Tag Archives: track

Liberals to fast track mining approvals

Updated February 22, 2013 16:38:28

The WA Liberal party will spend $20-million to help fast track mining approvals if it is re-elected to govern in a fortnight.

The party plans to create a database of environmental and heritage information, which mining companies will be able to access online.

It will also expand an approvals tracking scheme it introduced during its current term of government that allows proponents to track the progress of their approval, regardless of which government department is doing the evaluation.

Mines and Petroleum Minister Norman Moore says the two policies will make it easier for mining companies to get their approvals processed.
“They’ll be able to see what work’s been done in the past,” he said.

“[They] can access that, and use it, and save having to repeat a lot of the approvals processes that they would have had to do if that information was not available.”

The State’s peak mining lobby has welcomed the pledge.

The Chamber of Minerals and Energy says both policies will encourage future growth and investment across the sector.

Topics: mining-industry, mining-environmental-issues, elections, liberals, wa, perth-6000

First posted February 22, 2013 16:24:23

Toowoomba-Brisbane rail services back on track

Posted February 19, 2013 09:46:54

Trains are once again able to travel between Toowoomba in southern Queensland and Brisbane.

Queensland Rail says last month’s wet weather caused a land slip on the Toowoomba range railway, washing away about 9,000 cubic metres of soil.

Queensland Rail spokesman Graham Brown says several sections of the line were damaged in a similar way to the 2011 flood.

“Earlier on we thought maybe it would be more like four or five weeks’ work,” he said.

“But once we got into it and did some planning and got the geotechnical investigation done, we forecast that Thiess would finish by the Saturday.

“Then there was some railway works to do over the weekend to reinstate the rail line etc and basically we were back on timetable.”

Topics: community-development, public-sector, rail-transport, rail, toowoomba-4350, brisbane-4000

Diageo on track to completing $370mn Nigerian brewing expansion

Diageo-logo23LAGOS: Diageo will complete by November a 235 million pound ($372 million) investment in Nigeria to boost its beer production capacity in Africa’s most populous nation by 50 percent, the firm’s president for Africa said on Monday.


Diageo, which produces Guinness in Nigeria, has already spent half the money to expand its operations and will complete the investment within nine months, Nick Blazquez told Reuters on the sidelines of an investment conference.


Nigeria, a country of 160 million, is the world’s largest consumer of Guinness but Blazquez said beer sales had declined in the last year because of reduced disposable income, due to higher electricity and motor fuel prices.

Copyright Reuters, 2013

Trains back on track to northern Qld


Queensland Rail has reopened the train line north of Bundaberg, allowing freight and passengers trains to travel between Brisbane and Cairns.


Parts of the track washed away in the wake of ex-tropical cyclone Oswald.


QR is warning of delays while crews repair overhead power lines and track signals.


Two flood-damaged level crossings at North Bundaberg will be manually operated until repairs are finalised.


There are still disruptions to the Rockhampton Tilt Train service.

Topics: rail-transport, tourism, mining-industry, floods, public-sector, qld

Turning detective to track down lost life insurance

 Historic picture of a couple at their wedding Finding the paperwork for Thomas and Mary Hewitt’s lost life insurance policy was a challenge Have you lost or forgotten about an insurance policy, a bank account or pension? It could be among the estimated £20bn of unclaimed assets in the UK, but how easy is it to find it?


Rod Hewitt contacted the BBC about his parents’ lost insurance policies. In his childhood, he remembers a man coming to the door each week and collecting money from his mother for life insurance policies.


For most of their lives the couple were making a cash payment every week. “This continued right up until they were 70, which was 21 years ago,” says Mr Hewitt.

Lost assets But a few years ago, his father Thomas, who has Alzheimer’s disease, threw out all the paperwork – “and with failing memories, they couldn’t remember the name of the company.”


Rod Hewitt started to search for the policies, writing to a handful of the major insurers. He also tried the Unclaimed Asset Register, which is a paid service that people can access online to see if they can trace investments such as life insurance policies.


But his searches were unsuccessful, so he contacted the BBC’s Money Box programme, which took on the quest.


