Important Business News Extracts – January 31 2017
Brac Bank to form asset management subsidiary
Brac Bank Limited has decided to form an asset management subsidiary named with a paid-up capital of BDT 100.0 million, said an official disclosure on Monday. The new company will be known as BRAC AMC Limited. An asset management company is a firm that invests its clients’ pooled funds into securities, which match with declared financial objectives. Such companies provide investors with more diversified investing options than they would have by themselves. BRAC Bank is a private commercial bank in Bangladesh listed with the stock exchanges since 2007. It focuses on small and medium enterprises (SME) The sponsor-directors own 44.6% stake in Brac Bank, while institutional investors 7.07%, foreign investors 42.2% and the general public 6.2% as on December 29, 2016, the DSE data shows.
When Muhammed Ali took the reins of United Commercial Bank in late 2012 the lender’s standing in the industry was not of note. But in the last four years it has grown in leaps and bounds and now can be spoken of in the same breath with the best of them. “We are now a very strong bank and on a very strong footing,” Ali told The Daily Star in an interview recently. Under Ali’s stewardship, the bank rose to the pole position in all indicators save for profit in a ranking of local private commercial banks. Its net profit more than doubled in the last four years: from Tk 158.61 crore to Tk 397.73 crore in 2015. Deposits grew more than 50 percent to Tk 25,570 crore in 2016, from Tk 17,053 crore in 2012. UCB’s import and export businesses more than doubled during the period, boosting the bank’s income in the forms of fees and exchange gains. High-cost deposit came down to 45 percent from 70 percent over the period.
Bangladesh Bank cuts NBFIs’ borrowing limit from call money market
Bangladesh Bank has lowered the borrowing limit of the non-bank financial institutions from the inter-bank call money market. The BB on Sunday in a circular reset the calculation method of the borrowing limit of the NBFIs to equity-based instead of the net asset-based. The NBFIs will be allowed to borrow up to an amount equivalent to 30.0% of their fixed equity from the inter-bank call money market from February 1. The NBFIs now can borrow maximum 15.0% of their net asset from the inter-bank call money market. A BB official told New Age on Monday that the NBFIs’ scope of taking loans from the call money market would be decreased when they would borrow in line with their equity position. The NBFIs has recently become dependent on the call money market to meet up their short-term cash demand as the weighted average interest rate on the call money market is now ranging between 3.5% and 3.6%. The latest central bank’s move will force the NBFIs to take short-term deposit from the clients, the BB official observed. Currently, 33 NBFIs are operating business in the country.
Non-resident Bangladeshis (NRBs) can open foreign-currency accounts with local commercial banks after their retirement, officials said. The accountholders may remit legitimate payments abroad out of the funds deposited in the Non-Resident Foreign Currency Deposit (NFCD) accounts, according to a clarification issued by Bangladesh Bank (BB) Monday.
Mobile wallet users will face restrictions from tomorrow as operators are going to implement the central bank’s latest directive that lowered the transaction limit. Bangladesh Bank cut the ceiling for mobile money transactions on January 11; however, it took three weeks to implement the order due to technical difficulties, said mobile financial service (MFS) operators. The MFS operators said they have taken preparations to bring down the ceiling, inform the agents and change their software. “We started preparing from February 1 and the daily and monthly transaction volume limit for mobile wallet users will be cut according to the central bank’s order,” said Kamal Quadir, chief executive of bKash. Starting February, a maximum of Tk 15,000 can be deposited in a mobile banking account each day, while Tk 10,000 can be taken out, the central bank said in a notice. The previous daily ceiling was Tk 25,000 for both cash-in and cash-out. The number of transactions allowed has also been cut to three deposits and two withdrawals. Previously, it was five deposits and three withdrawals.
The capital market will remain moderately bullish this year thanks to the stable economic growth and low interest rates. The forecasts were made by the majority of the respondents in a recent survey on the Bangladesh capital market conducted by LankaBangla Securities. The findings of the survey were released yesterday. The survey, which is the fifth of its kind, was carried out between January 4 and January 15 this year. A total of 107 people from various sectors — including academicians, fund managers, foreign investors, chief executives, traders and students — responded to the survey styled ‘Bangladesh Capital Market Sentiment Survey 2017’. The majority, or 41.1 percent, of the participants said the capital market’s performance last year was moderate, mainly due to declining interest rates and improved investor confidence.
