Record $1.2b remittance flows in 15 days of Nov
Bangladesh earned a record $1.2 billion in remittance in the first 15 days in November, the finance ministry said yesterday, despite grim forecasts made at the height of the pandemic about the money sent by migrant workers. Even amid the coronavirus pandemic, the surge in remittance has kept its pace, the ministry said in a press release. In just 12 days this month, expatriates sent more than $1 billion. From July 1 to November 12, remittance inflow stood at $9.69 billion, up 43.42 per cent from $6.89 billion year-on-year. The migrant workers remitted $2.11 billion in October, which was way higher than $1.64 billion flown to the country in the same month a year ago. October’s receipts were the third-highest monthly flow in history, behind July’s $2.59 billion and September’s $2.15 billion. In April, the multinational lender had said money sent by the migrant workers to Bangladesh is projected at $14 billion for 2020, a fall likely of about 22 per cent because of the fallouts of the pandemic. The rising flow from May led the WB to forecast on October 30 that inbound remittance would accelerate by about 8 per cent to $19.8 billion this year. Bangladesh is forecast to have posted the highest year-on-year remittance growth of 53.5 per cent among the top 49 recipient-countries in the third quarter of 2020. Bangladesh received $18.3 billion in remittance in 2019.
IPDC Finance sees record revenue, excess liquidity
IPDC Finance Limited has declared record revenue and highest excess liquidity of all time. The country’s first private sector non-banking financial institution (NBFI) announced the success in its quarter three (Q3) 2020 investors’ meet, held virtually on Sunday, according to a press statement. Besides sharing the Q3 financial statements, the session also covered the company’s future strategies for the post-Covid period. In 2020, IPDC’s customer deposit has increased by 20.5 per cent compared to December 2019 due to its innovative deposit campaigns. Besides, its revenue has grown by 29.1 per cent year-over-year, while its classified loan ratio of 1.59 per cent remains the lowest in the sector among the publicly listed diversified NBFIs. Despite the pandemic, IPDC has outperformed its own performance compared to the same period last year. It has maintained a strong capital base with an adequacy ratio of 17.50 per cent, the statement mentioned. After setting aside adequate provisioning (for possible difficult times ahead), the company has registered Tk 500.30 million solid net profit after tax during the period from January to September 2020, which is 13.4 per cent higher than that of last year. The company has also ended Q3 of 2020 with a strong liquidity cushion of Tk 8.25 billion that is the highest till date, and enough to meet its short-term obligations. To support the community, IPDC not only started ‘IPDC Manobota’, a deposit product to help people save money, and at the same time provide food among underprivileged people against the deposited amount.
Robi’s IPO subscription begins today
The biggest initial public offering in Bangladesh’s history will make a major step forward today as investors would be able to bid for the shares of Robi-Axiata. The offer closes on November 23. General and eligible investors and non-resident Bangladeshis can apply for the shares. Robi, the second-largest mobile network operator, is going to raise Tk 523.79 crore from its IPO, overtaking market leader Grameenphone’s floatation of Tk 486 crore in 2009. At the end of October this year, the network provider reached the milestone of five crore subscribers in a testament to its growing influence in the local market. Grameenphone has more than 7.76 crore active subscribers. Robi was the first operator to launch 3.5G services in Bangladesh. It rolled out 4.5G services across all 64 districts in 2018. Since Robi is a multinational company that maintains good governance, it will attract foreign investors, said Khairul Bashar Abu Taher Mohammed, chief executive officer of MTB Capital, a merchant bank. Robi will issue 52.3 crore shares, which account for 10 per cent of the company’s total number of shares, at face value of Tk 10. Initially, the operator will raise Tk 136 crore from the stock market by issuing 13.6 crore shares. The remaining Tk 387.74 crore would be raised by doling out a further 38.77 crore shares. Of the 38.77 crore shares, around 19.39 crore will be issued to general investors and 15.44 crore to eligible investors. The rest will go to non-resident Bangladeshi investors. The operator demanded that the turnover tax be reduced to 0.75 per cent from the existing 2 per cent and the corporate tax be slashed by 10 percentage points to 35 per cent for the next 10 years. Alam said Robi is paying an effective tax rate of 95 per cent. The company had tried to get listed in 2015, but it backtracked due to “unfavourable business circumstances.” Its paid-up capital was Tk 4,714 crore and turnover Tk 7,481 crore in 2019, according to the draft prospectus. The company’s per share net asset value was Tk 12.64 as of December 31, 2019. The carrier started its journey in 1997 under the brand name of Aktel. It then changed its name to Axiata (Bangladesh) in 2009 and took the present name Robi Axiata in 2010. Axiata holds a 68.69 per cent stake in the company and the Delhi-based Bharti Airtel owns the remaining 31.31 per cent.