Mr Hewitt explained that his parents married in 1945 and lived in Pegswood, a tiny mining village in Northumberland.


Money Box contacted a local historian, Robert Dixon, to see if he could provide clues to which company they had used.

Continue reading the main story If you know the name of the company which you think holds the asset, approach them firstUse a free service such as the Pension Tracing Service In the case of insurance policies, try the Unclaimed Asset Register – which charges £25Even if these searches are not fruitful, it does not mean that there isn’t an asset, just that they do not have the dataHe knew about these sorts of collections. He says it was usually the woman in the household who would pay the agent who came to the door.


“Normally this was the Co-op, and the insurance man was George Wade. He would come round roughly once a week. And he would know everybody, and everyone in the village knew him. He would walk up and down the streets.”

Company search

There were other insurance companies operating in the area, most notably the Prudential. But the Co-op was the most active, according to Kevin Cassie from Pegswood Parish Council.


But when Mr Hewitt contacted the Co-operative Investments himself, he was told that they did not hold the policies. But the BBC contacted the Co-operative Investments, and asked it to look again.


This time it found five policies, worth about £3,000 in total. A spokesman from the Co-operative Investments says it is still investigating why the policies had not been identified when Mr Hewitt first enquired.

Continue reading the main story
We process around 600 enquiries per month and around 10% are matched to a possible asset”

End Quote James Jones Unclaimed Asset Register But it did confirm that the policies had not been passed to the Unclaimed Asset Register. Co-operative Investments says that for “whole of life” policies like the ones the Hewitts had, details are not given to the register until the policy holders 100th birthday.

Asset register

The Unclaimed Asset Register (UAR) currently has around 4.5 million assets registered from 85 companies which choose to co-operate. The UAR says it is estimated there could be up to £20bn of unclaimed assets in the UK, but it concedes there are no definitive figures.


“Organisations would usually register assets with us once they have reason to believe that contact with the customer has been lost, for example because the customer has been registered as deceased,” says James Jones, of Experian, which runs the register.


“We don’t see the value of the assets recorded but from research we’ve carried out we can tell you that the average find [of successful searches] is £6,000.


“We process around 600 enquiries per month and around 10% are matched to a possible asset.”


To access the register online you need the full name of the holder, address history, date of birth and any other relevant details you may have.


“When people run a UAR search we will keep the details on file and re-run the search at regular intervals for the next six years, for no additional fee,” Mr Jones says.


Assets are held on the UAR in perpetuity, as long as the provider is still working with the register.

Other tracing services

There are other places to look for a variety of unclaimed assets.


The government’s Pension Tracing Service has a database containing 200,000 schemes, and can be searched free using an online form.


Banks and building societies have come together to offer a free search for lost bank accounts called mylostaccount.org.uk.


So far it has reunited people with around £500m. But it’s estimated there is another £850m unclaimed.


For lost investment trusts, the Association of Investment Companies can help, or, to trace unit trusts, try the Investment Management Association – also for free.


Money Box is broadcast on Saturdays at 12:00 GMT on BBC Radio 4 and repeated on Sundays at 21:00 GMT.


You can listen again via the BBC iPlayer or by downloading Money Box podcast.

GM Opel says talks with PSA on track

motorsaVIENNA: Talks between General Motors’ Opel unit and France’s PSA Peugeot Citroen on joint vehicle development are on track, while there are no plans at this stage to build cars together, Opel’s interim chief executive told a newspaper.


“The quality of the talks is really very good.


And the operational and technical advantages are so great that we will surely will be able to wrap up soon the negotiations on joint vehicle development,” Thomas Sedran told WirtschaftsWoche.


The plan is to come up with four new model series by 2016-2017: a successor to the Opel Zafira family van, two compact cars and a successor to the mid-sized Opel Insignia and Citroen C5.


GM and Peugeot unveiled an initial alliance agreement in February with the goal of saving at least $2 billion annually within five years, evenly split between the partners.


GM paid 320 million euros ($419 million) for a 7 percent stake in Peugeot as part of the original deal.


Center>Copyright Reuters, 2012

China car sales on track for record 2012: GM

General-Motors-LogoSHANGHAI: US auto giant General Motors (GM) said Thursday that its full-year sales in China, the world’s biggest car market, will surpass last year’s 2.55 million and set a new record.