Total expenditure in the first quarter of fiscal 2016-17 was 15.5% higher than a year earlier thanks to full implementation of the pay scale for government staff and various non-government educational institutions. Between the months of July and September last year, total spending stood at BDT 428.9 billion, according to a report from the finance division. The report, which provided the up-to-date picture of budget implementation and the economy, was presented in parliament on Sunday by Finance Minister AMA Muhith. In fiscal 2016-17 the new pay scale along with allowances was implemented in full, said a finance ministry official. Besides, the salary scale for non-government school, college and madrasa teachers came into effect this year. Non-development expenditure shot up 19.35% to BDT 353.3 billion in the first quarter of the fiscal year. In contrast, a year earlier, non-development spending was 0.32% lower than the previous year. This fiscal year, a big development budget was sanctioned — BDT 1.1 trillion — but the implementation capacity of the ministries and divisions did not increase much. In the first quarter, the ministries and divisions spent BDT 75.7 billion, up 0.42% from a year earlier.
BSEC to tighten monitoring of Mutual Funds’ investment in non-listed companies
The Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission has initiated a move to scrutinize all the mutual funds’ investments that they made in non-listed securities. As part of the move, the commission may seek detailed investments reports of mutual funds, BSEC officials told New Age on Monday. The BSEC took the initiative with a view to observe whether any mutual funds were investing in non-listed securities in the name of investments in pre-IPO placement shares violating securities rules, they said. Besides, asset management companies will be verifying whether the investments made in the companies had the commission’s approval in this regard, they said. The commission in recent times observed that a number of asset management companies were not providing detailed reports on their investments in non-listed securities, a BSEC official said. As per the securities rules, closed end mutual funds were allowed to invest up to 60.0% of their fund size in listed securities including initial public offering and pre-IPO placement shares. Of the 60.0%, half of the amount has to be invested in listed securities. Closed-end MFs were allowed to invest rest 40.0% of their fund size in entities other than capital market instruments. Investments by MFs in non-listed securities in violation of securities rules first came into light in 2010 when the commission found LR Global Bangladesh Asset Management Company’s BDT 463.9 million investments in non-listed companies from the mutual funds run by LR Global in violation of rules. Based on the finding, the commission fined LR Global Bangladesh Asset Management Company BDT 5.0 million, while Bangladesh General Insurance Company, trustee of LR Global-managed mutual funds, BDT 2.5 million, Hoda Vasi Chowdhury, auditor of LR Global, BDT 500,000.
Mobile wallet users will face restrictions from tomorrow as operators are going to implement the central bank’s latest directive that lowered the transaction limit. Bangladesh Bank cut the ceiling for mobile money transactions on January 11; however, it took three weeks to implement the order due to technical difficulties, said mobile financial service (MFS) operators. The MFS operators said they have taken preparations to bring down the ceiling, inform the agents and change their software. Starting February, a maximum of BDT 15,000 can be deposited in a mobile banking account each day, while BDT 10,000 can be taken out, the central bank said in a notice. The previous daily ceiling was BDT 25,000 for both cash-in and cash-out. Officials said the government recently identified that foreign remittance fell all of a sudden; a big chunk went into illegal channels and were transected through mobile money accounts. From now, a mobile banking customer can deposit a maximum of BDT 100,000 in a month, down from BDT 150,000. The maximum monthly withdrawal limit is BDT 50,000, which was BDT 150,000 previously. A customer also cannot withdraw more than BDT 5,000 within 24 hours of receiving money.
Ifad Autos will start assembling Indian Ashok Leyland-branded vehicles on Thursday at its new plant that set up at a cost of about BDT 750.0 million in Savar. The company’s inroads in assembling will help it meet the growing demand for commercial vehicles. Initially, Ifad Autos will assemble 1,000 commercial vehicles such as buses, trucks and pick-ups in the current fiscal year. The figure will go up to 3,000 vehicles in the next fiscal year, said a senior official. The number will reach 10,000 by 2020, said Taskeen Ahmed, managing director of Ifad Autos. The company posted a notice on the subject on the website of the Dhaka Stock Exchange yesterday. The new plant will help Ifad offer assembled vehicles at prices lower than those of the imported ones, he said. Ifad Autos’ revenue stood at BDT 6.9 billion at the end of June 2016, up 37.0% over the previous year. Ashok Leyland is the second largest manufacturer of commercial vehicles in India, fourth largest manufacturer of buses in the world and 16th largest manufacturer of trucks globally, according to its website. Sponsors hold 62.8% stakes in Ifad Autos, while institutional investors own 19.6% and the retail investors 17.6%.
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