• Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Business

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, said. “And, it will not require a huge jump in investment.” But to achieve the targeted 7.2 percent growth, the country would have to raise the stagnant investment-GDP ratio to 35 percent from the present 28.7 percent. “An investment boom is required...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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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...

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,...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

Published Date: October 21, 2014
India gives fourth instalment of $200m

India yesterday handed over a cheque of $25 million to Finance Minister AMA Muhith as the fourth instalment of the $200 million grant approved in 2012 by the Congress government. This is the first instalment of the grant after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government assumed power in India this year. Indian High Commissioner Pankaj Saran handed over the cheque at Muhith's official residence in Minto Road. With this tranche, India has completed disbursement of $175 million assistance to Bangladesh. India approved...

Published Date: October 21, 2014
India's Idea Cellular profit up

Idea Cellular, India's No.3 mobile operator, posted a 69 percent rise in quarterly profit after adding subscribers faster than its competitors. Idea Cellular said it earned 7.56 billion rupees in its second quarter.  -- Reuters

Published Date: October 21, 2014
Aviation magazine awards airlines

Aviation magazine awards airlines

Singapore Airlines has been awarded as the best airline of the year, according to an opinion poll of frequent fliers out of Bangladesh. Emirates was rated as the best cargo carrier, Novoair the best domestic airline and Kuala Lumpur as the most popular destination. The opinion poll was carried out by travel trade publication Bangladesh...

Published Date: October 21, 2014
Cityscape opens country's first green commercial building

Cityscape opens country's first green commercial building

Cityscape Tower, the country's first green commercial building made by Cityscape International Ltd, is now open for inspections and purchase. Nahid Sarwar, managing director of Cityscape International; Trina Falgune, head of marketing communications and sales, and Abdur Rashid, chief engineer, shared the information at a press meet in Dhaka yesterday. The tower, flagship project of...

Published Date: October 21, 2014
Three banks want more time to remove same-family directors

National Bank, City Bank and Premier Bank have failed to comply with the central bank's directive to bring down the number of directors from the same family to a maximum of two. The central bank last week asked four private banks to cut the number down of such directors in seven days, the deadline of which expired yesterday. Only First Security Islami Bank complied with the directive within the deadline, according to Bangladesh Bank. The three other banks sought one to three...

Published Date: October 21, 2014
IBM to pay Globalfoundries to take chip unit

IBM Corp said it would hive off its loss-making semiconductor unit to contract-chipmaker Globalfoundries Inc to focus on cloud computing, mobile and big data analytics. IBM will pay Globalfoundries $1.5 billion in cash over the next three years to take the chip operations off its hands, the companies said in a statement on Monday.

Published Date: October 21, 2014
Infrastructure deficit slows cross-border trade

Inadequate infrastructure and absence of harmonised working hours at land customs stations, banking services and motor vehicle agreements among Bangladesh, India and Nepal are deterring trade prospects through the Banglabandha-Phulbari-Kakarvitta route, a recent survey found. The survey was conducted by India-based CUTS International and Bangladeshi non-governmental organisation Unnayan Shamannay, the findings of which were released yesterday at the Shamannay office in Dhaka. Subsequently, trade potential between Bangladesh and Nepal has remained untapped, said Mahfuz Kabir, senior research fellow of Bangladesh Institute...

Published Date: October 21, 2014
France steps up calls for Germany to boost investment

France steps up calls for Germany to boost investment

French and German ministers met in Berlin on Monday, amid calls on Germany to do more to boost growth in Europe, while France faces a battle in Brussels over its budget. The meeting comes at a crucial time for Paris, which is at loggerheads with Brussels over its 2015 budget as it is likely...

Published Date: October 21, 2014
Strong iPhone 6 demand boosts Taiwan export orders

Booming shipments of the iPhone 6 helped Taiwan's export orders jump 12.7 percent in September year-on-year to a record $43.3 billion, the government said Monday. It marked an eighth straight month of growth in export orders for tech-rich Taiwan, the economic ministry said in a statement. Orders for information and mobile devices rose 16.3 percent from a year ago to $12.9 billion, "mainly due to the launch of international brand name mobile devices that led to the significant increase of orders",...

Published Date: October 21, 2014
China eyes $817b sports sector for new economy

China plans to grow its sports sector into a 5-trillion-yuan ($817-billion) industry by 2025 to boost employment and domestic consumption in its "new" economy, the government said on Monday. Under a sweeping reform plan, China aims to boost domestic consumption to replace exports and heavy investment as the traditional drivers of growth in the world's second-largest economy. Private investment will be encouraged, new sports facilities will be built and the government will support the sector by increasingly buying its services, the...

