Islamabad – A Saudi group is exploring option of acquiring different IT companies in Pakistan, Managing Director Pakistan Software Exports Board said, as the South Asian country focuses on increasing its share in the global IT industry.
Managing Director PSEB Asim Shahryar Husain told an official meeting in Islamabad that PSEB will act as the group’s strategic partner and will organize roadshows in Pakistani metropolitan cities of Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad in April.
After acquiring these companies, the Saudi group plans to take them to public through Initial Public Offering (IPSs), said an official statement issued after the board meeting of PSEB, a government-backed company. The statement did not mention name of the Saudi group.
Pakistan’s IT exports has witnessed a 35 percent growth over the last year and the sector is expected to bring about $500 million in remittances in the financial year 2014-15, ending June 30, IT Minister Anusha Rahman told the meeting she presided over.
Sitting at the crossroads between East and West Asia, Pakistan is seeking to attract investment in its IT industry whose global share is estimated at $2.8 billion, according to statistics by the country’s Board of Investment. Currently, there are about 110,000 English-speaking IT professionals in Pakistan, 24,000 of them engaged in exports.
There are 1,500 registered IT companies in Pakistan, including two listed on the country’s benchmark Karachi Stock Exchanges, two on NASDAQ and one on Dubai International Finance Exchange, according to BOI. As many as seven MNCs have “Development Centers” in Pakistan.
Pakistan offers lucrative incentives to the IT sector that includes 100% ownership of equity for investing foreign IT companies and exemption from income tax till 2016.
The country’s IT sector also allows 100% repatriation of profits to IT companies with seven years’ tax holiday for venture capital funds.
Over 85% of Pakistan’s telecommunication infrastructure is on fiber-optic cables. Internet access is available in over 2,000 cities and towns across the country, according to PSEB.