Nishat Group to start milk production this year

Lahore: Nishat Group, owner of Pakistan’s largest lender by market value, plans to enter consumer goods business by starting milk production this year, Chief Financial Officer Inayatullah Niazi said.

“We have bought land outside Lahore and after beginning milk production, we will add other products to the line,” Niazi told Bloomberg news service on Wednesday. He didn’t provide more details.

Niazi said the group, which owns MCB Bank Ltd., MCB & Nishat Mills Ltd., NML, the largest textiles exporter, sees growth potential in Pakistan for consumer goods, particularly food products. The government plans to spend Rs 3.5 billion to improve dairy industry, including expanding infrastructure, in fiscal year ending June 30, and boost economic growth in the period to 4.2 percent from 2.4 percent.

“Dairy is one of fastest growing businesses in Pakistan,” said Abdul Aziz Anis, who oversees $35 million in assets including shares of MCB & Nishat Mills, as chief executive officer of Karachi-based Alfalah GHP Investment Management Ltd. “There is huge growth potential in consumer business, but only question is buying power of the population with still-high inflation.”

Nishat Group joins Nestle SA in expanding in dairy in Pakistan. The Vevey, Switzerland-based company said in August that it plans to double dairy output in Pakistan by spending 300 million Swiss francs ($334 million) in next three to four years. Companies including Unilever & Colgate-Palmolive Co. are also expanding sales of consumer goods in the country as demand for products such as Sunsilk shampoo and Colgate toothpaste bolster local units’ revenue.

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