The privatisation of development finance institution Bankers Equity is making progress. Financial advisers are expected to be in place by early September, and Bankers Equity has applied for a commercial banking licence, a move which will make the specialist institution a more tempting prospect.

The local BMA Capital Management is leading a consortium which will act as financial advisers for the partial sale of Bankers Equity and the transfer of its management to a private investor (MEED 4:8:95). The consortium comprises CS First Boston, Deloitte Touche, Tohmatsu, Khalid Majid Hussain Rehman, and Mohsin Tayabally & Company. The group will be given between four and five months to arrange the sale.

Bankers Equity has about 21 branches throughout Pakistan and a capital of about $61 million (MEED 24:3:95).

Investors from Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Turkey, in joint venture with local groups, have already expressed an interest in the sale. Analysts say investors should be able to acquire a controlling stake in the bank for a more modest sum than in other planned commercial bank privatisations, such as Muslim Commercial Bank, United Bank or Habib Bank. However, doubts about the bank’s loan portfolio, which requires large provisions, may make investors more cautious, the analysts add.