Important Business News Extracts – February 14 2017
Banks, NBFIs sign deals to disburse JICA funds
A band of 25 banks and 10 non-banking financial institutions (NBFIs) signed participatory agreements with the central bank Monday to disburse funds under a JICA scheme. The main objective of the Urban Building Safety Project (UBSP) is to strengthen RMG building safety through short-to long-term financing for retrofitting, rebuilding, relocation, fire safety and working capital facilities. The flagship project in the sector, worth Tk 2.68 billion, also helps in building a complete ecosystem of environment-friendly apparel factories ensuring workers’ safety through improvement in working conditions.
First Security Islami Bank to issue BDT 4.5 billion bond
The board of directors of First Security Islami Bank has decided to issue fully redeemable non-convertible subordinated bond of BDT 4.50 billion, said an official disclosure on Monday. The bond issue is subject to approval from the regulatory authorities – Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) and Bangladesh Bank (BB) for enhancement of Tier-II capital as per requirement of Basel-III and business expansion of the bank, the disclosure said. First Security Islami Bank was listed on the Dhaka bourse in 2008. The bank belongs to the “A” category. The sponsor-directors own 48.0% stake in the bank, while institutional investors own 17.81%, foreign investors 3.6% and the general public 30.58% as on January 31, 2017. The company’s paid-up capital is BDT 6,788.74 million and authorized capital is BDT 10,000 million, while total number of securities is 678,873,888, the DSE data shows. The bank’s share price hovered between BDT 15.0 and BDT 15.6, before closing at BDT 15.1 on Monday, losing 2.58% over the previous day.
IFIC Bank allowed to transfer USD 12.3 million to its Nepal venture
Bangladesh Bank has allowed IFIC Bank to transfer USD 12.28 million (nearly BDT 98 crore) to buy rights shares in Nepal Bangladesh Bank, a commercial bank IFIC set up in 1994 with Nepalese entrepreneurs. The central bank last month declined to give IFIC the green light for the fund transfer on the grounds that profit repatriation from NB Bank was significantly lower than its investments. Instead, it advised IFIC to provide the capital by selling the bonus shares received as dividends for fiscal 2015-16. The central bank also asked IFIC to repatriate the rest of the money after buying the rights shares. IFIC holds 40.91% stakes in the joint venture bank in Nepal and it needed to transfer the sum to buy right shares against the holdings to meet the regulatory requirement of the central bank of Nepal. NB Bank has to increase its capital to USD 70 million by 2017 Between 1994 and 2014, IFIC Bank transferred a total of USD 26.18 million to Nepal and repatriated only USD 1.4 million, according to a BB report. The report shows that the share price of NB Bank reached a highest of USD 8.0 a share from USD 4.8 in fiscal year 2015-16. Had IFIC Bank sold its bonus share, it would have bagged over USD 32.0 million — enough to buy the rights shares. Moreover, the bank will be able to repatriate over USD 23.0 million into Bangladesh. However, IFIC’s stakes in NB Bank would come down to 30.99%. NB Bank counted USD 11.2 million as profit in fiscal 2015-16.
Financial Stability Group (FSG) under formation for financial crisis resolution
Financial Stability Group (FSG), an apex body comprising all financial-sector regulators, comes up soon for dealing with possible financial shocks, officials said. Headed by the finance minister, the FSG will analyses periodically such factors as may affect the financial stability of the country-as the world at large still reels from the setbacks caused by the past financial flu. Different countries, including the United States, India, and Singapore, have already constituted similar bodies to get advice on how to deal with financial shocks. The move to form such an apex body has been made in line with a recommendation made by the World Bank Group in their mission report on Bangladesh contingency-planning project in March 2011. World Bank’s twin-the International Monetary Fund (IMF)–also made such recommendation while Bangladesh was taking extended credit facility (ECF).
