• Friday, October 31, 2014

Business

Money launderers to be revealed: Muhith

The National Board of Revenue is set to prepare a list of individuals who have been laundering money abroad, Finance Minister AMA Muhith said yesterday. He, however, refused to give further details. “It's a sensitive issue -- such activities are done in confidence. As a result, nothing further may be given about this,” Muhith told reporters when asked if the government would take similar steps against money launderers as India did. The new Indian government led by Narendra Modi on Monday published names of more than 700 individuals who allegedly laundered money. “You will know when cases will be filed,” he added. Last week, NBR Chairman Ghulam Hussain said the tax authority is looking to gather information on Bangladeshis who have bought properties abroad. The country's illicit financial outflows in 2011 were close to $1.17 billion, which was 78.5 percent of the Official Development Assistance that year, according to Global Financial Integrity. The finance minister further said it is difficult to find out who have been siphoning off money. However, the government has tightened laws to seal the loopholes. For instance, the central bank has set up a unit at the NBR for surveillance on transfer pricing practices of multinationals and other corporates...

Noman Group: a pioneer in garment business

Noman Group: a pioneer in garment business

Noman Group is an example of how a company is built...

Graduation from LDC by 2020 requires additional $6b: official

The government will need to invest an additional $6 billion fund to take Bangladesh to a middle-income country by 2020, according...

Emirates sees growing potential in Bangladesh

Emirates sees growing potential in Bangladesh

Emirates plans to increase its flights from Dhaka as the leading...

BB clarifies cash benefits for garment exporters

All garment exporters operating outside export processing zones are entitled to an additional 0.25 percent cash incentive on prices of exports, announced by the central bank in June, Bangladesh Bank said yesterday. The 0.25 percent incentive comes in addition to 5 percent cash benefits currently available for all garment exporters. The regulator issued a notice yesterday to clarify the business community's confusion over entitlement criteria. “We saw that bankers and garment businesses were confused over who qualifies to get the additional cash...

US pledges energy cooperation

The US has pledged to work with Bangladesh in cross-border trade and energy cooperation and support regional economic integration and connectivity initiatives. Recognising Bangladesh's role as a regional leader and seat of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation, the United States also agreed to support in the development of the Indo-Pacific Economic Corridor. The US is also interested to extend full cooperation for increased economic participation of women. The commitments of the support came in a joint...

Invite private sector to invest in railways: IFC

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has asked the government to allow the private sector to invest in power and railways, Finance Minister AMA Muhith said yesterday. Muhith was speaking to reporters after a meeting with Jin-Yong Cai, executive vice president and chief executive of IFC.

Zaheen Spinning gets IPO go-ahead

Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission gave the green light to Zaheen Spinning to raise Tk 12 crore from the public. The yarn manufacturer will float 1.2 crore ordinary shares of Tk 10 each to raise funds for plant and machinery purchase. MTB Capital will manage the initial public offering (IPO), which was approved at a meeting on Wednesday. The company's earnings stood at Tk 1.01 and net asset value at Tk 12.59 per share on June. At present, 36 textile companies are...

Summit to focus on communication

The fourth edition of Commward will begin at Sonargaon Hotel in Dhaka tomorrow, Bangladesh Brand Forum said in a statement yesterday. Commward is the largest initiative in Bangladesh in recognising and inspiring creative communication in business and marketing since 2009, it said. Two panel discussions on creative communication will also be held. Prahlad Kakkar, founder and director of Genesis Productions of India; Santosh Ramesh Desai, managing director and chief executive of Futurebrands India; Partha Sinha, director and chief strategy officer of Publicis...

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Fifty-one countries sign OECD pact to tackle tax cheats

Fifty-one countries sign OECD pact to tackle tax cheats

Finance ministers and tax chiefs from 51 countries signed an agreement on Wednesday to automatically swap tax information, which Germany's finance minister said heralded the end of tax evasion via secret bank accounts. "Let's make a joint contribution to more transparency and fairness in our globalised 21st century," Wolfgang Schaeuble told a taxation conference...

