After years of flat direct foreign investment, it has taken China’s pledges of billions to get overseas companies to start looking beyond Pakistan’s negative headlines on security challenges and power outages.
While investment into Pakistan has been little changed in the three years since Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was elected, companies including Turkey home appliances maker Arcelik AS and Dutch dairy giant Royal FrieslandCampina NV are making acquisitions in Pakistan.
Along with a military crackdown against militants following a 2014 school massacre and the government’s plans to end power shortages by 2018, it is China’s vote of confidence in the country that has boosted investor confidence. It pledged $46 billion in soft loans and investments in a so-called China-Pakistan Economic Corridor, or CPEC, announced last year.
“If you look at demographic and population, it’s just a great place to be,” said Naz Khan, Chief Financial Officer at Engro Corporation Ltd. whose food subsidiary is being bought by Dutch dairy company FrieslandCampina, which is looking to take a 51 percent stake in a deal valued at about $545 million at the Nov. 4 closing.