In the first 11 months, sales of GM and its ventures in China surged 10.4 percent from a year earlier to 2.59 million vehicles, more than the total for the whole of last year, GM said in a statement.


For November alone, GM sold 260,018 vehicles in China, up 9.7 percent from 2011.


China’s overall auto sales growth slowed last year after the government scrapped purchasing incentives and limited car numbers to ease traffic congestion and cut pollution.


In 2011 sales rose just 2.5 percent to 18.51 million units, compared with an increase of more than 32 percent in 2010, but growth has recovered slightly this year.


Nonetheless foreign manufacturers have bucked the slowdown with stronger brand recognition and perceptions of better quality among domestic consumers, although Japanese brands have been hurt by a territorial dispute between Beijing and Tokyo.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2012

Woodside’s fast track application under scrutiny

Updated December 05, 2012 14:15:48

A proposal to fast-track approvals for Woodside’s Kimberley gas hub development had attracted 1,700 submissions by yesterday’s deadline.

The broader LNG precinct, north of Broome, has already been ticked off by the Environmental Protection Authority.

But, the EPA now needs to consider whether or not to approve Woodside’s facility within the hub.

Woodside wants its processing facility to be treated as a ‘derived proposal’, or part of the already approved precinct project.

It is the first time an application has been made to use the legislation in such a way.

Opponents of the project were angry that they were only given seven days to comment on the proposal.

The EPA chairman Paul Vogel says the avalanche of submissions received by yesterday’s deadline shows it was adequate.

“I would have thought the fact we got 17,00 submissions says seven days was probably enough time for people to put their views in about whether it should be considered a derived proposal,” he said.

Dr Vogel says the application is breaking new ground.

“It’s the first time we’ve actually had a proposal that wishes to be declared derived from a strategic proposal, so it’s a new thing for us,” he said.

“I’m not surprised at the level of interest.

“It is a lot though obviously so we’ll have to go through those arguments provided by the submitters in detail.”

Topics: oil-and-gas, government-and-politics, broome-6725

First posted December 05, 2012 13:49:07

New Balance stays on track in Cumbria

North East Business Correspondent, Flimby, Cumbria  The small union jack makes New Balance trainers desirable in East Asia, says the firm Margaret Thompson is busy attaching tiny sewn union jacks to the thousands of trainers that come off the production line at New Balance’s Cumbrian factory in Flimby.


She’s worked here for 30 years and, on the verge of retirement, finds it incredible that her employer is the last survivor of the once-flourishing shoe industry in the west of the county.


“This factory’s very important because there’s not much work at all now,” she says.


“The industry’s gone. We used to have Bata at Maryport, Millers at Cockermouth, K Shoes at Workington. They’ve all gone.”


So what explains the continued presence of New Balance in Cumbria – turning out nearly 1.5 million pairs of running shoes and fashionable trainers a year?


And how can it afford to be the last remaining sports company to manufacture its own footwear? All of its rivals have outsourced production to cheaper factories, mainly in the Far East.


A clue as to why New Balance has clocked up 30 years in Cumbria lies, at least partially, with that union jack.


“We currently export to 58 countries,” says business development manager Liam Burns.


“And there really is a cachet, particularly in the Far East, to buying footwear made in the UK.”

‘Absolutely committed’

So prestige becomes the selling point and wins out over price. Cachet over cost. But there’s another reason that the Cumbrian factory is still in business.


New Balance is privately-owned in the US by chief executive and chairman Jim Davis, who is something of a philanthropist and champion of manufacturing. The company has six factories in its home country.

New Balance may expand its production in Cumbria if demand continues to increase

“New Balance’s owner is absolutely committed to domestic manufacturing,” says Mr Burns.


“He cares passionately about our workforce here, as well as in the US, and that commitment was shown by Jim Davis flying in from Boston to celebrate our 30th anniversary in Cumbria.”


That’s not to say that New Balance doesn’t use sub-contracted factories itself.


Production can be found in China and Vietnam.