Prize bond draw on Sunday

The 77th draw of Bangladesh prize bonds will be held at the Dhaka divisional commissioner's office on Sunday, the Department of National Savings said in a statement yesterday. The result will be published on the next day in all national dailies, according to the statement. The single common draw system will be used in the draw.

New body for bankers' welfare formed

A non-political association for all categories of bank officers was formed at a meeting at a local hotel in Dhaka recently. Kazi Md Shafiqur Rahman, former managing director of Mutual Trust Bank, will serve as convenor of the Bankers' Welfare Association, and Md Ahsan Habib, senior vice president of Trust Bank, will serve as member secretary, the association said in a statement yesterday. A 23-member committee was also formed for the association, according to the statement.a

Qatar Airways' special promotion for customers in Doha

A promotion of Qatar Airways will come to an end today under which passengers of the airline will receive a business class ticket for free with every booking of such a ticket. The carrier's customers in Doha will get the offer under certain terms and conditions to mark the first anniversary of its joining at the oneworld global alliance. The promotion is valid for travel until March 31, 2015 to select destinations across Europe, Africa, Asia Pacific and the Americas, the...

Novo Nordisk insulin maker reports profit, sales rise

The world's top insulin maker, Denmark's Novo Nordisk, reported on Thursday a slight profit increase in the third quarter as sales rose. Novo Nordisk accounts for almost half of the global insulin market, which has grown rapidly in recent years following a rise in the number of people suffering from diabetes. The World Health Organization estimates that the number of people with diabetes totals nearly 350 million. Net profit grew by 1.3 percent to 6.5 billion kroner (873 million euros, $1.1 billion)...

Maruti Suzuki says car sales growth cooling

India's biggest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India Ltd said growth in car sales would slow in the second half of the year, dampening expectations of a rapid recovery in the country's automotive market. Maruti, which sells almost one in every two cars in India, beat analyst estimates with a near 29 percent rise in its quarterly net profit on Thursday, thanks to a 15 percent jump in car sales during the six months to Sept. 30. But RC Bhargava, Maruti's chairman, said...

Billions pour into India's e-commerce business

Billions pour into India's e-commerce business

From Japan's richest man to Jeff Bezos, everyone wants a piece of India's booming online retail sector. For those without billions to pump into the tightly held firms who dominate e-commerce, the best bet may be the delivery men. On Tuesday, SoftBank Corp Chief Executive Masayoshi Son joined Bezos's Amazon.com Inc in pledging heavy...

Samsung seeks smartphone revamp to arrest profit slide

Samsung Electronics Co Ltd on Thursday said it would revamp its smartphone line-up to take on competitors in the rapidly growing mid-to-low range segment, after third-quarter earnings set it on course for its worst year since 2011. The global smartphone leader's market share declined in annual terms for the third straight quarter in July-September, lagging Apple Inc in the premium market and overtaken by rivals like Lenovo Group Ltd and Xiaomi Inc at the bottom end, research firm Strategy Analytics...

Xiaomi moves into third place in global smartphone war

China's Xiaomi Inc has become the world's third-largest smartphone vendor just three years after first hitting the market, trailing only Samsung Electronics Co Ltd and Apple Inc, according to a new industry study. Strategy Analytics said Xiaomi accounted for 6 percent of all 320 million smartphones shipped during July-September. Samsung made up 25 percent, down from 35 percent a year earlier due to rising competition from several directions. Apple's share also fell slightly to 12 percent. "Xiaomi was the star performer,"...

Toshiba half-year net profit surges 43pc

Toshiba said Thursday its half-year net profit soared about 43 percent from a year ago, largely owing to a weak yen and strong sales in its infrastructure business. The company said it earned 30.8 billion yen ($282 million) in the six months to September on sales of 3.11 trillion yen, up 3.6 percent. For the year to March next year, Toshiba left its forecasts unchanged, expecting a net profit of 120 billion yen on sales of 6.7 trillion yen. "Although...

