Pandemic leaves little impact on steel, cement makers
Leading steel, cement and paint companies related to the construction sector witnessed higher profits in the July-December period of the current financial year despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Although industry insiders fear that they will face 30 per cent lower profits from the July-December period, the reality is different as profits came mainly due to higher demand from government development projects. Among five listed cement manufacturers, three saw higher profits, one returned to profits and the last incurred a loss albeit on a lower extent compared to that in the same period the previous year. Meanwhile, all listed steel mills booked higher profits while multinational Berger Paints, also witnessed higher profits in the period. Premier Cement booked almost double its half-yearly profits compared to that in the same period of the previous year. Its earnings per share was Tk 2.51 in the July-December period of 2020-21, which was Tk 1.16 previously. There are 37 active cement factories in Bangladesh and more than Tk 30,000 crore has been invested in the industry. Manufacturers have a combined annual production capacity of 58 million tonnes against local demand of 33 million tonnes. Of the total demand, individuals account for 25 per cent, real estate companies and developers 30 per cent and public sector 45 per cent. The industry employs 60,000 people directly and another one million indirectly. Masud Khan, chief adviser of MI Cement, said they made around 28 per cent higher gross profit during the last quarter as their sales volume was huge. MI Cement earned EPS of Tk 2.03, which was previously Tk 1.89 in the negative. Profits of Confidence Cement and Meghna Cement also rose in the period. However, Aramit Cement remained in losses but to a reduced extent. GPH Ispat’s earnings per share rose 113 per cent to Tk 1.75. The steel industry in Bangladesh is worth Tk 55,000 crore. There are about 40 active manufacturers with a combined capacity to produce nine million tonnes of steel a year.
DSEX sinks below 5,700-mark
Stocks plummeted on Sunday, with core index of the Dhaka Stock Exchange falling below 5,700-mark as the latest quarterly earnings failed to meet investors’ expectations. More than 100 listed companies posted their October-December, 2020 quarter earnings on the DSE website Sunday. Of them, 66 companies saw their earnings decline. The market opened on negative note which continued until end of the session with no sign of reversal amid persistently lackluster trade. DSEX, the prime index of the DSE, went down by 74.49 points or 1.30 per cent to settle at 5,649, after adding nearly 29 points in the past two consecutive sessions. The key index, however, added 248 points or 4.58 per cent in January, the first month of this year. Two other indices also saw major correction. The DSE 30 Index comprising blue chips plunged 30.81 points to finish at 2,160 and the DSE Shariah Index (DSES) fell 15 points to close at 1,265. Newly listed Energypac Power Generation continued to slide as its stock saw 7.39 per cent price fall to close at Tk 66.40. Square Pharma stock fell 2.16 per cent despite its earnings per share grows 17 per cent year-on-year to Tk 4.33 in October-December, 2020. Summit Power plunged by 7.63 per cent, followed by LafargeHocim with 6.0 per cent. Robi Axiata faced further correction by 1.32 per cent while GP share fell 1.35 per cent. Risk-averse investors, particularly small one, released their holdings after noticing that some heavyweight issues started to fall, said a merchant banker. Turnover, a crucial indicator of the market, came down to one and a half month low to Tk 8.23 billion, which was 12.5 per cent lower than the previous day’s Tk 9.41 billion. Beximco- the flagship company of Beximco Group continued to dominate the turnover chart with 17.65 million shares of 1.55 billion changing hands, followed by Robi Axiata, LankaBangla Finance, British American Tobacco and Summit Power. MI Cement-the cement marker-stole the show gaining almost 10 per cent as the investor reacted positively to its second quarter earnings result. It reported that its EPS was Tk 1.52 in Q2 of 2020, up from negative Tk 1.80 in the same period a year earlier. The Chittagong Stock Exchange (CSE) also fell sharply with the CSE All Share Price Index – CASPI -losing by 200 points to settle at 16,474 and the Selective Categories Index – CSCX shedding 123 points to close at 9,942.
TK Group to invest Tk 6,600cr in Bangabandhu Shilpa Nagar
Samuda Food Products, a subsidiary of TK Group, is set to make a fresh investment of Tk 6,600 crore in the consumer goods and chemical sectors. Samuda had initially planned to invest Tk 1,744.80 crore but the investment increased as the group got financing assurance from foreign banks. Samuda has already started work to set up a factory on a 60-acre plot at the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Shilpa Nagar (BSMSN) in Mirsarai, Chattogram. Each of the sugar refinery and the seed crushing mill will have a production capacity of about 3,000 tonnes per day. Haider went on to say that 70 per cent of the total investment will be financed by foreign banks while the remaining 30 per cent will come from equity. TK Group is one of the largest and diverse business conglomerates in Bangladesh with 43 active business units and more than 12,000 employees. In the last four-and-a-half decades, the group has invested in edible oils and fats, steel, board, paper, textile, packaging and containers, tea plantation, ship building, consumer products, trading shares and securities.
Renata buying Tk 20cr land for expansion
Renata, one of the leading drug makers, is going to invest nearly Tk 20 crore in purchasing land as part of its expansion plans to cater to domestic and international markets. The company said its board had decided to buy over two acres of land and a 74,082 square feet building from Sajida Foundation at Kaliakoir, Gazipur. The drug maker said its turnover rose 13 per cent to Tk 1,419 crore in the July-December period of the financial year 2020-21 from Tk 1,235 crore in the same period a year ago. Meanwhile, its profit after tax increased 15 per cent to Tk 241 crore from Tk 209 crore. Renata posted an increase in its earnings per share during the period. With 10 manufacturing facilities in three locations, the pharma maker has also reported an 83 per cent year-on-year growth in exports and contract manufacturing to Tk 219 crore.
Nestlé BD signs MoU with HVF
Nestlé Bangladesh Limited has entered into MoU with House of Volunteers Foundation (HVF) recently, whereas, they will sponsor ‘Bangladesh Stockholm Junior Water Prize’ (SJWPBD) along with Water Aid to arrange National Competition, water science projects to prepare Bangladeshi students for the International Competitions.