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HomeBusinessPIA privatization: deadline for EoI submission unlikely to extend further

PIA privatization: deadline for EoI submission unlikely to extend further

The deadline for companies to express their interest in purchasing Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) isn’t anticipated to be extended any further, according to an official at the Privatization Commission (PC), as reported by Business Recorder.

“The number of applications can be confirmed tomorrow after closing time,” the official mentioned.

Initially extended by two weeks (from May 3 to May 17) by Federal Minister for Privatization Abdul Aleem Khan, the deadline for submitting expressions of interest (EoI) saw reports of both local and international companies showing preliminary interest in PIA’s privatisation.

Three local airlines were reportedly interested in forming a consortium with international companies, as stated by the minister.

According to Bloomberg, Reuters, Pakistani tycoon Arif Habib and aviation-based company Gerry’s Group were among the 10 bidders eyeing a majority stake in PIA.

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However, a week later, Arif Habib Corporation Limited (AHCL) clarified that merely submitting an expression of interest and the Statement of Qualification (SOQ) didn’t signify becoming a bidder yet.

The company emphasized that its submission didn’t disclose price-sensitive information or confer upon AHCL the status of a ‘bidder’ as implied.

Privatizing the flag carrier is a contentious move that previous elected governments have avoided due to potential unpopularity. Nonetheless, progress on the privatisation is expected to facilitate cash-strapped Pakistan in pursuing further funding discussions with the IMF for an extended bailout program.

Apart from loss-making entities like PIA, the government hinted at privatizing all state-owned enterprises (SOEs), except for ‘strategic entities,’ without specifying what ‘strategic’ entails.

Contrary to the notion of ‘strategic state-owned enterprises,’ Finance Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb dismissed its existence during a panel discussion at the Pre-Budget Conference in Lahore, emphasizing on accelerating the privatization agenda through public-private partnerships.

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