Monday, August 20, 2012

Strong Earnings Push KSE-100 to Highest Level in 4 Years

A string of strong earnings announcements by Karachi Stock Exchange listed companies and the Central Bank's 1.5% rate cut have helped the KSE-100 index gain 32% year to date. In the week ended on August 16, the benchmark index surged by 238.59 points, or 1.61 percent, to 51-month high of 15,000.08 points. This was the highest close since April 30, 2008.

Strong Earnings:

Last week, KSE-listed Indus Motors announced 57% jump in profits on record sales of Toyota Corolla cars.  It was followed by Lucky Cement Ltd. (LUCK), Pakistan’s largest producer of the building material, announcing 71 percent surge in profits to a record as an increase in domestic sales offset a decline in exports. Pakistan Petroleum Limited (PPL), the country’s second largest oil and gas explorer, said its profits soared 30% to Rs40.9 billion in fiscal 2012. Strong earnings have also been reported by Unilever Foods and Bata shoes in the last few days.

Best Performing Market:

 So far in 2012 Pakistan is the best performing market in Asia surpassing the Philippines which was the top performer until June of this year.  Karachi stocks have also significantly outperformed all emerging stock smarket indexes, including Mumbai and Shanghai, in 2012.

 Rising Consumer Demand: 

 Meteoric rise of Engro Foods symbolizes strong consumer demand in growing package food sector. Its CEO Muhammad Afnan Ahsan has forecast 81% increase in net income in the current year ending December 31, 2012.  With a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 65 percent and a planned infrastructure investment in 2012 of eight billion rupees, Engro Foods has become the country's fastest growing local company catering to a wide range of consumers in Pakistan and overseas. 


Undeterred by the gloom and doom reports in the media, Pakistani consumers are continuing to spend and private consumption has now reached 75 percent of GDP. It rose 11.6% in real terms in 2011-12 compared with just 3.7% growth a year earlier , according to Economic Survey of Pakistan. In fact, many analysts believe that Pakistan's official GDP of  $220 billion is understated by as much as 50%, buttressing a recent claim by the head of Karachi Stock Exchange that Pakistan's real GDP is closer to $300 billion.

I believe that even a modest effort to increase tax collection can significantly improve Pakistan's state finances to support higher public sector investments in energy, education, health care and infrastructure.
 
 Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan's Underground Economy

Pakistan Cement Sector Research Report

Tax Evasion Fosters Aid Dependence

Poll Finds Pakistanis Happier Than Neighbors

Pakistan's Rural Economy Booming

Pakistan Car Sales Up 61%

Resilient Pakistan Defies Doomsayers

Land For Landless Women in Pakistan

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Monday, August 13, 2012

Celebrating Pakistan's Growing Middle Class on 65th Independence Anniversary

Pakistan has continued to offer much greater upward economic and social mobility to its citizens than neighboring India over the last two decades. Since 1990, Pakistan's middle class had expanded by 36.5% and India's by only 12.8%, according to an ADB report titled "Asia's Emerging Middle Class: Past, Present And Future.

New York Times' Sabrina Tavernise described the rise of Pakistan's middle class in a story from Pakistani town of Muzaffargarh in the following words:

For years, feudal lords reigned supreme, serving as the police, the judge and the political leader. Plantations had jails, and political seats were practically owned by families.

Instead of midwifing democracy, these aristocrats obstructed it, ignoring the needs of rural Pakistanis, half of whom are still landless and desperately poor more than 60 years after Pakistan became a state.

But changes began to erode the aristocrats’ power.
Cities sprouted, with jobs in construction and industry. Large-scale farms eclipsed old-fashioned plantations. Vast hereditary lands splintered among generations of sons, and many aristocratic families left the country for cities, living beyond their means off sales of their remaining lands. Mobile labor has also reduced dependence on aristocratic families.

In Punjab, the country’s most populous province, and its most economically advanced, the number of national lawmakers from feudal families shrank to 25 percent in 2008 from 42 percent in 1970, according to a count conducted by Mubashir Hassan, a former finance minister, and The New York Times.

“Feudals are a dying breed,” said S. Akbar Zaidi, a Karachi-based fellow with the Carnegie Foundation. “They have no power outside the walls of their castles.”




GeoTV is illustrating  this welcome phenomenon of upward social mobility in Pakistan with a series of motivational "Zara  Sochiey" videos on young men and women who have risen from humble origins to achieve significant successes in recent years. Each individual portrayed in the series has overcome adversity and  focused on acquiring education as a ticket to improve his or her economic and social situation.

