• Saturday, October 25, 2014

Business

Banks largely robust to shocks

Most of the banks have sufficient capital buffer to absorb adverse shocks and still maintain the sector's overall capital adequacy ratio (CAR) above the minimum requirement, the central bank's most recent stress tests found.  The exercise, conducted by the Financial Stability Department on data from the April-June quarter of this year, looked at the impact of different stressed situations on banks' capital. The minimum capital requirement for scheduled banks is the greater of the two: 10 percent of risk-weighted assets or Tk 400 crore. At the end of June, the sector's CAR stood at 10.68 percent, above the minimum regulatory requirement of 10 percent. The tests found that if each of the banks' top three borrowers defaults, the banking sector CAR may drop 2.69 percent. Individually, one state-owned commercial bank, 18 private commercial banks and four Islamic banks' CAR will fall below 10 percent due to this shock. If 3 percent of the highest sectoral loans become default, the banking sector CAR may slip 0.07 percent, but it would still be above the minimum requirement. Likewise, in the scenarios of negative shifting of classified loans, the banking sector CAR may fall 0.53 percent but would still be above the 10 percent floor. Individually,...

UN body joins effort to build Asian info superhighway

UN body joins effort to build Asian info superhighway

The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the...

Jute spinners cut work hours as yarn piles up

Jute spinners have decided to cut their six-day work week to five days from November 1 to avoid stockpiling of the...

Tofail pledges fast implementation of new labour law

The government will soon finalise a set of rules to implement the amended labour law in factories, as Bangladesh has already...

Published Date: October 24, 2014
Pran books $2.45m orders at Paris fair

Pran books $2.45m orders at Paris fair

Pran-RFL Group booked export orders worth around $2.45 million during the five-day SIAL fair in Paris that concluded yesterday, officials of the company said. Most of the orders were from African countries, while the company got some new customers from the US, Canada, Europe, Latin America and the UAE. The Bangladeshi food and agro processor,...

Published Date: October 24, 2014
Tax waiver likely for CSR spending

The government may provide tax waiver to the corporate sector to encourage them to take up corporate social responsibility activities, Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said yesterday.  “If corporate houses want to build roads, bridges, schools, colleges and hospitals under their name I don't think anybody will complain," he said. The government will definitely support their initiatives and might even extend tax waiver for the activities.  The minister spoke at a meeting aimed at preparing a guideline on CSR at the auditorium...

Published Date: October 24, 2014
Manufacturing moving from China to US: survey

Manufacturing moving from China to US: survey

Large manufacturers are increasingly moving production back to the United States from China, according to a new report by The Boston Consulting Group released Thursday. In the third annual survey of US-based senior executives at manufacturing companies with annual sales of at least $1 billion, the number of respondents who said their companies were...

Published Date: October 24, 2014
Tesco chairman resigns as profits error deepens

Tesco chairman resigns as profits error deepens

The chairman of Britain's biggest retailer Tesco resigned on Thursday as the troubled supermarket group said a huge accounting error began earlier than thought and contributed to plunging profits. Chairman Richard Broadbent said he would be stepping down after an independent investigation found that Tesco had overstated profits by £263 million ($422 million, 334...

Published Date: October 24, 2014
Finland's Nokia beats market expectations

Finland's Nokia on Thursday beat market expectations as it reported strong third-quarter profit growth and lifted the profitability outlook for its core network unit on the back of network roll-outs in North America and China. The network unit showed a core operating profit margin of 13.5 percent, up from 11.0 percent in the second quarter and topping analysts' average forecast of 9.9 percent in a Reuters poll. "Networks benefited from some unique developments in the quarter, with a business mix weighted...

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Published Date: October 24, 2014
US stores hire big with high hopes for holiday shopping

US stores and shippers are ramping up holiday hiring to potentially the highest level in 15 years, but no one is sure whether that will be answered by a burst of shopping. Package shipper FedEx said Tuesday it would add 50,000 temporary workers for the November-January holiday shopping season, aiming to avoid last year's debacle when it and rival UPS were overwhelmed by the online sales surge, resulting in a huge number of deliveries missing the December 25 Christmas target. UPS...

Published Date: October 24, 2014
GP, Mozilla and MCC launch app competition

GP, Mozilla and MCC launch app competition

Grameenphone and Mozilla along in association with Multimedia Content and Communications (MCC) have launched an application-building competition. Dubbed the Firefox App Challenge, the contest is open until December 4 to all Firefox operating system based applications, Grameenphone said in a statement yesterday. Participants can submit applications under five categories: public or social services; entertainment; games;...

