• Friday, August 22, 2014

Business

Bajaj to make motorcycles at Bangladesh plant

Bajaj to make motorcycles at Bangladesh plant

India's popular Bajaj motorcycles will be manufactured in Bangladesh from June next year, a move touted to make the brand's vehicles 30 percent cheaper. Uttara Group, Bajaj Auto's local assembler, is set to build a plant at a cost of Tk 150 crore, to be operated by the leading Indian two-wheeler manufacturer. Bajaj will provide all technical support including product design, research and development. Matiur Rahman, managing director of Uttara Group, said the unit price of Bajaj-branded motorcycles may decline around 30 percent once production starts at the plant.  The factory will span 10 acres of land at Zirani Bazar in Gazipur. Some 20-25 components including chassis, chain, swing arm, suspension, battery, tyre and plastic accessories will be manufactured at the plant, sufficient to give the motorcycles the 'manufactured in Bangladesh' tag. The other components such as engine will be brought over from India, he said.  As per custom rules, an assembler will be termed a manufacturer if its value addition is at least 30 percent and if...

Envoy plans to set up Tk 235cr spinning unit

Envoy plans to set up Tk 235cr spinning unit

Envoy Textiles plans to set up a spinning unit at a...

Goldman Sachs seeks to be adviser on sovereign bonds

Bangladesh can raise $2-$3 billion from the international market through sovereign bonds, Goldman Sachs, the world's leading investment bank, said as...

Panel formed to pay back Jubok victims

The commerce ministry yesterday formed a seven-member panel to find ways to return funds to the clients of Jubok, a multi-level...

Worker unrest feared at Chittagong port

Labour unrest is feared at Chittagong Port, as a section of workers is preparing to wage a movement against Saif Powertec Ltd on allegations of taking the port hostage by capturing major share of cargo handling activities. The worker leaders demanded the firm should be blacklisted on charges of irregularities and corruption. Anxiety grips the users of the country's premier sea port which experienced no instability since 2010. Workers under the banner of Chattagram Bandar Raksha Parishad started a campaign on Wednesday...

Carmudi opens virtual showrooms of cars

Carmudi opens virtual showrooms of cars

Carmudi has recently opened virtual showrooms for cars in Bangladesh to help automobile buyers get all possible information on vehicles online, the company said in a statement yesterday. “Bangladesh is a high potential market for automobiles where Carmudi has created a special platform,” said Ashiqur Rahman, country manager of the online marketplace for vehicles. “The...

GP invites ideas for Telenor Youth Summit

GP invites ideas for Telenor Youth Summit

Top mobile operator Grameenphone invited university students to submit innovative technology project ideas that could serve society. Four best ideas will be presented at the Telenor Youth Summit 2014 in Oslo. Grameenphone yesterday announced the second year's summit at a press briefing at Sonargaon Hotel in Dhaka. The operator will initiate road-shows at different universities where...

Indian minister to visit Dhaka for 'business conclave'

Vijay Kumar Singh, Indian minister of state for external affairs, will be in Bangladesh to attend the India-Bangladesh Business Conclave on August 24. The Indian Chamber of Commerce, Kolkata and the India-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry are organising 'A New Phase in Bilateral Economic Relations' conclave with the Indian High Commission's support.  Mukul Sangma, chief minister of Meghalaya, and Tapan Chakraborty, commerce and industry minister of Tripura, are also expected to attend the programme. The conclave will provide a platform for...

Eurozone holds onto timid recovery

A timid economic recovery in the eurozone is still holding, a closely-watched survey showed on Thursday, but at a pace that promises only negligible growth for the year. The latest data pushed down eurozone government borrowing costs, with traders more confident that the European Central Bank will take extra measures to inject cash into the single-currency zone. "The eurozone economy continued to make steady progress in August, as the region looks to bounce back following the recent weaker-than-expected GDP (gross domestic...

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Qatar Airways sets up business lounge at Hamad Airport

Qatar Airways has recently opened the grand Al Mourjan Business Lounge at Hamad International Airport for the airline's premium passengers, the airline said in a statement. “The airport is Qatar's new world-class gateway to the world and the lounge is inspired by Qatari hospitality and underpinned by the luxurious industrial design sense of Antonio Citterio, a leading Italian designer.” Qatar Airways' customers can enjoy privacy and relax in a public space at the 1,000-seat lounge, which features the main lounge area,...

Tourism tanks in Crimea under the Russian flag

Tourism tanks in Crimea under the Russian flag

Restaurant owner Galina Anchukova looks out across the seaside promenade in sunny Feodosia, with its straggle of strolling tourists, and sees a wasted financial opportunity. "The season is ruined, there is nobody here," she said. The first summer season in Crimea under the Russian flag has been a disappointment, local business owners complain, blaming...

