Moody’s assigns Ba3 long-term ratings to EBL
Eastern Bank Limited (EBL) has been assigned Ba3 long-term ratings by the world renowned credit ratings agency-Moody. EBL is the first Bangladeshi company to get the prestigious ratings from the Agency. The sovereign country rating of Bangladesh by Moody’s is also Ba3. Moody’s also observed that the ratings outlook is stable. Moody’s in its recent official press release highlighted EBL’s key credit strengths comprising profitability profile, strong balance sheet and record of good asset quality. The agency noted that the Bank’s asset quality has been consistently better than its peers, as measured by gross non-performing loans (NPLs) and observed that the asset quality is stabilizing. The Agency’s says that EBL’s ‘profitability metrics are healthy, its net interest margins (NIMs) are high on an absolute basis.’ A three-member EBL team led by Managing Director and CEO Ali Reza Iftekhar met the Bangladesh Bank Governor FazleKabir at the central bank head office Today, March 22 to apprise him about the rating and handed over a copy of the official release by the Moody’s. The EBL CEO was accompanied by Additional Managing Director Hassan O. Rashid and Head of Communication Ziaul Karim.
India’s HDFC reducing stakes in DBH
India’s HDFC Investments Limited, one of the corporate sponsors of Delta Brac Housing Finance Corporation, has initiated a move to sell 17 lakh shares from its stake in DBH, a Dhaka Stock Exchange web post said on Tuesday. The shares will be sold at the prevailing market price at the block market through the stock exchange within April 28, it said. HDFC’s holding in DBH will be declined to 1,24,83,801 shares after completion of the sales as it presently holds 1,41,83,801 shares of DBH. The price of DBH shares declined by 1.9%, or BDT 2.1, to close at BDT 106.6 each on Tuesday. DBH, a company with a BDT 1.2 billion paid-up capital, started its operation in 1997 and became enlisted with the DSE in 2008. According to the DSE web site data, sponsor-directors holds 75.8% shares of DBH, while institutional investors 9.3%, foreign vestors 11.8% and general investors hold 3.2% shares of the entity.
Crop insurance pilot project in three districts soon
An Asian Development Bank-funded weather-based index crop insurance is set to roll out in three districts vulnerable to crop losses during heavy rainfall or drought. Farmers of 20 upazilas of three districts — Rajshahi, Sirajganj and Noakhali — will be brought under it. “We’re expecting to launch the pilot project from June next as we’ve already got required permission to install weather-related equipment on rooftops of the 20 upazila buildings owned by the local government division,” said Wasi Ul Hoque, project director at the Weather Index-Based Crop Insurance, or WIBCI, at the Sadharan Bima Corporation (SBC). He said it will require at least two months more to install the equipment relating to measure the magnitudes of rainfall or drought. The farmers of the three districts will pay premiums to the SBC which will provide compensation on the basis of results of the weather stations. Farmers in the country are at the mercy of weather as they are helpless during natural disasters. The project has targeted small and marginal farmers who are most vulnerable and suffer seriously when weather turns hostile.
BDT 880.0 billion RADP to be placed in next NEC
Revised Annual Development Program (RADP) of more than BDT 880.0 billion will be placed for approval at the next meeting of National Economic Council (NEC), the country’s highest policy making body. The proposed RADP was BDT 90.0 billion or 9.3% down from BDT 970.0 billion which the government targeted to spend in improving standard of the people’s life in the current fiscal year. The planning ministry at an extension meeting held yesterday finalized the RADP outlay for placing it at the next meeting of the National Economic Council (NEC) for seeking approval. Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal was present at the meeting. Of the total RADP outlay, the government will provide BDT 580.0 billion, down 6.0% from original allocation of BDT 616.6 billion, and donors over BDT 290.0 billion, down 17.0% from original allocation of BDT 341.6 billion, according to the draft RADP. According to the RADP, the transport sector will get the highest allocation of around BDT 196.4 billion, followed by the education and religious sector BDT 990.2 billion. Other major allocation sectors, power will receive around BDT 153.0 billion, physical planning, water supply, and housing over BDT 95.1 billion, rural development institution around BDT 81.2 billion, agriculture over BDT 42.8 billion and the health, nutrition, population, and family welfare around BDT 54.1 billion.