The company says that’s explained by high demand for its shoes, a demand that can’t be fulfilled by domestic manufacture alone.

Order book

And demand has been soaring.


In 1994, New Balance made 70% of its shoes in the US. Today it’s thought that more than 75% of its shoes are made overseas, specifically in Asia.

New Balance has six factories in the US

But, the company insists, the move doesn’t have any implication for its existing factories, or for the 240 workers in Cumbria who might see those figures as being indicative of a lessening of a commitment to making shoes in the county.


“We don’t see that,” says Liam Burns.


“Our order book is full. We are currently recruiting people to make sure we are geared up to meet the increasing demand for New Balance footwear. Our sales are growing at a considerable rate, internationally.”


Indeed, the company is tentatively eyeing up expansion. It has bought a plot of land currently being grazed by sheep, but next to the existing factory, and hard by the Cumbrian coast line.


It could be the site of a new factory, creating new jobs. Something that would be welcomed in the area, where 3,500 people are without a job.

‘Booming’

The development’s not imminent, though. It’s for when the current factory ups production.

Andrew Renwick is proud of the Flimby’s factory’s reputation

Two, then possibly three, million pairs of trainers produced every year are the aspirations in Flimby.


And according to those on the shop floor there is the appetite in this part of Cumbria to become even bigger.


Andrew Renwick, who has worked in the factory for more than two years, is currently ensuring the finished trainers are blemish-free but has ambitions to become a team leader, and can see why the business might expand.


“The factory has a good reputation. People request New Balance made in England, which is fantastic because that’s us,” he says.


“As long as our factory is booming and we’re doing a good job things will be alright.”

Dubai on track to repay a $10b loan

Dubai: Dubai is on track to repay a $10 billion loan from Abu Dhabi as the emirate’s economy continues to recover, according to a senior Dubai government official.

The UAE central bank and the Abu Dhabi government gave $20 billion in loans to Dubai in late 2009 with a multi-billion-dollar debt restructuring at one of its flagship conglomerates.

Dubai had drawn on about $8.45 billion of the $10 billion Abu Dhabi facility due to mature in 2014, according to the Dubai government’s bond prospectus dated June 2011.

“We are on track to pay back Abu Dhabi… there is a date and we will meet the deadline for sure…in a couple of years,” Mohammad Al Shaibani, the chief executive of Investment Corporation of Dubai, told reporters at an event in Dubai on Sunday.

Article continues below

Dubai’s economy was under pressure as its key real estate sector went from boom to bust in the wake of the global financial crisis in 2008, but there are signs of recovery now, especially in the property market, which Shaibani expects will fully recover in three years’ time.

“Though we are not much immune from what is happening around us…we think we will be doing quite well in the coming period. The economy is strong, while the challenges that are happening will fade away, it just takes a bit of time,” he said.

Shaibani, who is also director-general of Dubai’s Rulers Court and a member of the emirate’s Supreme Fiscal Committee, added that government-related entities, or GREs, were managing their own business and meeting their obligations on time and that they needed no government bailout.

In terms of the issuing more bonds, Dubai’s government has no immediate needs, according to. Shaibani. “Any issuance would be based on need requirement, and not to move the market or any other purpose.”

Bauxite miner on track to reach exploration targets

Posted October 22, 2012 09:38:43

Mining company Cape Alumina says it has now discovered an estimated 200 million tonnes of bauxite during exploration on far north Queensland’s Cape York.

The company is working on several projects on the western Cape and holds exploration permits in the region covering 1,900 square kilometres.

Cape Alumina spokesman Neville Conway says the results to date are promising.

“We’ve got an exploration target of 400 million tonnes and we’re halfway there,” he said.

“We’re hopeful that the other tenements will reach the resources to get us to that 400 million tonne target but we’ll just have to wait and see.

“It’s a funny game, exploration – sometimes exploration pays dividends and sometimes they don’t, but we’re confident of getting to the 400 million tonnes.

“We’re halfway there and we’ll keep going.”

