Defaulted SME loans rise by BDT 34.4 billion in H1
The amount of defaulted loans in the small and medium enterprise sector in the January-June period of this year increased by BDT 34.4 billion due to a dull business situation and a lack of effective loan recovery measures by scheduled banks and non-bank financial institutions. According to the latest Bangladesh Bank data, the defaulted SME loans stood at BDT 223.6 billion as of June 30, 2016 — 18.2% higher from BDT 189.2 billion as of December 31, 2015. A BB official told New Age on Wednesday that the SME sector faced a setback in recent months due to political uncertainty and fragile law and order situation that ultimately caused the increase in the amount of the defaulted loans in the sector. The BB data, however, showed that SME loan disbursement by banks and non-bank financial institutions increased by 23.6% to BDT 696.7 billion in the first six months of this year compared with that in the same period a year ago, but 63.1% of the loans went to trade or unproductive sectors. The BB official said that the key goal of supporting the SMEs could not be achieved due to the higher loan disbursement to the trade sector and increased trend in defaulted loans. The banks and the NBFIs disbursed BDT 177.3 billion and BDT 80.0 billion in SME loans to manufacturing sector and service sector respectively in the first six months of 2016 against BDT 150.8 billion and BDT 57.0 billion in the same period of 2015. The official said some banks failed to recover their disbursed loans in the first six months of the FY16 that caused the increase in the amount of the defaulted loans.
Citycell shutdown: Nine banks, three FIs in trouble
Nine banks and three financial institutions are in deep trouble as shutdown of financially strapped Citycell, the country’s oldest mobile phone operator, hangs in the balance, said sources in the central bank. According to the Bangladesh Bank, Citycell has taken BDT15.0 billion loan from different commercial banks and financial institutions. Of the amount, some banks and financial institutions are the guarantors of BDT12.0 billion. Even after the extension of loan agreement with some banks, the company failed to continue to repay loan, said a BB official. BB recently wrote nine banks and three financial institutions not to release fresh loan to the struggling Citycell unless meet earlier installments of loans. According to the central bank, as the guarantor of the Citycell loan, AB Bank paid BDT 6.00 billion to different banks, City Bank BDT1.5 billion to BRAC Bank and Prime Bank BDT 250.0 million to a bank. NCCB was also the guarantor of the Citycell loan and Mutual Trust tried to realize BDT 400.0 million from the company. On Monday, Supreme Court gave the Citycell two month time to pay its BDT 4.8 billion regulatory dues, two-third of which has to be paid within the next thirty days.
Summit Power Limited (SPL), a listed company, has applied to the securities’ regulator seeking its consent required for raising capital as part of completing the company’s amalgamation with three other companies. Following an order of the High Court (HC), the listed company SPL recently started its amalgamation process with three other companies –Summit Purbanchol Power Company Ltd (SPPCL), Summit Uttaranchol Power Company Ltd (SUPCL) and Summit Narayanganj Power Ltd (SNPL). Apart from the SPC, SPPC is also listed with both the stock exchanges. According to the BSEC officials, the SPC did not seek the securities regulator’s consent for raising capital before the record date fixed for one of the transferor company SPPC. Meanwhile, two probe bodies separately formed by the securities’ regulator and the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) are working to find out ‘irregularities’ occurred while completing the company’s amalgamation process. The regulatory consent is required for raising capital by any listed company. According to a DSE disclosure, the number of post-amalgamation paid-up shares of Summit Power Limited will be increased by 191,876,506 shares. The share trading of the SPL remains suspended since August 28 until further instruction.
Bangladesh’s processed leather export earnings fell for the second consecutive year as the country received USD 278.0 million last fiscal year which is 30% less than the previous year’s. Exporters attributed the fall to the international buyers’ reluctance to source from non-compliant tanneries. Industry people said the country has a large stock of processed leather at the warehouses while the Eid-ul-Azha, the Muslims’ occasion of sacrificing animals, is approaching. About 70% of rawhide are collected during the Eid-ul-Azha in the Muslim majority Bangladesh. According to the Export Promotion Bureau data, the country earned USD 278.0 million exporting processed leather in the fiscal year 2015-16. But the earning in the previous fiscal was about USD 400.0 million. However, the total earnings from the leather and leather goods, the second highest contributor to national exports after garment industry has posted a 2.7% rise to earn USD 1.2 billion from USD 1.1 billion a year ago. Of the figure, an amount of USD 278.0 million came from processed leather export, USD 388.0 million from leather goods and USD 495.0 million from footwear export.
Most tanners to fail tanning sacrificial hides in Savar
Despite the court order and several attempts by the government, most tanneries have yet to relocate to Savar Industrial Leather Park, thereby being unable to tan hides collected during the upcoming Eid. Instead, they would have to sustain processing rawhide in Hazaribagh area, paying a daily fine. According to Bangladesh Tanners Association (BTA) and government officials, only 40 tannery owners out of 155 is likely to start wet blue – a process of converting rawhide and skin to tanned leather using chromium salts.On June 16, the High Court slapped a daily fine of Tk50,000 on each of the 154 tanneries that would fail to relocate to Savar from Hazaribagh. Later, the fine was reduced to Tk10,000 a day in review of the petitions. While the Industry Ministry asked the tanners to process sacrificial raw hides in Savar Industrial Park especially built for the country’s over $1 billion export-earner leather industry. According to the court order, about 160 tannery owners have to pay Tk10,000 each totaling Tk1.6 crore a day until they are able to relocate factories to the saver industrial estate.
The High Court yesterday gave the green light to the much-awaited merger between Robi and Airtel, paving the way for the formation of the country’s second largest mobile operator. The proposed merger is expected to be complete by the fourth quarter this year, Robi said in a statement. Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission’s lawyer Khandaker Reza-E-Raquib said Robi will receive a certified copy of the order one week after the Eid holidays and it will have to apply to the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies and Firms within a month. In the merged entity, Axiata, the parent company of Robi, will hold a 68.7% controlling stake. Bharti Airtel will hold 25.0% with the company and Axiata’s old partner NTT Docomo of Japan will hold 6.3%. Currently, Malaysia-based Axiata has a 91.6% stake in Robi and NTT Docomo 8.4%. The merged entity will operate under the brand name of Robi. The merged entity will have to pay BDT 1.0 billion as merger fees, said BTRC lawyer Raquib. Apart from the merger fees, the merged entity will pay BDT 338.0 million for each megahertz of Airtel’s 2G spectrum to be used by Robi for the next four years. Airtel has 15 megahertz and if the merged entity wants to use the entire spectrum, it will have to pay BDT 5.1 billion to BTRC. No charge will be applicable for Airtel’s 5 megahertz spectrum for the use in the merged entity. After the completion of the merger, its spectrum will be 39.8 megahertz — the highest among all operators. At the end of July, Grameenphone’s market share was 43.66%, Robi and Airtel jointly had 28.1%, and Banglalink 24.3%. The country’s total active connection was 128.9 million.
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