Published Date: October 30, 2014
Business climate looks up, rank slips

Business climate looks up, rank slips

The country's business regulatory environment improved from last year but it was not enough to bump up Bangladesh's ranking in the World Bank's index on the ease of doing business.            Bangladesh came in at 173 among 189 nations on the Doing Business list, down from 170 last year. India stood at 142, Pakistan 128 and Sri Lanka 99. Bangladesh slipped because of slower pace of reforms relative to other countries, said Zahid Hussain, lead economist at the World Bank's Dhaka office. Besides, new countries have been included in the list and they are ahead of Bangladesh in regulatory reforms, he said. The ranking does not reflect how the business regulatory environment in the...

Published Date: October 30, 2014
JS panel unhappy as no action taken against ex-chairman of BASIC

A parliamentary panel has expressed utter disappointment as the government did not take any action against the former chairman of BASIC Bank, the main accused in scams in the state-run bank. At a meeting yesterday, the parliamentary standing committee on the finance ministry also decided to call upon the Anti-Corruption Commission to take punitive measures against the former chairman and other people responsible for irregularities in the bank. Officials of Bangladesh Bank told the committee that they have sent a set...

Published Date: October 30, 2014
GP profit falls in third quarter

Grameenphone's net profit slipped 6.86 percent year-on-year to Tk 534.53 crore in the July-September period, according to the Dhaka Stock Exchange. The mobile operator saw Tk 573.94 crore in net profit in the same period last year, buoyed by the sales proceeds of Tk 100 crore that it received through the sale of 51 percent stake of Grameenphone IT, a subsidiary, to the global software company, Accenture. The operator's revenue grew 6.10 percent to Tk 7,674 crore in the first nine...

Published Date: October 30, 2014
Bangladesh on track after Rana Plaza: EU

Bangladesh has made significant improvement in safety standards and workers' rights in the aftermath of Rana Plaza building collapse, a top official of the European Union said yesterday. “Things are moving in the right direction. Some are going fast and some are going slow, but we are glad to note that everything is going in the right direction,” he told The Daily Star, asking not to be named. Following the Rana Plaza tragedy, the government signed the Sustainability Compact with the...

Published Date: October 30, 2014
Janata Jute plans to make green shopping bags

Janata Jute plans to make green shopping bags

Janata Jute Mills Ltd is preparing to make a foray into the global jute-made shopping bag market as demand for the natural fibre is soaring amid environmental concerns. One of the largest manufacturers and exporters of jute products in Bangladesh, Janata is now installing an effluent treatment plant at its factory in Ghorashal in...

Published Date: October 30, 2014
Tax receipts rise 16pc

Revenue collection rose 16 percent year-on-year to Tk 28,220 crore during July-September of the current fiscal year, thanks to a boost in receipts in September, according to preliminary data. "The improvement indicates that the economy is coming out of a depressed mood," said Md Bashir Uddin Ahmed, a member of income tax at the National Board of Revenue. Ahmed said excess liquidity in the banking sector is coming down. A number of banks posted profit in the first quarter, he said. Last...

Published Date: October 30, 2014
Make best use of renewable energy resources: Mozena

Bangladesh should focus on importing hydro power from neighbouring countries to meet the growing demand for electricity, US Ambassador Dan Mozena said yesterday. South Asia has prospects in hydro power, as Nepal is capable of producing 80,000 megawatts and Bhutan 30,000 MW; the Seven Sister states of India also have such potential, he said. “I encourage Bangladesh to explore these dynamic options,” said Mozena at the opening of the first meeting of Bangladesh Sustainable Energy for All Investor Forum at Westin...