Published Date: October 24, 2014
India sees Brazil as a role model in beating hunger

India has sent a mission to Mars, but maintains the "dubious distinction of being the world capital of malnutrition", a senior Indian official said Wednesday, adding that economic growth alone will not be enough to end hunger. "The prevalence of underweight children in India is nearly double that of sub-Saharan Africa," Vimlendra Sharan, an Indian representative to the United Nations, told delegates at a nutrition summit in Rome. One in every three malnourished children in the world lives in India and...

Published Date: October 24, 2014
Japan exports rebound, but economy still not out of woods

Japan exports rebound, but economy still not out of woods

Japan's exports rose at the fastest pace in seven months in September as sales to Asia picked up, but signs of slowing global growth may hurt the trade sector's ability to recharge the world's third-biggest economy and keep up pressure for fresh stimulus. In particular, cooling growth in China and an economic chill in...

Published Date: October 24, 2014
Unilever says sales dip, blames China slowdown

Dutch food and cosmetics giant Unilever on Thursday posted a third quarter drop in sales down 2.0 percent, blaming a slowdown in emerging markets, particularly in China. Turnover dropped to 12.2 billion euros ($15.4 billion), which was also weighed down by a negative currency impact of 2.6 percent, the Rotterdam-based group said in a statement. Unilever did not publish third quarter profits. "Market growth slowed in emerging countries and particularly in China," Unilever chief executive Paul Polman said. "In China, the impact...

Published Date: October 24, 2014
Bangladesh signs China-led Asian bank MoU

Bangladesh signs China-led Asian bank MoU

Twenty one Asian countries, including Bangladesh, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on establishing the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) today with three major countries skipping the event. Australia, Indonesia and South Korea skipped the launching ceremony as the United States said it had concerns about the new rival to Western-dominated multilateral lenders,...

Published Date: October 23, 2014
IMF holds back loans over delay in VAT law

The IMF has deferred the release of the sixth instalment of the $1 billion loan to next year after the government failed to lay out a fresh roadmap for implementing the new VAT law. The sixth instalment -- around $140 million -- had been scheduled for release in November, following a successful review by the visiting International Monetary Fund mission last month. The decision on deferral was conveyed to Finance Minister AMA Muhith when he met IMF high officials at the...

Published Date: October 23, 2014
Shrimp exports in slow lane

Shrimp exports are facing a slowdown in the wake of reduced demand for locally-grown black tiger shrimps in major markets. An increased supply of vannamei or white shrimps from other exporting countries and their reduced prices account for the slowdown. Buyers are more interested in low-priced vannamei than in expensive black tiger shrimps, said Khan Habibur Rahman, deputy managing director of Lockpur Group, a leading seafood exporter. Shrimp exports rose 3.59 percent year-on-year to $180.3 million between July and September this year....

Published Date: October 23, 2014
NBR zooms in on homeowners abroad

NBR zooms in on homeowners abroad

The National Board of Revenue is set to gather information on Bangladeshis who have bought properties abroad, its Chairman Md Ghulam Hussain said yesterday. The decision was taken to check whether the individuals have paid an appropriate amount of taxes to the state coffers, Hussain said during a programme organised by Eastern Bank Ltd...

Published Date: October 23, 2014
Better roads, sufficient energy to propel growth: ICCB

The government must prioritise the development of road networks and other infrastructure for higher economic growth, a leading international chamber said yesterday. “Proper infrastructure is a must to accelerate higher GDP growth. Good roads, power supply and sufficient energy sources generally lure investments,” said Mahbubur Rahman, president of International Chamber of Commerce Bangladesh. The country will have to invest $7-$10 billion by 2020 in infrastructure development, while maintaining political stability, to achieve higher economic growth, Rahman said at a briefing...

Published Date: October 23, 2014
ILO hands Tk 12.7cr in Rana Plaza compensation

The International Labour Organisation has so far disbursed Tk 12.7 crore in compensation to 1,496 victims of the Rana Plaza disaster. The money was disbursed in two batches from the ILO-managed Rana Plaza Trust Fund in September, said Srinivasa Reddy, country director of the ILO in Bangladesh. The committee of the fund has identified 2,848 victims for compensations. “ILO will disburse compensation to 858 victims in the third batch next week,” Reddy told The Daily Star. “The fourth and last batch will...

Published Date: October 23, 2014
Wise up to online share trade

Afiya Khanum, a business graduate from Dhaka University, wants to buy and sell shares from home through her smartphone, thanks to the time-saving benefits and growing popularity of internet. The 35-year-old housewife, who lives in Dhanmondi, attended Chittagong Stock Exchange's internet trade fair to know the process of online share trade using devices such as smartphones, tabs, laptops and desktop computers. “I don't want to visit a brokerage house to trade in the stockmarket in the age of internet,” she said....

