Author Archives: Economic Outlook

PACRA Maintains Entity Ratings of Pak-Arab Pipeline Company Limited

Lahore, May 24, 2019 (PPI-OT): The ratings are a reflection of PAPCO’s distinctive business model driving its strength from a tariff based return model. PAPCO operates a 786 Km pipeline network dedicated for White Oil Pipeline (WOP). The tariff follows a pre-defined structure denominated in USD$, providing sustainability to the company’s profit base. PAPCO has been operating its WOP for HSD only, at a capacity utilization of ~47% (~57% previously). Company’s envisaged expansion plan is near to completion, which is expected to enhance and further leverage the infrastructure capacity, by way of transporting MOGAS.

The expansion is debt driven, wherein interest spread is very much akin to risk free rate. A level of comfort is drawn from the exclusive tariff given for the MOGAS project; all set to be operational by July’19. This will also create strategic advantage for the country. The cash flows of the company are persistently strong, providing sustainable coverages to debt repayments. The business risk is considered moderate – given current economic slowdown – indeed a relatively volatile demand of MOGAS and declining trend in HSD demand is perceived for foreseeable future, in addition to OMCs reliance on PAPCO for oil supply.

The company’s governance derives benefit from its association with PARCO, which also deputes its functionaries (esp. CEO) in PAPCO, with Shell Pakistan Limited nominating the CFO. The ratings are dependent on the sustained business model and operations. Strong cash flows backs the decline in topline while enabling relevant coverages to its debt repayments is prerequisite.

For more information, contact:
Analyst
The Pakistan Credit Rating Agency Limited (PACRA)
Awami Complex, FB1, Usman Block New Garden Town,
Lahore – Pakistan
Tel: +9242 586 9504 -6
Fax: +9242 583 0425
Email: hammad.rashid@pacra.com
Web: www.pacra.com

PACRA Upgrades Broker Management Rating of Optimus Capital Management (Private) Limited

Lahore, May 24, 2019 (PPI-OT): The rating reflects the sound ability of the company to retain its market share in lackluster equity market activity. The rating incorporates the company’s sound business strategy and acumen and ability to provide extensive equity research. The company has devised comprehensive IT policy, KYC Risk Management procedures and Disaster Recovery Plan. The management team comprises Seasoned professionals that ensures sound quality of services.

The company has majority of its revenue from local clients and management has devised a suitable strategy to attract foreign customers which would accumulate revenues. The company has zero leveraged capital structure and adequate capitalization levels with the Net Capital Balance of ~PKR 231mln as at 31st March 2019. The equity base of ~PKR 336mln provides cushion against potential losses. The company has no independent and non-executive director on its board; hence there is room for improvement in the governance framework.

The rating is dependent on the management’s ability to retain its market share and enhance the volumes and diversity of revenue to improve its competitive position in the brokerage industry. Retention of key personnel, improvement in customer servicing tools and maintaining strong controls will bode well for the company.

For more information, contact:
Analyst
The Pakistan Credit Rating Agency Limited (PACRA)
Awami Complex, FB1, Usman Block New Garden Town,
Lahore – Pakistan
Tel: +9242 586 9504 -6
Fax: +9242 583 0425
Email: hammad.rashid@pacra.com
Web: www.pacra.com

PACRA Maintains Entity Ratings of Sapphire Fibres Limited

Lahore, May 24, 2019 (PPI-OT): The ratings reflect Sapphire Fibres Limited’s (Sapphire Fibres) established business profile emanating from strong presence in the broader value-chain; enabling the company to manage volatility in the textile industry. Business profile has improved since diversification into the denim segment in FY17, where optimal capacity utilization has led to strong revenue growth and improved margins. During 9MFY19, currency devaluation led to significant growth in the Company’s export-oriented topline.

A sizable investment book (PKR ~12bln, 76% of equity) built over the years by deploying surplus funds augments the company’s profile and has generated a steady stream of recurring non-core income, supplementing its bottom-line in the past. Recent economic conditions and volatility in the stock market diminished portfolio performance and ensuing income.