Execution progress on the Padma Bridge stands far behind the target that prompted the government to initiate reappraisal of performances of the mega-project’s two foreign contractors, sources said. They said the stocktaking move stemmed from concerns of the project authorities as half the project life is already spent up. The Padma Multipurpose Bridge Project (PMBP) office has already informed the respective headquarters about the “unsatisfactory” performance of China Railway Major Bridge Engineering Group Company Limited and Sinohydro Corporation Limited.
ADB to provide USD 800.0 million loan for LNG-based power plant
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has assured the official agency concerned of providing nearly USD 800 million loan to it for setting up an 800-megawatt (MW) LNG-based power plant in Khulna, officials said Monday. Power Division officials said they held a meeting with the ADB Mission last week where the lender had assured them of the loan for the power plant project. A Consultation Mission from the ADB met the Power Division, Economic Relations Division (ERD) and other relevant agencies during its more than a week-long visit to Dhaka, they said. The North-West Power Generation Company Limited (NWPGCL) has taken the project to set up the power plant, to be run by liquefied natural gas (LNG). It will have dual-fuel provision so that the plant could also be operated by oil during any crisis of gas supply. Bangladesh is heavily dependent on its limited natural gas for generating power over the years. Since gas is depleting fast against the backdrop of its growing demand every year, the government has decided to set up power plants based on imported LNG, coal and oil. According to the NWPGCL, the LNG will be imported from India through a cross-border pipeline. To ensure uninterrupted fuel supply to the combined cycle power plant (CCPP), an 80-kilometre (km) gas transmission pipeline will be built under the project within the territory of Bangladesh.
Bangladesh’s apparel exports to the US, its single largest destination, declined 1.96% year-on-year to USD 5.5 billion, due to the volatile US economy and the recent presidential election. Bangladesh exported USD 5.92 billion worth of goods to the US in 2016, down from USD 6.0 billion a year ago, according to data from the US Department of Commerce. Garment items account for 95% of the goods exported from Bangladesh to the US market. Moreover, businessmen and traders adopted the “wait and see” strategy in 2016 for the probable changes to the major US policies relating to tariffs. Furthermore, there is a change in the attitude of the US consumers, who now prefer spending more on electronic gadgets compared to clothes, exporters said. Global apparel exports to the US declined 6.44% year-on-year to USD 104.72 billion in 2016 due to a fall in the buying capacity of the US consumers, said Mohammed Nasir, vice president of Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association. More electronic gadgets are now sold in the US compared to the clothing items, he said. The US election has also impacted retail sales negatively, he said. All 9 out of 10 top apparel exporting nations of the world experienced negative growth in shipment to the US in 2016, according to the US Department of Commerce.
Smartphone imports through legal channel shot up 45.7% to 8.2 million pieces in 2016 from a year earlier, driven by the expansion of 3G services in Bangladesh. Mobile imports through the legal channel crossed the three-crore mark for the first time, said Ruhul Alam Al Mahbub, president of the Bangladesh Mobile Phone Importers Association (BMPIA), at a press conference held at it headquarters in the capital yesterday. It stood at 31.0 million, up 11.0% year-on-year, with the total value of the imports coming to about BDT 80.0 billion. Smartphone imports accounted for BDT 65.0 billion.
A government agency on Sunday fined Grameenphone Tk 2.50 lakh for duping a customer with an offer. The Directorate of National Consumer Rights Protection slapped the penalty on the operator after the hearing on a customer’s complaint. The Directorate’s Deputy Director Shaheen Ara Mamataz said the mobile operator agreed to pay the fine within five days. In October 2015, Abdullah Shibli Sadiq filed a complaint over an Eid offer that promised to give 2GB free data with 1GB at a cost of Tk 275, which would have to be used up in the next 28 days.
Banglalink to face punishment if found giving ‘false’ SIM info
Mobile phone operator Banglalink would face legal steps if it is found guilty of providing false information during SIM registration, reports Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha. Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission is looking into the issue seriously following the arrest of the official and vendors of Banglalink, a subsidiary of Netherlands based global telecommunication provider VimpelCom Limited, with fake documents. BTRC chairman Shahjahan Mahmood on Monday said they have taken the matter seriously that is why investigation is going on.
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