LAHORE: In a notification sent to the Pakistan Stock Exchange (PSX), Ghandhara Nissan Limited (GHNL) notified the bourse that it had been awarded “Category-B Brownfield Investment Status” by the Ministry of Industries and Production under the Automotive Development Policy 2016-21, here on Thursday.
The notification read “This is to inform that GHNL has been awarded “Category-B Brownfield Investment Status” by the Ministry of Industries and Production under the Automotive Development Policy 2016-21, for revival of an existing assembly and/or facility for the manufacturing of Datsun passenger cars.”
It had long been speculated that Ghandhara was looking to restart its production in Pakistan under the Auto Development policy (2016-2021). Earlier in 2016, a delegation of Nissan Japan, Renault France, Al Futtaim Group UAE and Gandhara Nissan Limited met with then Minister of State Dr Miftah Ismail, who is currently serving as the Federal Adviser on Finance, Revenue and Economic Affairs to discuss the timelines of commencement of vehicle production. Although the delegation was aiming to revive manufacturing in 2017 but failed to do so.
Later, in October 2017, the company’s team led by its CEO Ahmed Kuli Khan Khattak approached BOI officials once again to seek approval to restart its assembly plant under the auto policy 2016-2021.
However, it was later reported that Ghandara Nissan was unable to attain Brownfield status, according to a senior Engineering Development Board (EDB) official. Ghandara Nissan told the government it would be looking to make an investment of $200 million to restart the plant while warning that if the Brownfield status was not granted, it would move its investment to Algeria.
As a result, EDB and Board of Investment (BOI) suggested placing Ghandara Nissan’s investment plan as a Brownfield investment under the new auto policy of 2016-2021.
Under the Brownfield status, Ghandara Nissan would be permitted to import auto parts at discounted rates of customs duty for a duration of three years. The company will also be permitted to import parts not being manufactured in Pakistan at 10 per cent customs duty and those being produced in Pakistan at 25 per cent for production of light commercial vehicles and cars.
The revival of operations at the plant is likely to be either taken up independently by original proprietors, new investors or under a joint-venture agreement with a foreign company or via the acquisition of plant by the foreign company.
Ghandara Nissan had halted car manufacturing since 2010; however, the newly awarded status is likely to attract Rs4.5 billion in the first four years of its operations while creating over 1,810 job opportunities in Pakistan.