Published Date: October 30, 2014
IFC, GIZ launch off-grid lighting programme

The International Finance Corporation and German International Cooperation Agency GIZ jointly launched a programme in Dhaka yesterday to make green lighting accessible in the country's off-grid areas. Around 25 lakh people will get access to lighting over the next three years through the 'Lighting Asia-Bangladesh' programme, and help cut back around 74,000 tonnes of carbon emissions. Lighting Asia-Bangladesh is a chapter of Lighting Global, a platform of the World Bank Group to support sustainable growth of the international off-grid lighting market. The...

Published Date: October 30, 2014
Utilise existing resources to graduate from LDC status: Atiur Rahman

Bangladesh could get close to graduating from the least developed country status if it can use its available resources efficiently, the governor of the central bank said yesterday. "Enhancing the resource utilisation capacity alone could largely close Bangladesh's graduation gap out of LDC labelling, without requiring much more in additional resources," said Atiur Rahman. The banking regulator spoke at a discussion at Sonargaon Hotel in Dhaka on resource utilisation capacity building to bridge the gap between the least developed country status...

Published Date: October 30, 2014
Bangladesh's destiny is largely in its own hands

Bangladesh's destiny is largely in its own hands

GDP growth in Bangladesh is likely to recover in FY2015, driven by some revival in private investment activities, stronger domestic demand resulting from increased public investment in infrastructure, and domestic consumption growth getting a boost from remittance recovery and implementation of wage increases in the garment industry. Macroeconomic stability is expected to be...

Published Date: October 30, 2014
Thank you

Thank you

We are now five crore, and we have reached this milestone together. Seventeen years ago the people of Bangladesh embraced Grameenphone when we started. In that time, we have always worked to maintain relevance and value in all our products and services. Our highest priority has always been the customer and I am happy to say that we have been rewarded with the largest family of mobile services users. In my mind, 50 million is a community which can achieve the impossible. Fifty million is not something that can be easily dismissed. Fifty million is the indication of the will of a nation to grow and advance to a better...

Published Date: October 30, 2014
In China, high demand for robots but too many robot manufacturers

In China, high demand for robots but too many robot manufacturers

 China wants domestic companies to buy more locally made robots to lift productivity, but industry insiders have warned its policies are over-stimulating the market and that robot manufacturers were "coming up like mushrooms." Government officials, worried that productivity growth may have turned negative since 2009, see the promotion of automation as a policy that...

Published Date: October 30, 2014
Facebook warns of increased spending, shares fall

Facebook Inc warned on Tuesday of a dramatic increase in spending in 2015 and projected a slowdown in revenue growth this quarter, slicing a tenth off its market value. The hefty spending plans exposed the first signs of stress in the rock-solid support that investors have accorded the social networking company over the past year. With Facebook's mobile advertising business delivering repeated quarters of breakneck revenue growth, the company has faced little pushback from investors on pricey, multi-billion dollar acquisitions such...

Published Date: October 29, 2014
Bangladesh worst offender in ICT tax

Bangladesh worst offender in ICT tax

The government has drastically inflated the prices of ICT goods and services in Bangladesh, adding about 60 percent to their cost above the basic price, which is the highest in the world, a recent study by a Washington-based research organisation found. Additional costs come through two main channels: discriminatory taxes and tariffs, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation said in the report, Digital Drag, which ranked 125 nations.    In Bangladesh, 57.8 percent is added to the cost of ICT goods and services over and above the country's universal 15 percent VAT. The extra costs the government imposes can be expressed most clearly as a percentage increase in the costs of goods and...

Published Date: October 29, 2014
North France becomes social business region

North France becomes social business region

Nobel laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus has recently addressed 1,200 participants at the World Forum Lille, capital of North France, about social business as a powerful tool for social change. The four-day forum started on October 21, Yunus Centre said in a statement yesterday. He discussed his experience in initiating social businesses to tackle the...