Published Date: October 23, 2014
Tesco's sales fall faster than its competitors

Tesco's sales are falling faster than any of its competitors, as it loses market share to discounters Aldi and Lidl, as well as to upmarket rival Waitrose. The supermarket saw sales fall 3.6 percent in the 12 weeks to 12 October, according to research firm Kantar Worldpanel. The drop has reduced its market share to 28.8 percent, down from 30.1 percent a year ago. The news came as HSBC analyst David McCarthy said Tesco needed to invest £3bn to turn around...

Published Date: October 23, 2014
Apec finance chiefs meet as global worries persist

Apec finance chiefs meet as global worries persist

The global economic recovery is beset by "downside risks", China's vice-premier told Asia-Pacific finance ministers Wednesday, a day after growth in the world's second-largest economy hit a five-year low. The meeting in Beijing of ministers from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) forum precedes the group's annual summit next month, when Chinese President Xi Jinping...

Published Date: October 23, 2014
Lufthansa close to deal with IBM for IT infrastructure unit

German airline Lufthansa is close to a deal to sell its IT infrastructure unit to IBM, including an outsourcing agreement for the services, as part of a shake-up of its technology activities, it said on Wednesday. Europe's largest airline by revenue is undergoing restructuring and cost-cutting efforts to better position itself to compete with low-cost carriers and Gulf rivals. It earlier this year said it was seeking a buyer for the unit, which provides data centers, networks and telephony, because it...

Published Date: October 23, 2014
Yahoo profit surges on Alibaba divestment, mobile

Yahoo said Tuesday its quarterly profit surged with its sale of shares in Chinese Internet powerhouse Alibaba, and that it was seeing signs of life in its mobile Internet initiatives. Net profit jumped to $6.8 billion, which included $6.3 billion from its Alibaba shares. But profit was stronger than expected, and pumped up Yahoo shares by 3.1 percent in after-hours trade. Revenue from operations inched up a percent to $1.15 billion, according to third quarter results welcomed by chief executive Marissa...

Published Date: October 23, 2014
Focus on higher world economic growth

Focus on higher world economic growth

Bangladesh is set to be in the limelight of global business leaders, economists and policymakers as a two-day international conference on Asian economic growth, trade and investment begins in Dhaka on Saturday.  The conference, organised by the International Chamber of Commerce Bangladesh (ICCB), will provide an opportunity for world business leaders, policymakers and academics to share their thoughts and ideas on how to maintain higher economic growth. The Bangladesh chapter of ICC, the world business organisation, will hold the conference to mark 20 years of its presence in the country at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre and Sonargaon Hotel in Dhaka.  The event is expected to be attended by 500 delegates including ministers,...

Published Date: October 23, 2014
The future of banking is digital

The future of banking is digital

Local banks will have to adopt digital platforms and rearrange their products and services accordingly to meet the growing demand of a population who have embraced mobile technology widely, a top banker said. "Banking will have to become digital thanks to the advancement of technology. So, our services will have to embrace technological solutions,"...

Published Date: October 23, 2014
In emerging beauty markets like Brazil, new products key

In emerging beauty markets like Brazil, new products key

In Brazil, women primarily wear their hair long, and need to tackle the country's generally hot, humid climate when they style it. They also demand a wide range of sun protection creams. Beauty industry giants such as L'Oreal, Unilever and Procter & Gamble that are looking to crack key emerging markets like Brazil are...

Published Date: October 23, 2014
India's Modi burnishes economic credentials with reform blitz

India's Modi burnishes economic credentials with reform blitz

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has unleashed a slew of reforms in the past week, scrapping fuel subsidies, simplifying labour rules and pledging to open coal mining to private players in a bid to kickstart the economy. The reforms are seen as some of the most significant since Modi's right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)...

Published Date: October 23, 2014
Switzerland top destination for expats

Switzerland is the world's favourite destination among expats, followed by Singapore and China, a poll on quality of life for bank HSBC found on Wednesday. "Many Switzerland-based expats mentioned the better work-life balance, availability of outdoor activities and the family-centric culture as the reasons they enjoy the Swiss lifestyle," the British bank said. The poll questioned 9,300 people working in various sectors and mostly aged between 35 and 54. They were asked about their financial situation, such as salary, savings and the...

Published Date: October 22, 2014
Economic growth to accelerate 6.2pc

Economic growth to accelerate 6.2pc

The economy may grow by 6.2 percent this fiscal year thanks to strong domestic demand and a revival in private investment activities and remittance flow, the World Bank said yesterday. The economy's natural capacity is sufficient to achieve growth of more than 6 percent, Zahid Hussain, a lead economist of the WB's Dhaka office,...