Russia targets McDonald's in expanding East-West trade war

Russian authorities launched nationwide inspections of McDonald's restaurants Thursday after shutting several wildly-popular Moscow locations on apparent government orders aimed at striking back against biting Western sanctions. It was the latest salvo in Russia's escalating and economically-bruising trade war with Europe and the United States over the conflict in Ukraine that has already sent East-West relations into what some have dubbed a "new Cold War". Russia has a long history of using food safety concerns as a political weapon against unfriendly...

HP posts surprise revenue gain after PC sales jump

Hewlett-Packard Co posted a surprise increase in quarterly revenue after sales from its personal computer division climbed 12 percent, but a flat to declining performance from its other units underscored the company's uphill battle to revive growth. HP sales rose a mere 1 percent to $27.6 billion in its fiscal third quarter from $27.2 billion a year earlier. Wall Street analysts had forecast a modest drop in revenue to $27.01 billion. The Silicon Valley giant is undergoing a major overhaul aimed...

Sri Lanka exports jump on EU, US demand for garments

Sri Lanka's trade deficit narrowed substantially this year thanks to increased demand for clothing exports to the United States and Europe, the island's central bank said Thursday. Exports jumped 16.8 percent to $5.44 billion in the first six months of calendar 2014 compared to the same period last year, the Central Bank of Sri Lanka said. Imports meanwhile declined 1.2 percent to $8.99 billion compared to the same period last year, the bank said. Overall, the trade gap reduced from $4.44 billion...

India to tighten up banking risk management: Jaitley

India's Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said on Thursday that the government was working to tighten up risk management in the banking sector, responding to recent scandals that have raised doubts about lending practices at state banks. Jaitley did not name any bank, but his comments followed the launch of an investigation into whether the head of state-controlled Syndicate Bank took bribes to roll over a loan to family-controlled Bhushan Steel. "Some recent instances have been disturbing," Jaitley told a banking audience...

China manufacturing growth eases in August: HSBC

China's manufacturing growth slowed in August, indicating a recovery in the world's second-largest economy has yet to fully take hold, HSBC said Thursday. The HSBC preliminary purchasing managers index (PMI), which tracks activity in China's factories and workshops, slipped to 50.3 this month, the British banking giant said in a statement. The figure was down from a final reading of 51.7 in July and was the lowest for three months, it said. The indicator is a closely watched gauge of the health...

Published Date: August 21, 2014
Tax receipts from wealthy up 30pc

Tax collection from the wealthy rose 30 percent year-on-year last fiscal year, thanks to increased monitoring by the National Board of Revenue. In fiscal 2013-14, some Tk 131 crore was collected as wealth surcharge, according to data from the NBR. NBR officials are expecting collections in the region of Tk 500 crore for fiscal 2014-15 following the introduction of two additional slabs of surcharge in the budget. Under the scheme, people with net wealth of more than Tk 20 crore but lower...

Published Date: August 21, 2014
Invite fresh bids for offshore blocks: Hasina

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday instructed the energy and mineral resources ministry to invite fresh bids for offshore blocks to ensure optimum extraction of oil and gas from the Bay of Bengal. She spoke at a meeting on formulating a strategy and action plan for extracting maritime resources and their smooth management. Prime Minister's Press Secretary AKM Shameem Chowdhury briefed reporters after the meeting. Chowdhury quoted Hasina as urging the officials to ensure that no particular bidder gets most of the...

Published Date: August 21, 2014
Tata Nano launched

Tata Nano launched

Indian auto maker Tata Motors yesterday introduced its much-publicised Nano brand car to the Bangladesh market, with the expectation of a better reception than its home market. Dubbed the cheapest new car in the world, the four-seater will retail at Tk 8 lakh in the country. But on the occasion of the launch, its...

Published Date: August 21, 2014
Wheat imports from Canada on the rise

Wheat import from Canada is progressively increasing for the production of good-quality grains in the North American country. “We are proud to be contributing to Bangladesh's food security efforts as Canadian wheat is some of the best quality in the world,” said Heather Cruden, Canadian high commissioner in Dhaka. Canada shipped 742,900 tonnes of wheat to Bangladesh in fiscal 2012-2013, up from 649,300 tonnes a year ago. Her comment came in the foreword of a guide book titled Basic Tests Used to...