Published Date: October 29, 2014
Asian LDCs seek more donor funds for graduation

Asian LDCs seek more donor funds for graduation

The least-developed countries in the Asia Pacific region are parched for external financing to move out of the ignominious list of most disadvantaged nations but the prospect for adequate donor fund is unpredictable. Officials from 12 LDCs of the region began a three-day meeting in Dhaka yesterday to discuss ways to mobilise official development assistance (ODA) so at least half of them can graduate to the middle-income status by the 2020 deadline. "ODA has been unpredictable, with bilateral support priorities of donor countries often based on their historical relationships and other political considerations,” said Shamshad Akhtar, under-secretary-general of the United Nations. “Resources are also often deployed in sectors which do not enhance...

Published Date: October 29, 2014
Call for LDCs to adopt technology

The least-developed countries in the Asia Pacific region need to stimulate inclusive economic growth, create jobs, fortify domestic efforts, diversify economic activities and embrace modern technology to graduate from their category. Targeted policies and programmes are needed to reduce inequalities and remove disparities, Syed Nuruzzaman, a senior official of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), said yesterday. Attention is also required for agriculture and rural development, food and nutrition security, social protection and social...

Published Date: October 29, 2014
FAO forecasts higher aman yield

Aman rice production this year is likely to be slightly higher than last year, the Food and Agriculture Organisation said. Despite crop losses for floods in some areas, yields of aman paddy, the second biggest crop after boro, are likely to come to 1.97 crore tonnes this season. “This reflects an increase in the area planted, in response to high prices at sowing time, coupled with higher yields due to the good rains during the season and increased use of improved...

Published Date: October 29, 2014
Sales of skincare products rise on advent of winter

Political calm raised hopes for brisk sales of winter care products this season, marketers said. The sales of winter care products were affected last year by disruptions to the supply chain for recurrent strikes and blockades enforced by BNP-led alliance in the run-up to the election on January 5. "We hope everything will go well this winter," said Malik M Sayeed, head of marketing of Square Toiletries, a unit of business conglomerate Square Group. The local market for winter care products is...

Published Date: October 29, 2014
Ecnec approves power supply project

The Executive Committee of National Economic Council (Ecnec) yesterday approved a project to supply electricity to three lakh people in 21 southwestern districts. The project to strengthen the power transmission system will get Tk 832 crore, as decided at the Ecnec meeting held with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the chair at the National Economic Council auditorium in Dhaka. The move will raise demand for additional electricity by 230 megawatts, AHM Mustafa Kamal, planning minister, said after the meeting. The government wants...

Published Date: October 29, 2014
Indian e-commerce site plans to venture into Bangladesh

India's ethnic wear e-commerce site Ishi Maya is looking to launch a dedicated internet portal for Bangladeshi customers. Vinayak Online Marketing Private Ltd, which sells merchandise from Gujarat, Rajasthan and West Bengal, through the Ishi Maya website, will launch its Bangladeshi operation in partnership with a local company Karigari Bangladesh. The platform will mainly sell salwar suits, sarees, lehengas, kurtis and anarkalis. “Bangladesh is a key market for ethnic Indian wear for women. Through the tie-up with the local company, we...

Published Date: October 29, 2014
India orders release of 'black money' names

India's top court on Tuesday ordered the government to within a day disclose the names of all people suspected of stashing money in foreign banks beyond reach of tax authorities. The government said it would comply with the order and provide the names -- which could total many hundred -- to the court in a sealed envelope. "The government shall place the list before the court because the government has already given it to the court-constituted Special Investigating Team," Finance Minister...

Published Date: October 29, 2014
Janata Bank's new chief

Janata Bank's new chief

Md Abdus Salam joined Janata Bank as chief executive yesterday, the bank said in a statement. Prior to his appointment, he was the managing director of Bangladesh Krishi Bank. He also worked for Agrani Bank and Janata Bank as deputy managing director. Salam holds an MCom degree in accounting from Dhaka University and is a chartered accountant of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Bangladesh.