GeoTV videos feature a number of young men and women, including Saima Bilal, Kashif Faiq,  Qaisar Abbas and many others, to inspire and encourage other Pakistanis to pursue their dreams against all odds.

Contrary to the incessant talk of doom and gloom, the fact is that the level of educational attainment has been rising in recent decades.  In fact, Pakistan has been increasing enrollment of students in schools at a faster rate since 1990 than India, according to data compiled and reported by Harvard University researchers Robert Barro and Jhong-Wa Lee . In 1990, there were 66.2% of Pakistanis vs 51.6% of Indians in 15+ age group who had had no schooling. In 2000, there were 60.2% Pakistanis vs 43% Indians with no schooling. In 2010, Pakistan reduced it to 38% vs India's 32.7%.
 

As of 2010, there are 380 (vs 327 Indians) out of every 1000 Pakistanis age 15 and above who have never had any formal schooling. Of the remaining 620 (vs 673 Indians) who enrolled in school, 22 (vs 20 Indians) dropped out before finishing primary school, and the remaining 598 (vs 653 Indians) completed it. There are 401 (vs 465 Indians) out of every 1000 Pakistanis who made it to secondary school. 290 (vs 69 Indians) completed secondary school  while 111 (vs. 394 Indians) dropped out. Only 55 (vs 58 Indians)  made it to college out of which 39 (vs 31 Indians) graduated with a degree.



Education and development efforts  are beginning to bear fruit even in remote areas of Pakistan, including Federally Administered Tribal AreasThe Guardian newspaper recently reported that FATA's Bajaur agency alone has 616 school with over 60,000 boys and girls receiving take-home rations. Two new university campuses have been approved for FATA region and thousands of kilometers of new roads are being constructed. After a recent visit to FATA, Indian journalist Hindol Sengupta wrote in The Hindu newspaper that "even Bajaur has a higher road density than India"

 Prior to significant boost in public spending on education during Musharraf years, the number of private schools in Pakistan grew 10 fold from about 3000 in 1983 to over 30,000 in 2000. Primary school enrollment in 1983 has increased 937%, far greater than the 57% population increase in the last two decades.

Unfortunately, there has been a decline in public spending on education since 2008, even as not-for-profit private sector organizations, mostly NGOs, have stepped up  to try to fill the gap.  Last year, a Pakistani government commission on education found that public funding for education has been cut from 2.5% of GDP in 2007 to just 1.5% - less than the annual subsidy given to the various PSUs including PIA, the national airline that continues to sustain huge losses.


Clearly, this is not the time for Pakistan's political leadership to let up on the push for universal education. The momentum that developed in Musharraf years needs to be maintained, even accelerated to get to the goal of 100% literacy and 100% enrollment of all children in Pakistan. Nothing less will do if Pakistan is to achieve economic competitiveness on the global stage.

Here are some of  GeoTV's Zara Scohiye video clips:

 



 



Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Educational Attainment in Pakistan

Foreign Visitors to Pakistan Pleasantly Surprised

Pakistan's Infrastructure and M2 Motorway

India Pakistan Comparison 2011

Resilient Pakistan Defies Doomsayers


FMCG Consumption Boom in Rural Pakistan

Pakistan Visits Open  Indian Eyes


Friday, August 10, 2012

Indus Motors Reports Record Sales and Profits in 2012

Indus Motor Company earned Rs. 4.3 billion in net income on sales of Rs. 75 billion in 2011-12, representing an increase 57% in net income and 25% in total revenue over previous year. The company that is 37.5% owned by Japan’s Toyota Motors sold over 55,000 cars during the financial year that ended on June 30, 2012, its highest ever for a single year. Both revenues and profits were the highest in the company’s history in Pakistan, according to media reports. Pakistan's total car market was about 235,000 units in July 2011-June 2012 period.



The domestic auto industry sold 178,753 cars, 23% more than last year. The rest of the demand was met by imports of 55,000 cars in fiscal year 2012, representing an increase of 50% over last year. In addition to durables like automobiles, companies in FMCG (fast moving consumer goods) sector are also expected to report strong sales and earnings this year. Engro Foods has emerged emerged as the supercharged FMCG player with over 400 percent in bottom line in 2011, grabbing fourth position after Nestle, Unilever and Rafhan, and outpacing National Foods. The sector growth has been particularly well supported by strong rural consumption in recent years.

Here are a few key points excerpted from a recent Businessweek story on rise of the rural consumer supported by higher crop prices in Pakistan:

1. Unilever and Colgate-Palmolive Co. are sending salespeople into rural areas of the world’s sixth most-populous nation, where demand for consumer goods such as Sunsilk shampoo, Pond’s moisturizers and Colgate toothpaste has boosted local units’ revenue at least 15 percent.