ECNEC okays six projects
The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (ECNEC) approved on Tuesday six development projects involving BDT 12.2 billion, including one to construct some 672 residential flats for government officials and employees at Aliganj in Narayanganj, reports UNB. The approval was given at the 24th meeting of the current fiscal year held at the NEC conference room in the city’s Sher-e-Bangla Nagar area with ECNEC chairperson and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair. Briefing reporters after the meeting, Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said a total of six projects were approved today (Tuesday) with an outlay of BDT 12.2 billion. The planning minister said Public Works Department under the Ministry of Housing and Public Works will implement the flat construction project for government officials and employees at Aliganj under Fatullah in Narayanganj by June 2019. The ECNEC meeting gave nod to another project titled ‘Embankment protection of Rajapur and East Ilisha union under Bhola Sadar upazila from the erosion of River Meghna’ with an outlay of BDT 2.80 billion, which will come from the public coffer. The other projects approved at the meeting are poverty alleviation initiative at northern region, 1st revised, with BDT 3.2 billion, Expansion of Rajshahi BSCIC industrial estate with BDT 1.29 billion, conducting interrelation affairs survey of ecosystem of Haor and rivers, developing management framework of listed water bodies and permanent water bodies with BDT 544.1 million, fisheries development in greater Jessore district with BDT 341.2 million.
Regulator to allow GP to join spectrum auction
The telecom regulator has finalized its recommendations to amend the spectrum auction guideline, which allows market-leader Grameenphone to participate in the bidding making it more competitive. Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission sent the suggestions to the government for final approval, an official said. The current auction guidelines bar any operator with more than 20 MHz in the 900 MHz and 1,800 MHz GSM bands from bidding. Currently, Grameenphone is the only operator to fall in that category, with its 32 MHz capacity in those bands; the proposed Robi-Airtel joint entity after merger will also exceed the limit. The auction for 15MHz of 3G spectrum in the 2,100 band and 10.6MHz of 2G spectrum in the 1,800 band was originally scheduled for April 30 last year, but it was suspended for the unwillingness of the telecom operators. The government is now trying to accelerate the process, which would bring an estimated BDT 50.0 billion to the state coffers. BTRC intends to sell the full available mobile spectrums in the two bands from its upcoming auction this fiscal year.
Robi-Airtel merger: Airtel to be barred from selling shares until 2020
The telecom regulator has sent recommendations to ministry for allowing merger of Robi and Airtel with a condition that Airtel will not be allowed to sell its shares in the merged company until its 2G spectrum tenure expires in 2020. The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission also decided to allow Airtel to run its 016 number prefix for two years, allowing the operator to sell new connections, after it merges with Robi. The BTRC sent its recommendations to the telecom ministry on Monday. Upon completion of the merger, Robi’s parent company Axiata will hold 68.3% controlling stake in the combined entity, while Bharti Airtel will hold 25% and the remaining 6.7% will be held by NTT DOCOMO of Japan. BTRC officials said as the 2G spectrum was given to different operators at different times and at different prices so maintaining neutral ground in case of 2G spectrum is important. ‘All operators get the 3G spectrum at the same time at the same price. So to create a level playing field we decided to take benchmark of 2G spectrum,’ a senior BTRC official told New Age. He said that if Airtel wants to sell its shares before 2020 then the commission will revoke the operator’s 2G spectrum.
Rahim Textile to spend BDT 575.3 million on expansion
Rahim Textile Mills has taken an expansion plan in a bid to enhance its production capacity and improve product quality. The listed company will spend BDT 575.3 million to implement the new BMRE (balancing, modernization, rehabilitation and expansion) scheme. Under the plan, the company will purchase land, construct buildings, take utility connections, install new machinery and equipment and do other civil works. The funds will be generated from both internal sources and loans from banks and other sources, according to a web posting of Dhaka bourse yesterday. “The BMRE will improve product quality and enhance the company’s production capacity from 26.5 million yards to 49.9 million yards a year,” according to the post. After the completion of the BMRE scheme, which was approved at a board meeting recently, the company will sell its products at higher prices and retain a better margin. The board also decided to discontinue the previous BMRE plan, which was approved in November 2010. So far, a sum of BDT 160.8 million out of BDT 350.0 million has been utilized for the previous plan.
World Bank suggests introduction of auto fuel price adjustment
The World Bank has suggested Bangladesh readjust domestic petroleum prices proportionate to the global rates-an option that entails deep cuts which the government has so long skirted. Domestic consumer rights groups and businesses have long been demanding the lowering of fuel prices as global oil prices hit rock bottom in recent times. Officials said the multilateral development-financing agency also called for introduction of carbon tax, which is among the measures related to mitigating global climate change owing to greenhouse gas emissions. The suggestions came following Finance Minister AMA Muhith’s request to the WB for providing a note on the pricing of petroleum products in Bangladesh, they added. The WB accordingly last week sent a detailed note on the issue.
World Stock and Commodities
|Index Name||Close Value||Value Change||Percentage Change|
|Crude Oil (WTI)*||$41.02||(0.43)||(1.04%)|
|Crude Oil (Brent)*||$41.38||(0.41)||(0.98%)|
|Dow Jones Industrial Average||17,582.57||(41.3)||(0.23%)|
|USD 1||BDT 78.35*|
|GBP 1||BDT 111.27*|
|EUR 1||BDT 87.84*|
|INR 1||BDT 1.17*|
*Currencies and Commodities are taken from Bloomberg.