Published Date: October 22, 2014
Eid festivals clock up Tk 92,820cr in retail sales

Bangladesh recorded retail sales of $10-12 billion (Tk 77,350-92,820 crore) during the last two Eid festivals, which took place within a span of three months, according to the World Bank. Consumer confidence was buoyed by a stable political climate, said Zahid Hussain, a lead economist for the WB. “This will contribute to the GDP,” he said while making a presentation on the country's economy yesterday. Combined retail sales during the last two religious festivals were equivalent to at least 10 percent of...

Published Date: October 22, 2014
WB stresses continuous efforts to reform garment sector

WB stresses continuous efforts to reform garment sector

Bangladesh must continue its efforts to reform the garment industry to boost higher exports, World Bank said yesterday. “Progress in improving workplace compliance is on track but more needs to be done in order to fulfil the commitment of raising it to international standards,” WB said in a report, Bangladesh Development Update. The government has...

Published Date: October 22, 2014
BTRC mulls new spectrum for faster mobile internet

The telecom regulator is preparing the 700 megahertz spectrum band to release it next year to the mobile operators, which will enable them to deploy higher-performance broadband services over greater distances than the services they offer today. As some of the bandwidth in the band is occupied by an internet service provider (ISP), the regulator is going to rearrange it so that it can be allocated smoothly to the mobile operators. As a result, the operators will be able to roll...

Published Date: October 22, 2014
CSE starts fair today to spread online trade

Chittagong Stock Exchange is set to launch a two-day fair today to popularise online trading among local and foreign investors. Online trading will attract more local and foreign investors into the capital market as it is more convenient, Syed Sajid Husain, managing director of CSE, said at a press meet at its Dhaka office yesterday. The port city bourse will organise the fair at Engineering Institute in Dhaka, where 17 brokerage firms will showcase the online trading process. Investors can open beneficiary...

Published Date: October 22, 2014
German MPs dissatisfied with Rana Plaza compensation

A three-member delegation of the German parliament has expressed dissatisfaction over non-payment of adequate compensation to the victims of the Rana Plaza building collapse even one and a half years after the incident. “It's a shame for everybody -- factory owner, international buyers and the government as the victims have not received the compensation as per the commitments given to the workers after the accident,” delegation leader Dr Sascha Raabe told reporters at Lakeshore Hotel in Dhaka yesterday. It is a...

Published Date: October 22, 2014
Rice prices edge up despite higher output

Rice prices edge up despite higher output

Rice prices have edged up, even though farmers bagged higher outputs in the last boro season. But the spiral is seasonal as crop stocks from the previous harvests are depleting, millers claimed. Retail prices of the fine grain, which sold at Tk 40-56 for a kilogram a week ago, rose 1.04 percent to Tk 40-57...

Published Date: October 22, 2014
Coats celebrates 25 years in Bangladesh

Coats celebrates 25 years in Bangladesh

Coats plc, a globally renowned industrial thread and zip maker, celebrated 25 years of its operations in Bangladesh, at a programme at Radisson Hotel in Dhaka on Sunday. The British company marked the occasion with the announcement of opening up a new zip factory in Chittagong, at the gala event. Over 400 customers and suppliers...

Published Date: October 22, 2014
Experts stress fast phasing-out of polythene bags

Sufficient supply of jute-based or other or environment friendly products are necessary to stop the usage of polythene bags or sacks in Bangladesh, experts said yesterday. Awareness and market monitoring are also vital for stopping polythene bags, especially the ones that are thinner than 55 micron, to ensure a safer environment, they added. The suggestions came at a meeting at the Department of Environment (DoE) to discuss improvement of jute-based and other alternative packaging that would allow phasing out of...

Published Date: October 22, 2014
Bangladesh should diversify export basket: Japanese envoy

Bangladesh can manufacture some parts of industrial machines and send those to Japanese factories in South-East Asia and India, as the former has great potential in the sector, said Shiro Sadoshima, Japanese ambassador in Dhaka. The ambassador spoke at a programme on “Japan-Bangladesh relations: comprehensive partnership” organised by Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS), at its office yesterday. He gave example of Op-Seed Bangladesh, a firm in Chittagong Export Processing Zone, which manufactures pushbuttons of vending machines and exports...

Published Date: October 22, 2014
Novo Nordisk chief amid top 10 CEO's in the world

Novo Nordisk chief amid top 10 CEO's in the world

Novo Nordisk's President and Chief Executive Lars Rebien Sørensen has been named one of the best-performing chief executives in the world in a new study by the Harvard Business Review. Sørensen ranked sixth overall in the review's top-100, making him the only chief executive from a European company to break into the top 10,...