Published Date: August 21, 2014
Rana Plaza fund to roll out in two weeks

The ILO-managed Rana Plaza Trust Fund will finally start its disbursement of compensation in two weeks. Some 332 victims will receive the first instalment of their compensation within the next two weeks, Srinivasa Reddy, country direction of the International Labour Organisation, told The Daily Star. The pay-out has been delayed for the failure of many international retailers to put in their committed amounts into the trust fund by April 24, the first anniversary of the industrial accident that claimed 1,138 lives...

Published Date: August 21, 2014
Rate debate: top central bankers to speak in Jackson Hole

Rate debate: top central bankers to speak in Jackson Hole

Slow growth, low interest rates and tepid inflation on both sides of the Atlantic will be in focus this week when heads of the US and European central banks meet in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Officially the topic of this year's US central banker fest -- always a cerebral gathering of monetary and financial policy...

Published Date: August 21, 2014
IFC launches $2.5b bonds for India projects

The World Bank's private-sector financing arm on Wednesday launched $2.5 billion, rupee-denominated, bonds in the Indian market to fund infrastructure projects, after raising $1 billion in offshore bonds for the sector last year. The International Finance Corporation's (IFC's) bond programme comes at a time when both the Indian government and the Reserve Bank of India are stepping up measures to attract global investors to deepen the local bond market. "Bonds offered under IFC's rupee financing programme offer a safe investment alternative...

Published Date: August 21, 2014
Australia says Bitcoin not taxable as currency

Crypto-currencies such as Bitcoin should not be considered as money or a foreign currency when it comes to taxation, Australia's tax authority ruled Wednesday. In guidance designed to help people finalise their tax returns, the Australian Tax Office said Bitcoins were a form of property, disappointing those hoping they would be seen as a currency. The decision follows a similar move by the US Inland Revenue Service in March. "Transacting with Bitcoins is akin to a barter arrangement," the Australian Tax...

Published Date: August 21, 2014
McDonald's to launch retail coffee line in early 2015

McDonald's Tuesday became the latest food giant to enter the retail coffee market, announcing plans to market a variety of coffee products under its McCafe brand. Partnering with food giant Kraft, the fast-food chain will market ground coffee, whole bean and single-cup products at supermarkets and other stores for home brewing. The products will be launched in early 2015, McDonald's and Kraft said. Greg Watson, senior vice president for US menu innovation at McDonald's, said the home availability of the McCafe...

Published Date: August 21, 2014
Volvo Car reports return to profit on China sales

Chinese-owned Volvo Car Group announced a return to profits on Wednesday in an upbeat half-yearly report that cited "solid" demand for the Swedish brand particularly in China. The Gothenburg-based manufacturer bucked dismal sales trends in the global auto industry with a 15-percent hike in turnover to 64.78 billion kronor ($9.39 billion, 7.06 billion euros). Net profits was 535 million kronor in the first six months of the year compared to a 778 million kronor loss for the same period in 2013. Sales...

Published Date: August 21, 2014
China fines Japanese auto parts firms $200m for monopoly

China has fined 10 Japanese auto parts firms more than $200 million in total for price-fixing, authorities said Wednesday, reportedly the biggest-ever such penalties, in the latest step of the country's anti-monopoly drive. Beijing has over the past year launched a wide-ranging crackdown on alleged malpractice by foreign firms across diverse sectors, including pharmaceuticals, baby formula and technology, raising fears overseas companies are being targeted. The auto parts companies were found to have implemented monopoly pricing agreements for more than 10...

Published Date: August 21, 2014
Rana Plaza exposes fashion's lack of accountability

On April 24th, 2013, the Rana Plaza building in Savar, Bangladesh, became the site of the worst tragedy in the history of the fashion industry. The building, which housed several garment factories supplying high-street fashion retailers including Mango, Matalan and Benetton, collapsed. 1,134 people were killed, and over 2,500 injured. When the story broke, brutal images of young women trapped under rubble and bloodied survivors shocked the world, and statements of remorse spilled out of spokespeople for Primark and Bonmarché,...

Published Date: August 21, 2014
Glencore Xstrata reports switch into profit

Mining giant Glencore Xstrata reported a sharp improvement in first-half performance on Wednesday, marking a big switch back into profit. The group, which came into being with a mega merger last year, said it had made a net profit of $1.72 billion during the first half of 2014, up from a $9.39-billion loss a year earlier.

Published Date: August 21, 2014
AirAsia profit jumps despite 'challenging' climate

Malaysia-based AirAsia on Wednesday announced a sixfold increase in second-quarter net profit as Asia's budget travel leader increased revenue despite what it called a "challenging" aviation environment. Net profit was 367.2 million ringgit ($115 million), up from 58.3 million ringgit in the same quarter of 2013. AirAsia said the jump was mainly due to foreign exchange gains on borrowings. But it said revenue also grew five percent to 1.31 billion ringgit as passenger numbers increased slightly. AirAsia is led by flamboyant boss Tony...