Although the Company’s investment portfolio comprises blue-chip stocks, rising interest cost and subdued performance of stock market is likely to put pressure on investment income. Financial risk of the company is stretched in the absence of non-core income to support core debt coverages. Free cashflows have shown significant improvement due to better performance in core operations. This provided relief to the risk profile of the company; sustainability of the same is important. Ratings incorporate association of the company with well-established Sapphire Group.

The ratings are dependent on sustaining business profile of the company by maintaining profitability and margins achieved from core textile operations. At the same time, sustainability of non-core income and prudent management of the surplus funds are important. Sustainability of coverages would remain critical to avoid any drag on financial profile due to prolonged downturn in capital markets.

For more information, contact:
Analyst
The Pakistan Credit Rating Agency Limited (PACRA)
Awami Complex, FB1, Usman Block New Garden Town,
Lahore – Pakistan
Tel: +9242 586 9504 -6
Fax: +9242 583 0425
Email: hammad.rashid@pacra.com
Web: www.pacra.com

Menicon Announces Launch of Menicon Bloom Myopia Control Management System

NAGOYA, Japan, May 24, 2019 /Kyodo JBN- AsiaNet/ — – Launch Features Initial Introduction of Menicon Bloom Night, First and Only CE-approved Orthokeratology Contact Lens in Europe for Myopia Control –

Menicon Co., Ltd. announced on May 24 the launch of the Menicon Bloom Myopia Control Management System, a holistic approach for myopia control management. The launch features the initial introduction of Menicon Bloom Night, an orthokeratology contact lens therapy for myopia control management.https://kyodonewsprwire.jp/prwfile/release/M100332/201905216625/_prw_PI1im_4k0Q106r.jpg

(Logo: https://kyodonewsprwire.jp/img/201905216625-O1-4k0Q106r)

Myopia, also known as near- or short-sightedness, is the most common refractive error and the major cause of vision impairment worldwide. It affects approximately 30% of the world’s population and its prevalence has been forecast to affect about 50% of the world’s population by 2050. The prevalence of myopia in young adolescents has been increasing in recent decades to about 30% in industrialized societies of the West and epidemic levels of over 90% in some parts of Far East Asia. Globally, it is recognized as a significant public health concern associated with increased ocular-related morbidity and considerable healthcare costs.

Menicon Bloom Night therapy involves the overnight wear of a specially designed reverse geometry orthokeratology contact lens, manufactured in hyper oxygen-permeable Menicon Z rigid material that ensures optimal corneal oxygenation for comfortable and safe contact lens wear. The treatment temporarily changes the shape of the cornea, which results in reduction of
refractive error, thus eliminating the need to wear contact lenses throughout the waking hours after lenses are removed. The new corneal shape provides a particular optical path for incoming light that counters the ocular growth response associated with myopia development. Through this mechanism, Menicon Bloom Night is indicated for the correction of refractive myopia and for control of myopia when prescribed and managed by a qualified eye care professional.

Menicon Bloom Night contact lenses have been reviewed and validated via numerous comprehensive, peer-reviewed studies related to myopia control management. Menicon Bloom Night therapy has proven to be well accepted by parents and to improve children’s self-esteem in terms of physical appearance, participation in activities, academic performance and peer perception. With the accumulation of long-term and comprehensive scientific evidence over the years, Menicon Bloom Night has met the highest standards of safety, efficacy and quality required to grant the treatment CE approval for myopia control management in Europe.

The fitting of Menicon Bloom Night is optimized by the use of Easyfit software, a sophisticated, user-friendly tool which accurately guides the eye care professional through the fitting process. Additionally, a specially designed mobile phone application, Menicon’s Virtual Dr., has been developed to enhance the monitoring and communication process between eye care professionals and patients. Menicon Bloom Night is only available for certified eye care
professionals. With the launch of this groundbreaking myopia care therapy, Menicon has become one of the few companies to have devices officially approved for myopia control management in Europe and demonstrates the company’s continued commitment to the field of myopia control.

