HSBC announces 10pc interest rebate for good borrowers
The central bank has warned that it will not spare any bank if it fails to follow its directive to pay a 10 percent rebate on realised interest to all good borrowers. “Every bank must give incentives to its borrowers with regular payment records,” SK Sur Chowdhury, deputy governor of Bangladesh Bank, said at a programme organised by HSBC at the Westin hotel in Dhaka to recognise its good clients. HSBC is the first bank in Bangladesh to announce benefits for its customers to comply with a BB order. In a notice in March, the central bank directed banks to pay a 10 percent rebate on realised interest to all good borrowers. The borrowers will be given the rebate on interest in the third year of loan repayment. This rebate will continue in the following years if the borrowers continue to repay on time.
No significant rise in BO accounts in last six months
The number of active beneficiary owner’s (BO) accounts witnessed no significant rise in last six months due to ‘reduced’ opportunity for general IPO seekers after enhancement of quota for institutions and others, brokers said. Some stakeholders, however, termed the static position of BO accounts as ‘positive’ for the capital market. According to information of Central Depository Bangladesh Limited (CDBL), the number of active BO accounts was 3,153,442 as of July 1, 2016. Later, on September 8, 2016 the number reduced to 2,912,380 after closing of 241,062 accounts. On Wednesday (yesterday), the number of active BO accounts stood at 2,931,862. Some 19,482 accounts were opened in last three months but the current figure of active BO accounts is yet to touch or cross the number of 3,153,442 observed on July 1 last. The officials of some stock brokers said the number of BO accounts mainly rises following the opportunity of general investors to hit the jackpot in IPOs (initial public offering). As per revised public issue rules, eligible institutional investors (EIIs) will be able to apply for 40% shares of a company willing to go public under fixed price method. The regulator has preserved 10% quota for mutual funds (MFs), 10% for non-resident Bangladeshis (NRBs) and remaining 40% for general investors in the IPO approved under fixed price method.
Finance Minister AMA Muhith assured Wednesday some steps would be taken soon for offloading more stakes of state-owned enterprises (SoEs) on the bourses to stimulate the stock market. He underscored the need for expanding the size of stock market by listing more and more companies to rope in investors. Mr Muhith was speaking at a meeting with newly elected executives of the DSE Brokers Association (DBA) at his secretariat office. DBA president Ahmad Rashid led the delegation. The minister mentioned that the secretary of the bank and financial institutions division recently held a meeting with the representatives of the SoEs which have been selected for offloading shares on the stocks-hungry market. He turned down a proposal for paying BDT 60 billion as soft loan to help mitigate the negative equity on the market when the DBA supplemented the demand made earlier by Bangladesh Merchant Bankers Association (BMBA). The finance minister, however, supported an alternative proposal in this regard, saying that the BMBA may be allowed to issue bond to collect the money. Earlier, Mr Rashid in his speech requested the minister for quick formation of financial reporting council (FRC) which will be very much helpful for the country’s stock market. He said the stock exchanges themselves ought to offload 60% shares. Many internationally reputed companies are showing interest in buying the shares, which is recognition of country’s economy and capital market.
Stockbrokers yesterday sought a BDT 60.0 billion special fund from the government to increase the supply of money to the capital market, which is suffering from high volatility since the price crash in early 2011. The fund will be used to buy securities when a downward trend continues in the market, and later sold during an upward trend, the DSE Brokers Association of Bangladesh said. At present, there is a huge amount of negative equity in the market due to the erosion of share prices. The amount of outstanding margin loans stood at around BDT 150.0 billion in December last year. Of the amount, negative equity is around BDT 60.0 billion, according to the association, which placed a set of recommendations before Finance Minister AMA Muhith at his office at the secretariat. Negative equity is when the value of an asset falls below the outstanding balance on the loan used to purchase that asset. Earlier in September, merchant bankers also sought a BDT 60.0 billion special fund from the government. In a proposal to the finance minister, the Bangladesh Merchant Bankers Association had said they would take loans from the fund at a rate of 3.0% and then lend it to their clients or investors at 5.0%.
