The government is to privatise Karachi Electricity Supply Corporation (KESC) and will appoint a consultant soon to draw up proposals for a regulatory framework.

The privatisation is likely to take place through a combination of large- scale purchases by institutional investors and share sales on the Karachi stock exchange. ‘The offer will be open to both local and international investors. However, I expect that foreign investors are most likely to have the kind of money required,’ privatisation commission chairman Naveed Qamar says. The commission has invited consultants to bid for a study on the regulations required to carry out the sale.

KESC will be the third state-owned utility to be privatised under the government’s programme. The first two will be Sui Southern Gas Company and Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Company, which will have their government shareholding reduced to a minority stake. The commission is waiting for a study on gas rates and tariffs to be completed before announcing further steps. It is understood to be negotiating with private investors, including British Gas (MEED 24:9:93). A policy decision on how much the government wants to sell of Pakistan State Oil and National Refinery, two other state- owned companies on the privatisation list, has yet to be made.