Published Date: August 21, 2014
Novartis licences drugs to non-profit TB group

Swiss-based pharmaceuticals giant Novartis said Wednesday that it had signed a licensing deal with an international organisation that fights tuberculosis. In a statement, the group said that the exclusive worldwide licensing agreement with the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development covered compounds discovered at the Novartis Institutes for Tropical Diseases. All told, TB claimed 1.3 million lives worldwide last year, making it the deadliest disease after AIDS to be caused by a single infectious agent, according to the World Health Organization. WHO...

Published Date: August 21, 2014
SWIFT plans to go big

SWIFT plans to go big

Global financial messaging service provider SWIFT aims to integrate large companies operating in Bangladesh into its network. The move will enable conglomerates to wire funds globally and locally through the network at a low cost and reduced risk. “Bangladesh has a lot of scope to enhance SWIFT network. So, we want to integrate corporate firms...

Published Date: August 21, 2014
BB awards two economists posthumously

BB awards two economists posthumously

Prof Muzaffer Ahmad and Swadesh Ranjan Bose were posthumously given Bangladesh Bank Award 2013 yesterday for their contribution to the economy and development of the country. Finance Minister AMA Muhith handed the awards to the wives of the country's two eminent economists at a programme at Bangladesh Bank Training Academy in the capital. The...

Published Date: August 21, 2014
Japan trade deficit narrows on export pick-up

A rebound in exports helped narrow Japan's trade deficit in July, data showed Wednesday, but the shortfall still came in worse than expected after a marked slowdown in the world's number three economy. The pick-up in shipments abroad offered some good news after figures last week showed the economy suffered its biggest quarterly contraction since the 2011 quake-tsunami disaster as an April sales tax rise slammed the brakes on growth. The latest trade figures will likely be a relief for Japanese...

Published Date: August 21, 2014
Standard Chartered fined $300m over laundering controls

New York state's banking regulator hit Standard Chartered Bank with a $300 million fine and restrictions on its dollar-clearing business Tuesday for not detecting possible money laundering. The New York Department of Financial Services (DFS) said the British bank's internal compliance systems had failed to detect or act on a large number of "potentially high-risk transactions" mostly originating from Hong Kong and the United Arab Emirates. The new punishment came two years after the bank paid US regulators $667 million to...

Published Date: August 21, 2014
Citigroup seeks to exit Japanese retail banking

Citigroup seeks to exit Japanese retail banking

Citigroup Inc is preparing to sell its Japanese retail banking operations, a source with direct knowledge of the matter said on Wednesday, as it waves the white flag on a venture plagued by regulatory troubles and anaemic lending. The company which pioneered 24-hour ATMs in Japan and was the only foreign bank to make...

Published Date: August 20, 2014
Ananda Shipyard looks to rent out two ships to foreign clients

Ananda Shipyard looks to rent out two ships to foreign clients

Ananda Shipyard, which has fallen on hard times after orders for eight vessels worth about Tk 700 crore were cancelled in 2010, is now planning to rent out two of the ships to service its loans with Islami Bank. The shipbuilder is currently looking to register the two liners at a foreign country and...

Published Date: August 20, 2014
StanChart awards agriculture heroes

StanChart awards agriculture heroes

Two rural farmers, a state-run research organisation, a farm machinery manufacturer and an exporter yesterday won the maiden AGROW Award in recognition of their contribution to agriculture. Standard Chartered Bangladesh in association with Bangladesh Brand Forum introduced the award in a bid to spur innovation and modernisation among the thousands of farmers across the...

Published Date: August 20, 2014
Provide incentives to develop skilled workforce

Provide incentives to develop skilled workforce

The government should offer incentives to private companies to provide in-house or external training to their employees to sharpen their skills, analysts said yesterday. Currently, most organisations shy away from providing any training -- despite an acute shortage of skilled workforce -- due to high costs and employees' tendency to defect to another job...

Published Date: August 20, 2014
Bangladesh keen to join BRICS Bank

Bangladesh is willing to join the newly-formed BRICS Bank though the multilateral development bank is yet decide on whether it would include any country outside the five founder nations. “We have decided to join BRICS Bank,” Finance Minister AMA Muhith told reporters after a meeting yesterday with Asian Development Bank Vice-President Lakshmi Venkatachalam at his secretariat. Officially called the New Development Bank (NDB), it was formed in July 2013 by the emerging markets of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa...

