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Pak Datacom shareholders vote to remove three directors

ISLAMABAD: The overwhelming majority shareholders of Pak Datacom Limited – a public listed company – on Wednesday passed a resolution to remove three directors of the company including its Managing Director, fulfilling a requirement of the court.

“As many as 85% shareholders of the Pak Datacom Limited have today passed a resolution to remove three directors of the company,” said Aftab Bhatti, Chairman of the Pak Datacom board of directors and additional secretary Ministry of Information Technology.

The overwhelming majority passed the resolution to remove Arshad Kayani, who is also Managing Director, Taimur Faiz Cheema and Shahzad Sami Qureshi.

The shareholders took the decision during an extraordinary Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the company, which was convened after the Islamabad High Court referred the matter of removal of the directors to the AGM.

Against the government’s decision to remove the director, the MD had knocked on the court’s door. The Islamabad High Court had directed that the AGM’s resolution was required to remove the directors from their positions.

Bhatti said that the results of the AGM’s resolution would be now submitted before the court in its next hearing, scheduled for Friday.

Pak Datacom is a subsidiary of Telecom Foundation, which has 55% equity in the company, whereas general public and foreign investors have 45% stake. The company’s 18.4% stake is held by general public, 7.72% by State Life Insurance Corporation, 7.66% by National Bank of Pakistan and 8.14% by Trustee AKD Opportunity Fund.

Bhatti said that the court’s requirement was to seek approval of at least 70% shareholders for the removal of the directors. The NBP and State Life Insurance Corporation along with other investors joined hands with the government to remove these directors. The government took the action to remove its nominated Board members after they gave an “illegal three-year extension” to the now sacked chief executive of the company; Brig retired Muhammad Arshad Khan Kayani.

The Ministry of Law and Justice has declared the three-year extension as “irregular and illegal” but the affected parties went to the court against the government’s earlier decision.

Timeline of events

Earlier this month, the government had appointed three new members in place of sacked members. These are Ameena Sohail, currently serving as Member Legal of Ministry of Information Technology, Syed Ibrar Hussain Shah, joint secretary of the ministry and Syed Mohammad Harris, Chief Finance Officer of Universal Services Fund.

In Kayani’s place, Ibrar Hussain Shah had been given the additional charge of the Chief Executive, Bhatti added.

“We do not want to create a situation by forcefully stopping the MD from coming to office,” said Bhatti. He said that the court had asked both the parties to exercise restraint but Kayani was still coming to office.

During Kayani’s three-year tenure, the company’s profits drastically reduced. In June 2013, the company’s after-tax profit was Rs96.1 million and the earnings per share (EPS) stood at Rs9.8. However, within a span of three years, its EPS plunged to only Rs3.78 as of June 2016. The after-tax profit decreased to a mere Rs37.1 million by June 2016.

Pak Datacom is one of the leading communication services providers of the country. “I have not yet received the AGM’s decision”, said Kayani when he was contacted for his version. Kayani said that the government cannot implement the AGM’s decision until the Islamabad High Court decides the matter.

Courtesy : Express Tribune

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