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Pakistan’s conglomerate Engro looks to diversify, grow beyond borders

By News Desk
May 08, 2024
Engro Fertilizers Limited plant can be seen in this image. — LinkedIn/Engro Fertilizers Limited/File
Engro Fertilizers Limited plant can be seen in this image. — LinkedIn/Engro Fertilizers Limited/File

KARACHI: Pakistan's largest conglomerate, Engro Corp, is looking to expand into new markets, including the Middle East, Central Asia and Africa, the chemicals-to-energy company's largest investor said on Tuesday.

Speaking to Reuters in a rare interview, Samad Dawood, Vice Chairman of Dawood Hercules Corporation which owns 40 percent of Engro Corp, said the company was also looking into global liquefied natural gas (LNG) opportunities as well as hydrogen energy.

The expansion plans include looking at telecoms infrastructure in countries in the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia, while it is looking at Africa to expand its fertilizer businesses, he said.

Engro Corp has a market capitalisation of 193 billion rupees ($694 million) on the Pakistan Stock Exchange and assets of 802 billion rupees ($2.9 billion), according to public data.The group has businesses across multiple sectors in Pakistan, including energy, fertilizer, telecommunications and consumer goods.

It owns 56 percent of Pakistan's first LNG terminal, Engro Elengy Terminal Pakistan, set up in the southern city of Karachi in 2015, along with Dutch energy logistics giant Royal Vopak which owns 44 percent.

The terminal fulfils 15 percent of Pakistan's natural gas demand.Dawood said Engro will continue to invest in energy despite having sold its coal-based assets, and was exploring new avenues for sustainable energy production.

He said the company was talking to technology providers in the hydrogen energy sector to figure out how to use ammonia as an energy transition solution.

He said Pakistan was far from being energy secure and there were plenty of opportunities to invest further in the power sector, but the company would want to move away from fixed contract businesses.

Energy starved Pakistan has moved toward reliance on LNG after its own domestic gas supplies dwindled fast as consumption in the industrial and residential sectors has increased.However, expensive LNG has driven up gas prices and stoked inflation.