Topics: bauxite, community-development, regional, regional-development, weipa-4874, cairns-4870

Getting India back on track

India’s Finance Minister P. Chidambaram exudes the self-confidence of a man who, in the eyes of India’s cheerleading financial markets, can do little wrong

ReutersPublished: 19:41 October 19, 2012
Image Credit: SuppliedPalaniappan Chidambaram : Indian Home minister

New Delhi India’s Finance Minister P. Chidambaram exudes the self-confidence of a man who, in the eyes of India’s cheerleading financial markets, can do little wrong.

In the 11 weeks since he took office, the benchmark BSE index has surged around 8 per cent, due in large part to his hard-charging drive to boost investor sentiment that had soured under his predecessor, Pranab Mukherjee.

When you are fixated on equity markets and you are doing whatever you can to push them higher that is exactly what you will see

Economist Rajeev Malek of CLSA, Singapore

But the reality is the steps taken so far will not fix the sluggish economy in the near term, and the window of opportunity for implementing game-changing reforms such as slashing government spending on fuel, food and fertiliser subsidies will narrow as campaigning for a 2014 election gets under way.

“When you are fixated on equity markets and you are doing whatever you can to push them higher that is exactly what you will see,” said economist Rajeev Malek of CLSA, Singapore.

Article continues below

“Pushing up equity markets is a lot easier than taking up some of these more difficult moves.”

Together with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Chidambaram has unveiled a series of big-ticket and small-bore initiatives over the past month that were long demanded by investors and business leaders frustrated by years of policy inaction in New Delhi.

According to government officials, the slew of policy announcements on lifting the bar on foreign investment in the airline, insurance, pensions and retail sectors are part of a two-step government strategy — first, pump up the financial markets, then unveil a road-map for cutting the fiscal deficit.

The first step has worked. Net inflows from foreign investors have surged since Chidambaram’s appointment, with $7.7 billion (Dh28.3 billion) flooding into stocks and bonds since then, according to regulatory data. The next step will be more difficult.

Reports published by the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Standard & Poor’s and a government panel over the past 10 days have provided sobering reminders of the huge challenges facing an economy still beset by high inflation and dragged down by ballooning current account and fiscal deficits.

The IMF sharply cut its econ-omic growth forecast for India for 2012 to 4.9 per cent from an earlier projection of 6.1 per cent growth. The Kelkar budget panel, meanwhile, warned that India was teetering on the edge of a “fiscal precipice” and called for swift action to reduce the deficit, which it said could hit 6.1 per cent of GDP this year if no action was taken.

Chidambaram has signalled that he is acutely aware of the dangers, telling a news conference last week that without reforms to curb the deficits, India “risked a sharp and continuing slowdown of the economy”. He is expected to unveil a deficit reduction plan soon, possibly before the Reserve Bank of India’s next policy review on October 30.

But turf wars within the cabinet, friction among coalition partners, continued weak government at a federal and state level and fears of alienating voters ahead of the 2014 election could still choke off Chidambaram’s reform drive.

The Finance Ministry knows it has a “very small window” in which to act, a senior ministry official told Reuters.

There is already disagreement among ministers over a land acquisition bill long sought by Indian business leaders that would make it much easier for companies to buy land for industrial and infrastructure projects. The bill is stalled in cabinet and it is not clear when it will be approved.

The environment minister, meanwhile, has raised objections to another Chidambaram initiative — a national investment board aimed at cutting through red tape that can hold up infrastructure projects for years. The proposal is seen as the government’s boldest attempt yet to clear infrastructure bottlenecks that have strangled economic growth.

Singh’s coalition government has also been seriously weakened by the walkout of a key ally and now governs without a parliamentary majority.

It is dependent on support from two fickle allies that have campaigned against some of its flagship reforms, such as allowing foreign supermarkets into India.

That will make it difficult for the government to get pension and insurance reforms, recently approved by the cabinet, through parliament. In fact, there is now a higher risk of the government falling and an early election being called.

Critics question whether, in the face of such challenges, the ruling Congress party will have the political will to follow through with what Singh and Chidambaram have started.The party’s powerful chief Sonia Gandhi favours costly welfare measures and had to be persuaded to back the recent reforms.

“If the government were to enter into a populist mode come FY14 budget and roll back any of the reform initiatives, risks of a (credit rating) downgrade will rise come next year,” said Radhika Rao, an economist at Forecast in Singapore.