Bangladesh, five others may graduate from LDC category in 08 years
Six Least Developed Countries (LDCs), including Bangladesh, are projected to graduate from their existing status by 2024, according to a latest report of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). Seven more LDCs might also come out of the league by 2021, according to the Least Developed Countries Report 2016, prepared and published Monday. Moreover, two African LDCs — Equatorial Guinea and Angola — are set to graduate from the category in 2017 and 2020 respectively. One Pacific LDC, Vanuatu, would also come out of the league in 2017. This year’s report focused on the graduation of LDCs from this category. UNCTAD projected that Bangladesh’s pre-eligibility for graduation will be completed in 2018 and, in 2021, the country will comply with all three criteria by becoming fully statistically eligible for graduation. “Finally, the graduation will take place in 2024.” The criteria are per capita income, Human Asset Index (HAI) and Economic Vulnerability Index (EVI). According to the report: “Bangladesh is focusing primarily on the HAI criterion, as it has already fulfilled the EVI criterion and remains far below the graduation threshold for GNI.” Five other countries will follow the similar path. These are Afghanistan, Djibouti, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Yemen.
The Board of Directors of Lafarge Surma Cement Ltd, in its meeting held Wednesday approved the acquisition of 100% shares of Holcim Bangladesh from the LafargeHolcim Group. The transaction is subject to approval by the shareholders of Lafarge Surma as well as other regulatory and customary approvals in Bangladesh, said a statement. Upon completion of the transaction, the company shall have a ‘unique combination of production facilities’, with the only clinker production facility in Bangladesh and four grinding plants across the country. Lafarge Surma Cement (LSC) is a group company of LafargeHolcim Group and CementosMolins. Earlier, the Lafarge Surma board in its meeting dated November 02, 2016, announced exploring the opportunity of combining the business of Holcim Bangladesh and Lafarge Surma. Lafarge Surma has conducted due diligence on Holcim Bangladesh and assessed the synergy potentials, based on which the Board has approved to progress on the proposed transaction. The company will also become a major player with a production capacity of 4.2 million tons and will offer a range of products including Supercrete, Holcim Strong Structure, Holcim Red and Holcim Gold.
Grameenphone breached its internal guidelines in 11 of its 250 sponsorship agreements, including one with the police, said the mobile operator’s parent company Telenor Group after an internal audit. “They should never have been allocated in the first place. This is unacceptable,” the Norwegian company said in a statement. Telenor’s internal audit uncovered unacceptable sponsorships in Grameenphone for the first time back in 2013. “The most serious breach concerned a sporting event related to the Bangladesh Armed Forces,” Telenor said. Subsequently, the Norwegian company put in place a new guideline for sponsorship agreements for Grameenphone as per the recommendation of the internal audit. Another compliance review was carried out in 2016 and a new set of unacceptable sponsorships were detected. The sponsorships were all approved by members of Grameenphone’s management.
Honda has slashed prices of its motorcycles in Bangladesh by up to 16.5% after the company got duty benefit for its plan to manufacture bikes locally in the next few years. The new price, which will be applicable to five models, became effective from yesterday, said a press release from Honda Bangladesh Private Ltd (BHL), a joint venture between Japan’s Honda Motor Co Ltd and state-run Bangladesh Steel & Engineering Corporation. From now, the price of Honda’s Dream Neo, its most popular model, will be BDT 119,000, down 16.5% from its previous price. The price of its CB Shine 125 model has been slashed 10% to BDT 146,000 each. The announcement comes after Honda got the benefit of reduced supplementary duty on import of motorcycle in complete knocked down (CKD) form for signing up as a ‘progressive manufacturer’. As a progressive manufacturer, BHL will soon have to start making parts and machinery of motorcycles and gradually increase the proportion of local manufacturing. Once a firm gets approval as progressive manufacturer from the ministry of industries, the supplementary duty for importing bikes in CKD form is reduced to 20.0% from 45.0%. The National Board of Revenue offered the reduced import duty privilege to CKD motorcycles from the current fiscal year with a view to developing the local motorcycle industry. BHL said it has submitted its stepwise localisation plan to become a progressive manufacturer and subsequently got the approval from the government. Some 150,000 units of motorcycles were sold in fiscal 2015-16, down 14.29% year-on-year, according to BHL. The company also said it wants to make motorcycle a more affordable form of transportation for the masses.
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