Published Date: October 21, 2014
Investor group aims to buy Reebok unit

An investor group that includes Jynwel Capital and funds affiliated with the Abu Dhabi government is launching a bid to buy Reebok from Adidas AG for about $2.2 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday. Jynwel Capital, a Hong Kong-based private equity investment and advisory firm run by Jho Low, and the Abu Dhabi government-affiliated funds planned to make the offer imminently in a letter to Adidas directors, the Journal reported, citing unnamed sources close to the matter. The investors are...

Published Date: October 21, 2014
Philips blames Russia, China slowdowns for plunge into loss

Dutch electronics giant Philips on Monday posted a 103-million-euro ($131 million) net loss on third-quarter earnings, blaming a patent lawsuit and ever-slowing markets in China and Russia. "We are not satisfied with our overall performance for the third quarter," said chief executive Frans van Houten. "We are facing sustained softness in a number of markets such as China and Russia. We were also confronted with an adverse jury verdict with a surprisingly high proposed award to Massimo," Van Houten said in...

Published Date: October 21, 2014
Coats banks on growing garment exports

Coats banks on growing garment exports

When Coats, an industrial thread and zip making British company, started its operation in Bangladesh in October 1989, the South Asian country's total exports from the garment sector of 320,000 workers were merely $624 million. The then tiny Coats Bangladesh, a unit of the Coats Plc of Britain, realised the country's potential in garment...

Published Date: October 21, 2014
German pilots strike after weekend rail chaos

Lufthansa pilots launched a strike Monday, deepening Germany's travel chaos after train drivers stopped work at the weekend just as school holidays began in much of the country. The top-selling Bild daily complained that "ping-pong strikes are crippling our economy", Europe's biggest, as about 10,000 pilots and 20,000 train drivers had "taken hostage" 80 million Germans. The German Industry Federation charged that the pilots strike, following the "disproportionate" railway stoppage, "harms the entire economy" by impacting logistics, tourism and business travel. The...

Published Date: October 21, 2014
Amnesty slams 'abuse' of migrant workers in S Korea

Migrant farm workers in South Korea face rampant abuse under a "shameful" government work permit system that encourages exploitation, Amnesty International said in a report published Monday. The report, which the South Korean Labour Ministry suggested was exaggerated, came on the heels of a visit by the UN's special rapporteur on racism, who also cited "serious problems" faced by the growing number of foreign workers hired as low-paid, unskilled manual labourers. The Amnesty report, titled "Bitter Harvest" and based on interviews...

Published Date: October 21, 2014
India wants to reimpose curbs on gold imports

The Indian finance ministry has written to the Reserve Bank of India to consider reimposing some restrictions on gold imports after inbound shipments surged in the last few months, widening the trade deficit, the Economic Times reported on Monday. The central bank eased some gold import rules in May by allowing seven more private agencies to ship in the precious metal, driving a sharp jump in overseas buying despite a record import duty of 10 percent. A 450 percent rise in...

Published Date: October 21, 2014
Private fuel retailers to dip toe, not dive back, into India

India's scrapping of diesel price controls opens the door for private sector refiners to return to a domestic retail market from which they have been excluded for years because they could not compete with state firms. But, before they rush to reopen old filling stations that have been gathering dust or used to store grain, they want to make sure that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's commitment to free markets will survive any serious spike in oil prices. Reliance Industries plans to...

Published Date: October 21, 2014
Yahoo set to outline cost-cutting efforts

x Yahoo Inc is expected on Tuesday to outline cost-cutting efforts and give details of how it is evaluating possible acquisitions as it faces pressure from an activist investor, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing a person who was briefed on the plan. Yahoo is considering acquiring one or more large technology startups with some of the $5.8 billion it made from the initial public offering of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, the newspaper said. Representatives at Yahoo did not immediately respond to...

Published Date: October 20, 2014
Microcredit goes from strength to strength

Microcredit goes from strength to strength

The microcredit sector has kept its steady growth rate in spite of the difficulties in recent times, according to a leading research organisation. “It has come a long way since it began its journey some 30 years ago,” MA Baqui Khalily, executive director of the Institute of Microfinance (InM), a local research organisation on...

Published Date: October 20, 2014
NBR rolls out scheme for tax returns e-filing

Taxpayers will be able to file their tax returns online in the next fiscal year, the National Board of Revenue said yesterday. “As a citizen, you will no longer need to visit us to file your tax returns,” NBR Chairman Md Ghulam Hussain said at a press briefing, organised to announce the e-filing scheme. The move, the revenue authority said, will enhance transparency and accountability in tax filing and ensure higher compliance. Currently, less than 1 percent of the population pays income...