2. “The rural push is aimed at the boisterous youth in these areas, who have bountiful cash and resources to increase purchases,” Shazia Syed, vice president for customer development at Unilever Pakistan Ltd., said in an interview. “Rural growth is more than double that of national sales.”

3. Consumer-goods companies forecast growth in Pakistan even as an increase in ethnic violence in Karachi has made 2011 the deadliest in 16 years for the country’s biggest city and financial center.

4. Nestle Pakistan Ltd. is spending 300 million Swiss francs ($326 million) to double dairy output in four years, boosted sales 29 percent to 33 billion rupees ($378 million) in the six months through June. “We have been focusing on rural areas very strongly,” Ian Donald, managing director of Nestle’s Pakistan unit, said in an interview in Lahore. “Our observation is that Pakistan’s rural economy is doing better than urban areas.”

5. Haji Mirbar, who grows cotton on a 5-acre farm with his four brothers, said his family’s income grew fivefold in the year through June, allowing him to buy branded products. He uses Unilever’s Lifebuoy for his open-air baths under a hand pump, instead of the handmade soap he used before. “We had a great year because of cotton prices,” said Mirbar, 28, who lives in a village outside south Pakistan’s Matiari town. “As our income has risen, we want to buy nice things and live like kings.”

6. Sales for the Pakistan unit of Unilever rose 15 percent to 24.8 billion rupees in the first half. Colgate-Palmolive Pakistan Ltd.’s sales increased 29 percent in the six months through June to 7.6 billion rupees, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. “In a generally faltering economy, the double-digit growth in revenue for companies servicing the consumer sector has come almost entirely from the rural areas,” said Sakib Sherani, chief executive officer at Macroeconomic Insights Pvt. in Islamabad and a former economic adviser to Pakistan’s finance ministry.

7.6 billion rupees, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. “In a generally faltering economy, the double-digit growth in revenue for companies servicing the consumer sector has come almost entirely from the rural areas,” said Sakib Sherani, chief executive officer at Macroeconomic Insights Pvt. in Islamabad and a former economic adviser to Pakistan’s finance ministry.

7. Unilever is pushing beauty products in the countryside through a program called “Guddi Baji,” an Urdu phrase that literally means “doll sister.” It employs “beauty specialists who understand rural women,” providing them with vans filled with samples and equipment, Syed said. Women in villages are also employed as sales representatives, because “rural is the growth engine” for Unilever in Pakistan, she said in an interview in Karachi. While the bulk of spending for rural families goes to food, about 20 percent “is spent on looking beautiful and buying expensive clothes,” Syed said.

8. Colgate-Palmolive, the world’s largest toothpaste maker, aims to address a “huge gap” in sales outside Pakistan’s cities by more than tripling the number of villages where its products, such as Palmolive soap, are sold, from the current 5,000, said Syed Wasif Ali, rural operations manager at the local unit.

9. Palmolive's detergents Bonus Tristar and Brite are packed in sachets of 20 grams or less and priced as low as five rupees (6 cents), to boost sales among low-income consumers hurt by the fastest pace of inflation in Asia after Vietnam. Unilever plans to increase the number of villages where its products are sold to almost half of the total 34,000 within three years. Its merchandise, including Dove shampoo, Surf detergent and Brooke Bond Supreme tea, is available in about 11,000 villages now.

10. Telenor Pakistan Pvt. is also expanding in Pakistan’s rural areas, which already contribute 60 percent of sales, said Anjum Nida Rahman, corporate communications director for the local unit of the Nordic region’s largest phone company.




 Undeterred by the gloom and doom reports in the media, Pakistani consumers are continuing to spend and private consumption has now reached 75 percent of GDP. It rose 11.6% in real terms in 2011-12 compared with just 3.7% growth a year earlier , according to Economic Survey of Pakistan. In fact, many analysts believe that Pakistan's official GDP of  $220 billion is understated by as much as 50%, buttressing a recent claim by the head of Karachi Stock Exchange that Pakistan's real GDP is closer to $300 billion.

I believe that even a modest effort to increase tax collection can significantly improve Pakistan's state finances to support higher public sector investments in energy, education, health care and infrastructure.
 
 Related Links:

Haq's Musings

Pakistan's Underground Economy

Tax Evasion Fosters Aid Dependence

Poll Finds Pakistanis Happier Than Neighbors

Pakistan's Rural Economy Booming

Pakistan Car Sales Up 61%

Resilient Pakistan Defies Doomsayers

Land For Landless Women in Pakistan

Labels: , , ,