Menicon Bloom Night will be launched initially in The Netherlands, followed soon thereafter with launches in other European markets. Further information about the product and availability will be forthcoming soon.

Dr. Hidenari Tanaka, CEO, Menicon Co., Ltd., commented: “We are delighted with the major breakthrough achieved with the approval and launch of our Menicon Bloom Myopia Control Management System. We are confident that our continuing commitment to myopia control management will position Menicon as a key contributor in this field and strengthen our position as a global vision care company. It is our belief that the growing prevalence of worldwide myopia progression requires a comprehensive and educated response and we have identified this as a major initiative within our development programs. As a pioneer of contact lenses, we will develop our myopia control business based on our accumulated technology, products and services and contribute to society by supporting eye care professionals in managing the fast growing incidence of myopia.”

About Menicon:
Menicon Co., Ltd. (7780: Tokyo), founded by Mr. Kyoichi Tanaka in 1951, is Japan’s first and largest contact lens manufacturer, and now is represented in over 30 countries. Menicon is a manufacturer dedicated to all areas of soft and gas-permeable contact lens-related businesses, including manufacture, sales, export and import of contact lenses and other medical goods; manufacture and sales of medical instruments; sales of medical supplies; and research and
development of intraocular lenses. For more information, visit www.menicon.com.

*”Bloom”, “Bloom Night”, “Menicon Z” and “Easyfit” are trademarks of Menicon
Co., Ltd.

SOURCE: Menicon Co., Ltd.

Iranian FM Holds Talks in Pakistan on Tehran’s Tensions With US

ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met Friday with leaders from neighboring Pakistan to discuss bilateral matters and Tehran’s escalating tensions with the United States.

Zarif and Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi led their respective delegations in formal talks before the visiting Iranian diplomat went for a meeting with Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan. Officials said the discussions focused on bilateral issues and regional developments.

Tensions between Tehran and Washington have been escalating since U.S. President Donald Trump announced his decision to try to cut Iran’s oil exports to zero and beef up the American military presence in the Gulf in response to what he said were Iranian threats. After landing in Islamabad late Thursday, Zarif told Iranian media he would brief Pakistani officials on what he described as “dangerous” developments in the region.

Before wrapping up his visit, the Iranian foreign minister also called on Pakistan military chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, and the two discussed “matters of mutual interest and evolving situation in the region.”

A military statement issued after the meeting quoted Bajwa as telling Zarif “that war is not in anyone’s interest and all sides need to make efforts to keep conflict away from the region.

Pakistan already has said it will not take sides in the current confrontation and described the crisis in the Persian Gulf region as “disturbing.” Islamabad says, however, Washington’s decision to deploy an aircraft carrier, as well as bombers, has fueled tensions in “the existing precarious security situation” in the Middle East.

“We expect all sides to show restraint, as any miscalculated move can transmute into a large-scale conflict,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Faisal told a weekly news conference Thursday. “Pakistan always supports dialogue and desires that all issues should be settled peacefully and through engagement by all sides.”

Border security

The bilateral talks were also expected to review issues related to border security, officials said.

Pakistan and Iran share a long border of more than 900 kilometers. Iranian officials regularly allege anti-state Sunni militants use hideouts on the Pakistani side to orchestrate terrorist attacks inside Iran.

For its part, Islamabad says separatist groups active in its volatile Baluchistan province use sanctuaries on the Iranian side to plan cross-border terrorist attacks.

Khan last month undertook his first official visit to Tehran and held extensive talks with President Hassan Rohani on strengthening bilateral security, economic and trade ties.

Rohani noted that Khan’s visit would be “a turning point” in improving bilateral relations.

Source: Voice of America

High intake of dietary cholesterol not associated with risk of stroke

A new study by the University of Eastern Finland shows that a moderately high intake of dietary cholesterol or consumption of up to one egg per day is not associated with an elevated risk of stroke.

For most people, dietary cholesterol plays a very small role in affecting their serum cholesterol levels.

The findings were published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Source: Radio Pakistan