Published Date: October 20, 2014
Food processors gather in Paris to win new business

Food processors gather in Paris to win new business

More than 6,000 food processors from around 100 countries gathered at SIAL fair in Paris yesterday to expand market and win new business. Visitors from around 200 countries are joining the show from various sectors of the food processing industry, such as distribution, food services, trade and viticulture. Around 70 percent of the visitors come...

Published Date: October 20, 2014
Olympic bumps up production capacity

Olympic bumps up production capacity

Olympic Industries has expanded its production capacity to introduce new products and grab the market for cream biscuits. It has bumped up capacity by 2,500 tonnes to 7,500 tonnes a month, to launch cream sandwich biscuits and add new varieties to existing products, said Md Nazim Uddin, executive director of Olympic Industries. “We plan to tap the growing premium market of cream biscuits and better our average selling price and margin,” he said. The company recently installed two new production lines in its biscuit segment at its new factory premises in Sonargaon, Narayanganj, which started commercial operations on Wednesday, he said. It translates into a significant 50 percent expansion in the biscuit segment,...

Published Date: October 20, 2014
Workplace safety report to EU due today

Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed and his team are due to highlight the improvements made in workplace safety at the garment sector under the Sustainability Compact at a meeting today with EU officials in Brussels. Bangladesh signed the Sustainability Compact with the European Union in July last year, where it pledged to improve labour rights and health and safety conditions for workers and encourage responsible behaviour by businesses in the garment industry within a specified period. Most of the stipulations of the...

Published Date: October 20, 2014
Stocks suffer biggest drop in 14 months

Stocks fell 2.06 percent yesterday, witnessing the steepest fall in the last 14 months, due to profit motivated sell-offs by investors. DSEX, the benchmark general index of Dhaka Stock Exchange, lost 109 points, to close at 5,176.75. DSES, the shariah index of the premier bourse, shed 24.94 points or 2.06 percent, to close at 1,217.52. As the prime index had added 906.9 points in the last two months, investors pursued a safe strategy to avoid any massive correction, said IDLC Investments. The...

Published Date: October 20, 2014
Novo Nordisk is world's second best science employer: survey

Novo Nordisk ranked second in the 2014 Science Careers Top Employers Survey, which is a big jump up the list from last year's ranking where Novo Nordisk came in at No. 11. “We're really proud of being ranked number two this year on the prestigious list of the world's best science employers,” said Mads Krogsgaard Thomsen, chief science officer and executive vice president at Novo Nordisk. “Our researchers around the world are doing a tremendous job of discussing and developing...

Published Date: October 20, 2014
Goldman Sachs profits leap 50pc as bond market takes off

US investment bank Goldman Sachs has reported a 50 percent jump in third-quarter profit after a sudden jolt in bond market activity helped boost revenues. The bank reported net income rose to $2.14bn (£1.33bn) in the three months to the end of September. That compared with $1.43bn for the same period a year earlier. Revenue from bond-trading leapt 74 percent to $2.17bn, as Goldman benefited from the surprise exit of bond market supremo, Bill Gross, from US giant Pimco. The departure of...

Published Date: October 20, 2014
Morgan Stanley profits soar 87pc as trading rebounds

US investment bank Morgan Stanley has posted an 87 percent jump in profits to $1.65bn (£1bn) in the three months to the end of September. Trading of currencies, commodities and bonds was a big driver of profits, as was wealth management - advising high earners on their finances. On Thursday, rival bank Goldman Sachs reported a 50 percent rise in profits. Banks' bond trading activities have reportedly benefitted from problems at bond giant Pimco. In September, trading superstar Bill Gross made a surprise...

Published Date: October 20, 2014
India ends diesel controls, raises gas prices

India ends diesel controls, raises gas prices

The Indian government on Saturday lifted diesel price controls and raised the cost of natural gas, giving market forces greater sway as it seeks to attract energy investment, boost competition and cut subsidy costs. The decisions marked an acceleration in reform measures by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who won a landslide general election victory...

Published Date: October 20, 2014
HK protests, China slowdown takes sparkle off luxury market

HK protests, China slowdown takes sparkle off luxury market

Protests in Hong Kong, an economic slowdown and anti-corruption drive in China and a coup in Thailand: Asia is no longer a market of constant growth for luxury goods firms. LVMH, world number-one in the sector and owner of brands like Louis Vuitton, Givenchy and Dior, saw its sales drop by three percent in...

Published Date: October 20, 2014
The $40b jet buying spree: IndiGo's big bet

   Almost four years ago a handful of people gathered in Airbus sales chief John Leahy's spacious country house outside Toulouse and argued long into the evening over curry and cigars. Last weekend they met up again at a Parisian hotel for more haggling, with breaks taken at a nearby cafe where the informality of old business friendships mingled with hard-nosed negotiations typical of the aircraft industry. The sum total of money discussed over these meals? About $40 billion at catalogue prices,...