The government has already baulked at the recommendation of the Kelkar deficit reduction panel to phase out fuel subsidies, saying it had a duty to protect India’s poorest citizens.

And Oil Minister Jaipal Reddy said last week he was “not so courageous” as to raise diesel prices anytime soon after a hike in mid-September sparked a nationwide strike and street protests led by opposition parties. His comment suggested the government is already viewing policy decisions through the prism of a general election due by mid-2014, when it will face a tough fight to win a third term.

Those political considerations pose a challenge even for someone as single-minded and determined as Chidambaram, finance minister for the third time in a storied political career. The question now is how much time India’s political leaders will give him to get the economy firmly back on track.

‘Resilient’ Rio Tinto says on track for output targets

Tuesday, 16 October 2012 11:29 Posted by Imaduddin

SYDNEY: Global mining giant Rio Tinto said Tuesday its business was performing strongly despite global volatility, affirming annual targets and reporting a quarterly record in Australian iron ore output.


Rio said it had achieved a “strong set of results in the third quarter” to the end of September despite falling commodity prices due to slowing in its crucial China market.


“Markets remain volatile, but our business is resilient and our operations are performing strongly,” Rio Tinto chief Tom Albanese said.


“We have delivered another strong set of production results in the third quarter.”


Rio kept its previous full-year guidance of 250 million tonnes for iron ore, 8.5 million tonnes for steelmaking coal and 19.5 million tonnes for thermal coal, which is burned to produce electricity.


The firm reported global iron ore production of 67 million tonnes in the three months to September, up five percent on the same period last year, including a record 63 million tonnes at its flagship Australian operations.


Rio is preparing a major expansion at its Western Australian Pilbara project from 230 million tonnes a year 283 million by the end of 2013 and it said it had produced more iron ore than it sold, to build up a backlog that will see it through the extension works.


Hard coking coal, used in steel furnaces, was 2.3 million tonnes in the quarter, 16 percent lower that the previous corresponding period, due to maintenance and scheduled shutdowns for expansion activity.


Thermal coal burned to produce electricity improved 18 percent on the third quarter of 2011, with production of 5.4 million tonnes.


In August the mining giant reported a 22 percent slump in first-half profit to US$5.9 billion due to commodity price falls, but was upbeat about longer-term demand prospects.


China’s slowdown has seen a number of mining companies shelve or delay projects in minerals-rich Australia, where a bullish exchange rate is also squeezing company margins.

Copyright AFP (Agence France-Presse), 2012

Risk index launched to track uncertainty in economy

Index define­s and measur­es govern­ance risks of firms in the countr­y.  This is the first such index constituted in an emerging market, after successful launches of similar indices in the UK and the US. PHOTO: AFP


KARACHI: Capital is a coward that avoids uncertainty. To ascertain the level of uncertainty in an economy, international research institutions come up with indices, matrices and other analytical tools that help investors make informed investment decisions involving the least amount of risk.


It was against this backdrop that the Pakistan Institute of Corporate Governance (PICG), in collaboration with Mettle Consulting – a UK-based advisory company – launched the GovnRisk Index on Monday. The index defines and measures governance risks of firms operating in Pakistan and facilitates well-governed firms in attracting and retaining local and foreign investment.


This is the first such index constituted in an emerging market, after successful launches of similar indices in the United Kingdom and the United States.


The GovnRisk Index measures governance risk at the company level across six core areas, while using 31 separate indicators, through an online survey. The six distinct aspects of governance risk are corporate culture, internal controls, critical self-analysis, quality of oversight, disclosure and transparency, and quality of management.


The formal launch of the index took place on the trading floor of the Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) in the presence of British Deputy High Commissioner and Director for UK Trade and Investment in Pakistan Francis Campbell, Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) Muhammad Ali, KSE Managing Director Nadeem Naqvi, PICG President and CEO Fuad A Hashimi, Mettle Consulting CEO Dr Andrew Tucker and Institute of Capital Markets CEO Syed Javed Hassan.