Published Date: October 29, 2014
Twitter hammered on growth fears

Twitter saw its shares hammered Monday after reporting quarterly results that largely met expectations but failed to allay concerns about sluggish growth of the messaging platform. The San Francisco-based firm service posted a net loss of $175.5 million on $361.3 million in revenue in the three months that ended on September 30. Meanwhile, the number of monthly users grew 23 percent from a year earlier to 284 million, matching expectations of analysts. "We had another very strong financial quarter," Twitter chief...

Published Date: October 29, 2014
Samsung heir apparent to tighten grip on group firms

Samsung heir apparent to tighten grip on group firms

Samsung Group heir apparent Jay Y Lee is moving to acquire small stakes in two of the group's financial firms, which analysts say will help the scion solidify control of South Korea's largest conglomerate as a succession looms. Lee is seeking regulatory approval to purchase 0.1 percent each of Samsung Life Insurance Co Ltd...

Published Date: October 29, 2014
Holcim, Lafarge lodge merger plan with EU Commission

Building materials groups Holcim and Lafarge said on Tuesday they had formally notified the European Commission of their merger plan to create the world's biggest cement group. The move kicks off official scrutiny in Europe of a deal that was designed from the start to be accompanied by billions of dollars worth of asset disposals in order to secure regulatory approval worldwide.   The all-share combination, which requires approval from regulators around the world, already has the green light from seven...

Published Date: October 29, 2014
Apple CEO fires back as retailers block Pay

Apple Inc CEO Tim Cook fired back at CVS and Rite Aid on Monday after the drugstore chains blocked the iPhone maker's mobile payments service, saying there were plenty of other retailers around the world to sign up. Apple Pay launched about a week ago and saw more than a million credit cards registered over the first 72 hours. It already totes up more transactions than all other "contactless" payment methods combined, Cook said, citing Visa and Mastercard data. Such...

Published Date: October 29, 2014
Alibaba open to work with Apple on payments: Ma

Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd executive chairman Jack Ma said he's open to working with Apple Inc on mobile payments, as China's richest person prepares to call on Hollywood this week in search of media partners. Alibaba affiliate Alipay is China's largest payments service, while Apple just this month debuted its own version of a mobile wallet, letting iPhone 6 users make payments at retailers with their smartphones. Ma told a Wall Street Journal Digital Live conference on Monday that he has...

Published Date: October 29, 2014
Japan's SoftBank invests $627m in Snapdeal

Japanese telecom and media group SoftBank Corp has set its sights on Indian e-commerce in its aggressive expansion drive, saying it will invest about $10 billion in the booming sector as it took a strategic stake in one of its rising stars. Masayoshi Son, chief executive of SoftBank, laid out a 10-year investment plan for India on Tuesday, starting with the purchase of a $627 million stake in fast-growing online marketplace Snapdeal. Son's global ambitions flared into public view last...

Published Date: October 29, 2014
One-third of Africans have entered middle class

More than one in three Africans have entered the middle class in the past decade, and their numbers are set to swell thanks to rapid economic growth, a study showed Monday. At least 370 million Africans, or 34 percent of the continent's 1.1 billion people, are now middle class, according to a survey by the African Development Bank. In turn, the emergent class will help drive further economic growth and development, the Tunis-based AfDB study said. By 2060 the group should represent...

Published Date: October 29, 2014
Novartis profits soar 45pc

Swiss pharmaceuticals giant Novartis on Tuesday said strong sales of new products had helped push its net profit up 45 percent in the third quarter, despite competition from copycat generic drugs. For the July to September period, the company saw its net profit jump to $3.2 billion (2.6 billion euros), while sales swelled four percent compared to the year-ago quarter to $14.7 billion. The firm thus beat the expectations of analysts polled by the AWP financial news agency, who had expected...