BB offers Tk 1,000cr to save ailing cinemas
Bangladesh Bank yesterday declared a Tk 1,000 crore fund aimed at salvaging the country’s ailing movie theatres. Existing owners of cinemas and new entrepreneurs will be able to avail soft loans from the fund, according to a central bank notice. The initiative comes from the banking regulator as the number of operational cinemas slumped below 100 due to a drastic fall in the number of audiences. In its notice, Bangladesh Bank said there were around 1,400 movie theatres in the country during the 90s. The number has been on the decline over the years due to different hurdles. Under the central bank programme, banks will take out funds at 1.5 per cent interest while the end-users of metropolitan areas will get it at 5 per cent interest. However, clients outside metropolitan areas can avail the fund at 4.5 per cent interest. Borrowers will get a repayment tenure of eight years, including a one-year grace period. The central bank formed the scheme by way of using its own funds and will initially disburse Tk 500 crore. Currently, there are 300 movie theatres in the country. Of them, 60-70 are currently operational. The pandemic was a further blow to the halls as they lost audiences further because of the prolonged restriction on public movement that lasted between March 15 to October 15.
BATBC leads drop in stock index
Stocks of British American Tobacco Bangladesh (BATBC) led the market fall yesterday despite its earlier announcement of 600 per cent cash and 200 per cent stock dividends. DSEX, the benchmark index of the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE), dropped 37 points, or 0.68 per cent, to 5,557 yesterday. As the company’s stock price is still over TK 1,600 and it announced 200 per cent stock dividends with the floor price set at Tk 907.60 on March 19 last year, the adjusted price must go lower than the floor price, he said, adding the confusion about BATBC’s adjusted price influenced the change in its value. BATBC’s dividend announcement was published on the DSE website last Thursday, when its stock price rose 12 per cent to Tk 1,700. Yesterday the multinational cigarette maker’s stock fell 5.96 per cent to Tk 1,599. Last year, the company logged profits of about Tk 1,088.6 crore, up 36.9 per cent year-on-year. BATBC declared the bonus shares by considering the utilization of its accumulated profit, which stood at Tk 3,213 crore for the year that ended on December 31 of 2020, the company said in a disclosure on the DSE website. Delta Spinners topped the gainers’ list, rising 9.85 per cent followed by Keya Cosmetics, Taufika Foods and Agro Industries, Beximco and Beximco Pharmaceuticals. Beximco topped the turnover list, trading worth Tk 217 crore followed by BATBC, Beximco Pharmaceuticals, Robi Axiata and LankaBangla Finance. Prime Insurance shed the most, falling 9.65 per cent followed by Federal Insurance, Peoples Insurance, City General Insurance, and United Insurance.
Tk 946cr project to beef up rural internet network
The government is going to expand the Internet Protocol (IP) network of the Bangladesh Telecommunications Company Limited (BTCL) with an aim to expand broadband network to upazila and union levels. The development comes as a part of the government’s efforts to meet the country’s growing data demand. The Tk 945.90 crore project will also enhance the capacity of the state-owned company, enabling it to install and modernise the IP equipment in each district, upazila and union parishad as well as increase the capacity of its international internet gateways (IIGs) and national internet exchanges (NIXs). Matin went on to say that the project aims to increase the BTCL’s broadband capacity to 100 gigabytes per second (gbps) in upazila levels, 300 gbps in district levels, 400 gbps in divisional levels and over 1,000 gbps in the capital. Currently, BTCL can provide 10 gbps data in district levels. However, it increased its highest capacity from 137 gbps in 2019 to 400 gbps now. The number of connections witnessed a leap in March, when Bangladesh reported its first coronavirus infection, adding over 23 lakh new subscribers in one month.
37 apparel makers investing $650m in Bangabandhu Shilpa Nagar
Some 37 local textile and garment manufacturers have started investing in Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Shilpa Nagar (BSMSN) to establish high-end apparel factories. Together they plan to invest $650 million. A few have already availed industrial plots at the park, which was built on reclaimed land in the Bay of Bengal, signing a 50-year lease. Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (Beza) has been developing the allocated plots by providing them with access to gas, power, water, sewage lines and other utilities. The government has been developing the country’s largest industrial park, the BSMSN, on 30,000 acres of land, of which more than 80 per cent was reclaimed from the Bay of Bengal at Chattogram. Some 37 garment entrepreneurs have received their industrial plots so far as they have already paid 50 per cent or 100 per cent of the price