Speaking to The Express Tribune after the formal ceremony, Hashimi said listed and non-listed companies – including NGOs and universities – can subscribe to the GovnRisk Index at an annual subscription fee of $5,000. An in-depth company report will cost between $10,000 and $30,000, he added.


Explaining the index’s computation, Hashimi said that the chief executive officer, chief financial officer or company secretary from each subscribing entity would assume the position of chief liaison officer, who would then send input to Mettle Consulting.


Besides the chief liaison officer, 25 managers from each entity would also be required to submit their feedback. These will then be taken into account while computing the index, according to respective weights assigned to different tangible determinants under the six core governance risk areas.


According to Hashimi, at least two companies – ICI and Pakistan Petroleum Limited – have already signed up for the index. “Four other companies have indicated their interest. Given the response we are receiving, I expect we will have eight to 10 subscribers by the end of this week,” he said.


Hashimi said about 25 subscribers would be required to make the index ‘sizeable’. He added that he was expecting at least four companies from every sector in the index to better reflect sector-wide, comparable trends.


In the beginning phase at least, he said, it will be up to the subscribing companies whether they want to share index scores with the general public or not. However, the index will likely become more ‘public’ as institutions like the KSE are going to get involved with the increasing number of participants in the index.


The index will also be launched in the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia in the near future, he added.


Published in The Express Tribune, October 9th, 2012.


View the original article here

Risk index launched to track uncertainty in economy

Index define­s and measur­es govern­ance risks of firms in the countr­y. This is the first such index constituted in an emerging market, after successful launches of similar indices in the UK and the US. PHOTO: AFP

KARACHI: Capital is a coward that avoids uncertainty. To ascertain the level of uncertainty in an economy, international research institutions come up with indices, matrices and other analytical tools that help investors make informed investment decisions involving the least amount of risk.

It was against this backdrop that the Pakistan Institute of Corporate Governance (PICG), in collaboration with Mettle Consulting – a UK-based advisory company – launched the GovnRisk Index on Monday. The index defines and measures governance risks of firms operating in Pakistan and facilitates well-governed firms in attracting and retaining local and foreign investment.

This is the first such index constituted in an emerging market, after successful launches of similar indices in the United Kingdom and the United States.

The GovnRisk Index measures governance risk at the company level across six core areas, while using 31 separate indicators, through an online survey. The six distinct aspects of governance risk are corporate culture, internal controls, critical self-analysis, quality of oversight, disclosure and transparency, and quality of management.

The formal launch of the index took place on the trading floor of the Karachi Stock Exchange (KSE) in the presence of British Deputy High Commissioner and Director for UK Trade and Investment in Pakistan Francis Campbell, Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) Muhammad Ali, KSE Managing Director Nadeem Naqvi, PICG President and CEO Fuad A Hashimi, Mettle Consulting CEO Dr Andrew Tucker and Institute of Capital Markets CEO Syed Javed Hassan.

Speaking to The Express Tribune after the formal ceremony, Hashimi said listed and non-listed companies – including NGOs and universities – can subscribe to the GovnRisk Index at an annual subscription fee of $5,000. An in-depth company report will cost between $10,000 and $30,000, he added.

Explaining the index’s computation, Hashimi said that the chief executive officer, chief financial officer or company secretary from each subscribing entity would assume the position of chief liaison officer, who would then send input to Mettle Consulting.

Besides the chief liaison officer, 25 managers from each entity would also be required to submit their feedback. These will then be taken into account while computing the index, according to respective weights assigned to different tangible determinants under the six core governance risk areas.

According to Hashimi, at least two companies – ICI and Pakistan Petroleum Limited – have already signed up for the index. “Four other companies have indicated their interest. Given the response we are receiving, I expect we will have eight to 10 subscribers by the end of this week,” he said.

Hashimi said about 25 subscribers would be required to make the index ‘sizeable’. He added that he was expecting at least four companies from every sector in the index to better reflect sector-wide, comparable trends.

In the beginning phase at least, he said, it will be up to the subscribing companies whether they want to share index scores with the general public or not. However, the index will likely become more ‘public’ as institutions like the KSE are going to get involved with the increasing number of participants in the index.

The index will also be launched in the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia in the near future, he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 9th, 2012.