Four groups have submitted bids as financial advisers for the privatisation of the local Bankers Equity, a specialist bank focusing on development finance (MEED 24:3:95).

The four are:

A group led by the local BMA Capital Management and the local KMHR, which is supported by CS First Boston and Deloitte Touche.

The Hong Kong & Shanghai Banking Corporation (HKSB), including the local Taurus Securities.

Banque Nationale de Paris (BNP) with the local Khadim Ali Shah & Bukhari (KASB).

A group led by Bank of America.

The government wants the sale to be organised by the end of 1995 and the search for a financial adviser has been pushed through rapidly. An award is expected before the end of May. The four groups had already been short-listed by the privatisation commission, so the decision rests on the commercial aspects of the bids.

The government intends to sell a strategic 26 per cent stake in the bank. The deal also includes responsibility for management of the bank.Bankers Equity is owned by a group of state-owned banks headed by the State Bank of Pakistan which holds 18.1 per cent.

The government is also privatising United Bank andhas appointed Credit Lyonnais Securities as the adviser for the sale. The contract is still being finalised so work on this privatisation has not yet begun.

Bids will also be invited later this year for an adviser to handle the privatisation of the Habib Credit & Exchange Bank (HC&EB), the corporate finance subsidiary of the state-owned Habib Bank. However, progress is dependent on a successful completion of the privatisation of the first two banks, the commission says.