Published Date: August 20, 2014
Faster IPO subscription project takes off next month

A new simpler and faster IPO subscription method will start under a pilot project next month. The new system will cut down the processing time of an initial public offering (IPO) to three weeks from the current requirement of more than five weeks. It will also eliminate hassles that investors face in submitting IPO applications and depositing cash with the banks and getting refunds for unsuccessful applications. As many as 118 stockbrokers and merchant banks will participate in the pilot project, which...

Published Date: August 20, 2014
Govt plans to boost cotton production seven-fold

The government has taken up a Tk 105 crore project to increase production of raw cotton, only 3 percent of which is now collected from local producers. The Executive Committee of the National Economic Council yesterday approved the Extended Cotton Farming Project Phase-1 through which an additional 7 lakh bales of cotton will be produced a year. Bangladesh produces only 1 lakh bales of cotton, which meets only 2-3 percent of the garment industry's demand. Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said the...

Published Date: August 20, 2014
Lenovo to launch smartphones soon

Device maker Lenovo is set to launch its smartphones in Bangladesh soon. The company's smartphones are widely available globally, but are absent in the local market. Currently, Lenovo concentrates on personal computers including notebooks and tablets in Bangladesh. There is huge demand for smartphones in Bangladesh, Amar Babu, managing director of Lenovo India, said at a media briefing at Ruposhi Bangla Hotel in Dhaka. The company has inaugurated 15 products in Dhaka this week, most of which were globally launched in the...

Published Date: August 20, 2014
BB widens green finance scheme

Bangladesh Bank has added three new products, including garment sector ones, to its refinance scheme of low-interest loans. The banking regulator included solar water-pumps, green industry and workplace safety projects of the apparel industry in the scheme. The highest loan limit for solar water-pumps is Tk 3 core, Tk 20 crore for green industry and Tk 1 crore has been earmarked for garment factories, the central bank said in a notice yesterday. Borrowers will have to pay a 9 percent interest rate...

Published Date: August 20, 2014
Emirates reduces fares for travellers from Bangladesh

Emirates has announced special return fares for both business and economy class travellers from Bangladesh to select destinations in the USA, Europe, Africa and Middle East, the airline said in a statement yesterday. Passengers travelling from Dhaka can book their return journey to North America starting at $1,278 for economy class and $3,392 for business class, as well as other destinations across the carrier's global network for travel between September 11 and December this year, it said. For Europe, the return...

Published Date: August 20, 2014
Robi holds career festival at Dhaka University

Robi Axiata yesterday launched a career festival for the students of the business faculty at Dhaka University to familiarise them with the employment opportunities at the telecom company. The event, Robi Career Carnival, at the business studies faculty was organised in association with the DU business faculty. As part of the event, a memorandum of understanding was signed between Robi and the business faulty to facilitate internship opportunities for DU students at Robi. Students will be informed of the job opportunities...

Published Date: August 20, 2014
Skilled manpower needed to achieve development goals

A four-day international summit that ended yesterday emphasised that Bangladesh should work to improve the number of skilled manpower and energy generation to achieve the sustainable development goals. The country should also take steps to ensure better utilisation of resources and quick implementation of policies and improve infrastructure to achieve the goals, Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, chairman of Palli Karma Sahayak Foundation, said at the closing ceremony of the event. Bangladesh should set target and indicators to attain the development goals more...

Published Date: August 20, 2014
Russian sanctions threaten both Europe's farmers and policymakers

Russian sanctions threaten both Europe's farmers and policymakers

Pascal Sauvetre, an apple farmer in Poitou-Charentes on France's Atlantic coast, has a headache beyond the usual concerns about weather and tree fungus - Polish apples. As the European Union's second biggest apple producer, Poland has some 700,000 tonnes of the fruit it usually sells to Russia but can't, because Moscow has a food...

Published Date: August 20, 2014
Britain's top bosses earn '131 times more' than staff

The heads of Britain's largest companies earned 131 times as much as their average employee last year, a study said Monday, exposing the growing pay gap between bosses and workers. The wage divide has more than doubled since 1998, when the average chief executive of firms in the FTSE 100 earned 47 times as much as staff, the report found. The British government has brought in laws to curb executive pay and bonuses since the financial crisis, but a severe squeeze...

Published Date: August 20, 2014
Sultan of Brunei denies report of bid for Sahara's New York, London hotels

Sultan of Brunei denies report of bid for Sahara's New York, London hotels

A spokesman for the Sultan of Brunei dismissed a report by the Wall Street Journal online that he had made a bid for New York's Plaza Hotel, Dream Hotel and London's Grosvenor House hotel. The Journal's website edition reported on Saturday, citing people familiar with the situation, that an investment firm affiliated with Brunei...