gas stations in five provinces and 255 million cubic feet per day of natural gas from other sources to eastern Thailand.


Allianz sells private bank OLB to Apollo

for 300 million euros

BERLIN (Reuters): German insurer Allianz said it had agreed to sell its 90 percent stake in private bank Oldenburgische Landesbank (OLB) to U.S. private equity firm Apollo for 300 million euros ($336 million). Apollo, which is consolidating the northern German banking market and has also signaled interest in HSH Nordbank, said it would attach OLB to its Bremer Kreditbank, which it bought in 2014. Allianz, which announced the sale agreement on Friday, had said last September it was exploring options for OLB, Germany's largest regional private bank by assets. It acquired OLB as part of Dresdner Bank in 2001 and had said was no longer of strategic importance. New EU capital rules at the start of last year have been prompting insurers such as Allianz to review whether the profit they gain from stake holdings is worth the regulatory capital they are required to hold. Apollo will make an offer to the other 10 percent of OLB shareholders.

The price it is paying Allianz represents 14.30 euros per share, compared with OLB's closing price on Friday of 18.30 euros per share.

Allianz said it would continue to cooperate with OLB to distribute insurance.