Work on deep-sea port begins
A decision by the energy ministry to stop providing new gas connections to the industries outside economic zones and industrial parks from April next year has drawn the ire of industrialists. Trade body and business chamber leaders said they did not fully agree with the initiative as such a sudden move will act as a hurdle to industrialisation. A circular from the Energy and Mineral Resources Division on October 5 said the government would not allow any new gas connections to the industries located outside of economic zones from March 31 next year to bring about industrialisation in a planned way. The government’s decision on planned industrialisation is vital. I am also in favour of the move. However, the investment will be affected as economic zones are not ready to set up industrial plants, he said. The energy and mineral resources division issued the circular citing an instruction of the prime minister at a meeting of the governing body of the Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Shilpa Nagar on October 20, 2019. In order to discourage unplanned industrialisation, all utility services, including power and gas connection will have to be stopped in phases except for that inside the economic zones.” The directive does not apply to the economic zones under the Bangladesh Economic Zones Authority (Beza), and the industrial sites under the Bangladesh Small and Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC). There are more than 8.8 million cottage, micro, small and medium enterprises, many of which cannot buy land at the economic zones to set up industries.
Engineering consultants start work for Matarbari port dev project
The engineering consultant team appointed for the development of Matarbari deep-sea port in Moheshkhali started its work yesterday. The Chattogram Port Authority (CPA) on September 23 signed an agreement with Japanese firm Nippon Koei Joint Venture (JV) Company Ltd for the engineering and consultancy services of the Matarbari Port Development Project. Nippon Koei was selected as the top-ranked consulting firm to render engineering related services with a negotiated contract price of Tk 234 crore. The consultant team also includes Overseas Coastal Area Development Institute of Japan (OCDI), Japan Port Consultants (JPC) and a Bangladeshi firm Development Design Consultants Ltd. Also, the team would provide technology transfer to the CPA. The team consists of 30 experts from Japan, 18 from Bangladesh and 21 supporting staff, all of whom are Bangladeshi nationals. The detail design would be conducted between November 2020 and June 2021. The schedule for completing tender assistance is from July 2021 to June 2022, and the construction supervision from July 2022 to December 2025. In the first phase, a 300-metre multi-purpose terminal with a backup area of 29.15 acres will be constructed by June 2025. A 460-metre container terminal with a backup area of 50 acres will be built within December 2025. Once constructed, the container terminal of the port would be capable of providing berthing facilities to big container ships with a draft limit of 18 metres and capacity to transport 8,000 to 10,000 TEUs (twenty-foot equivalent units) of containers, the CPA chairman said. In the multi-purpose terminal, large cargo vessels which can transport 80,000 to 100,000 tonnes of cargoes would be able to berth, he said. Currently, ships with as high as 9.5-metre draft can berth at the Chattogram port.
BRAC Bank launches TARA Uddokta for women entrepreneurs
BRAC Bank has recently launched ‘TARA Uddokta’, – an interest-bearing current account specially designed for women entrepreneurs, said a statement. ‘TARA Uddokta’ offers reduced fees, along with higher interest rates, exclusive cashback offers, and special pricing on insurance products for women entrepreneurs. A TARA Uddokta account can be opened with Tk 1000 only. Apart from that, TARA Uddokta offers free issuance of debit cards, health insurance packages with exclusive pricing, special merchant service rate on POS machines, welcome vouchers from different lifestyle brands with a debit card, and many more.
Mercantile Bank workshop on compliance issues of RMG industry
Mercantile Bank organised a virtual workshop on ‘Monitoring and Compliance Issues of Ready Made Garments (RMG) Industry’ recently. Head of respective divisions of head office and branch heads, branch forex-in-charge along RMG cell officials of Head Office participated in the virtual session. A total of 65 officials attended the online programme.