Published Date: October 22, 2014
IDLC chief made vice president of merchant bankers assoc

IDLC chief made vice president of merchant bankers assoc

Md Moniruzzaman, managing director of IDLC Investments, has recently been selected as the second vice-president of the Association Bangladesh Merchant Bankers Association. The decision came at the association's executive committee meeting at Lakeshore Hotel in Dhaka on Sunday, IDLC said in a statement yesterday. Tanjil Chowdhury, president of the association, attended the meeting. Moniruzzaman has...

Published Date: October 22, 2014
Falling global crude prices bolster India's economic outlook

Falling global crude prices bolster India's economic outlook

Falling crude oil prices have helped lawyer Pratik Mehra get off the bus and back behind the wheel of his car, cutting his travel time to work by a third. In China, a short hop across the Himalayas, slumping consumer demand has sparked fears of deflation as it wrestles with flagging global economic growth. But...

Published Date: October 22, 2014
InterContinental posts rising revenues

InterContinental Hotels Group on Tuesday booked rising quarterly revenues per room, buoyed by the United States, and expressed optimism over the annual outlook. Global revenue per available room (RevPAR) -- a key industry measure -- rose by 7.0 percent in the third quarter, compared with a year earlier, the group said in a statement. The performance was led by 8.4-percent growth in the United States and 6.1-percent growth in Europe. RevPAR is calculated by multiplying a hotel's average daily room rate by...

Published Date: October 22, 2014
Total: global oil giant, pride of France

Total, left without a leader after the death in a Moscow air accident of chief executive Christophe de Margerie, is a top global oil group and the biggest company in France in terms of sales and profits. A major player on global oil and gas markets, the group moved quickly on Tuesday to announce that its board would meet on finding a successor, and that it would press ahead with its goals. De Margerie died early on Tuesday while seeking to...

Published Date: October 22, 2014
Reckitt cautions on annual sales forecast

British household goods firm Reckitt Benckiser warned on Tuesday that annual sales would be towards the lower end of forecasts, after a weaker-than-expected third-quarter performance. The group, which produces Durex condoms, household cleaner Cillit Bang, and Nurofen pain relief tablets, revealed the news in a results statement. Reckitt added that revenues slid seven percent to £2.37 billion ($3.8 billion, 3.0 billion euros) in the third quarter of the year, compared with the same part of 2013. "Looking ahead, our objective remains to...

Published Date: October 22, 2014
New iPhones deliver big profits for Apple

New big-screen iPhones helped propel Apple's profit and revenue in the last quarter, as the California tech giant smashed earnings expectations. The company reported on Monday that profit rose 13 percent to $8.5 billion, as revenues jumped to $42.1 billion in the fiscal fourth quarter ending September 27. Apple said it sold more than 39 million iPhones in the quarter, boosted by last month's launch of the large-screen iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, which hit some markets on September 19. That...

Published Date: October 21, 2014
Foreign loans not as risky as thought: BB

Foreign loans not as risky as thought: BB

Private companies eventually draw a small portion of the foreign loans approved for them, a recent study by Bangladesh Bank found. External lenders disbursed 35 percent of the approved loans in 2012 and only 25.3 percent last year, according to the study by the Chief Economist's Unit of the central bank, carried out in...

Published Date: October 21, 2014
Steelmaker Appollo to spend Tk 200cr on tech upgrade

Steelmaker Appollo to spend Tk 200cr on tech upgrade

Appollo Ispat Complex, a leading steelmaker, will spend Tk 200 crore to introduce environment-friendly technology in May next year to help cut production costs and boost capacity. The technology will reduce production costs by 30 percent, while increasing capacity by 20 percent from its existing 1.20 lakh tonnes a year, said Abdur Rahman, deputy managing director of Appollo. Germany's radiant tube furnace technology will help Appollo produce lead and acid free corrugated iron sheets in a non-oxidising furnace at its Narayanganj plant. The radiant tube uses a rapid heating furnace that cuts out hydrochloric acid and lead usage during the galvanising process. “Eliminating lead and acid usage during the final stages of production...

Published Date: October 21, 2014
EU praises workplace safety reforms

The European Commission yesterday lauded Bangladesh's progress in efforts to ensure workplace safety in the garment sector. The commission urged the government to effectively implement the labour law, which was amended in parliament on July 15 last year. In the amended law, the government allowed full freedom of association by the workers at the factory level. A statement by László Andor, European commissioner for employment, social affairs and inclusion, said there has been much progress since the Rana Plaza building collapse...