Bestway Group Invests $230 Million in United Bank Limited

London, 26th January 2011 : The Bestway Group, the UK based conglomerate founded and chaired by Sir Anwar Pervez, has announced that it has increased its shareholding in United Bank Limited (UBL) to 51.07% by acquiring an additional 20% of the shares from the Abu Dhabi Group. HSBC provided fully integrated advisory and financing solutions and acted as sole bank in the deal. All regulatory approvals from SBP, CCOP and SECP have obtained.

UBL is Pakistan's second largest private bank. In 2002, a consortium consisting of Bestway Group and Abu Dhabi Group acquired 51% of UBL shares together with management rights and control of the bank through the Government of Pakistan's privatisation process. The consortium currently owns 61.37% of the bank with Bestway Group at 31.07% and Abu Dhabi Group at 30.30%.

After this investment, the management rights and control of the bank will continue to remain within the same consortium. No changes are being made in the senior management or in the board of directors.

Mr Zameer Choudrey, Chief Executive of Bestway Group said, "This is a strategic long term investment for Bestway Group. We are delighted to make this acquisition as we believe that UBL is a solid bank with a huge potential for the future". Mr Choudrey stated, "This investment is a testimony of Bestway Group's long term commitment to UBL and Pakistan".

WMark Haines, HSBC's Head of Corporate Banking in the Thames Valley commented: "Bestway Group is a long-standing customer and a thriving business. This funding demonstrates our ongoing commitment to the company, and is a great example of how HSBC can help customers to take advantage of international growth opportunities."

UBL has an asset base of $7.6 billion, advances of $4.3 billion, deposits of $5.98 billion, CAR of 14.4% and EPS of 8.7x. UBL has a vast network of over 1,100 branches in Pakistan and a strong presence in Middle East, North America, Europe, China and Central Asia. It has a UK based subsidiary, United National Bank which has six branches in UK. UBL provides employment to over 14,500 people and serves over 5 million customers.

Since 2002, UBL has achieved numerous milestones in all aspects of its business. With a wide ranging dynamic portfolio of globally competitive products and services, and a proven track record spanning over half a century, UBL today is at the forefront of the banking sector in Pakistan as well as in the region.

In looking to the future, Mr Choudrey said, "UBL shall continue to focus on strengthening its balance sheet through acquisition of low cost deposits and improvement in asset quality, as well as grow its international business in a secure and selective manner".

"Overseas Pakistanis play an indispensible role in the development of Pakistan. Bestway Group is proud to be a part of non resident Pakistani diaspora and we hope to develop UBL into a conduit for bringing in more investments into Pakistan from other non resident Pakistanis", said Mr Choudrey.

Bestway Group is among the top ten family businesses in UK with annual turnover of £2.1 billion. Bestway Group's wholesale operations are the 2nd largest in the UK with an 18% market share. It trades from 61 warehouses, covering over 5.5 million sq ft of selling space, offering a product range of over 25,000 items and serving over 120,000 independent retailers and foodservice customers nationally. The Group also provides employment to over 5,000 people in UK.

Bestway Group's wholesale operations continue to expand. In June 2010, the Group acquired the Bellevue business from the Bensons in Scotland. In October 2010, the Group opened a new state of the art warehouse in Aintree, Liverpool. A month later, in November 2010, Bestway Group acquired the Martex business in Scotland from CJ Lang. In a short period of six months, the Group added six warehouses to its existing portfolio, taking the total to 61 warehouses.

Bestway Group's cement operations i.e. Bestway Cement Limited is the 2nd largest cement manufacturer in Pakistan. It has four state of the art cement plants with a total capacity of 6 million tonnes per annum and employs over 3,000 people. The company is also the largest exporter of cement to Afghanistan and India. Bestway Cement Limited has set up a 15 MW Waste Heat Recovery Power Plant at its Chakwal plant site, the first of its kind in Pakistan.

Bestway Group's advisers for the acquisition were HSBC Global Banking and funding for the acquisition was solely arranged by HSBC Bank plc who is the Group's house bank.