• Thursday, September 18, 2014

Business

Contract manufacturing brings new hope for pharma companies

Contract manufacturing brings new hope for pharma companies

Pharmaceutical companies are increasingly engaging in toll or contract manufacturing, a development that allows them to utilise unused capacities and reduce the need for fresh investment. Toll manufacturing, ushered in by the government in the National Drug Policy 2005, is an arrangement in which a company with specialised equipment processes raw materials or semi-finished goods for another company. Around 30 drug makers including Renata, Beximco and Popular are currently engaged in toll manufacturing for their local counterparts or even multinational companies, a sum which was less than 10 a couple of years ago. Salim Barami, director of the Directorate General of Drug Administration, said contract manufacturing is gaining popularity as it creates a win-win situation for both parties. Currently, some foreign companies make a certain portion of their drugs for the domestic market through contract manufacturing, which lowers their operating costs. Contract manufacturing is mainly used for specialised or high-tech products, the facilities for which require considerable...

Power, infrastructure key to foreign investment

Businesses yesterday urged the government to urgently address the gas, power and infrastructure issues to attract more local and foreign direct...

Govt to launch website on foreign aid

The government is set to roll out a database in October that gives everyone access to information pertaining to the inflow...

Canadian activists urge their govt to support Rana Plaza victims

More than 50 Canadian organisations yesterday requested their government to put pressure on Canadian retailers, who buy garments from Bangladesh, to...

Tax fair pulls in large crowd on second day

The income tax fair drew a large number of taxpayers yesterday, reflecting rising popularity for such a showcase that gives people one-stop service for taxpayers. Some 92,016 taxpayers visited the weeklong countrywide fair that logged Tk 475.39 crore in tax receipts, the National Board of Revenue said in a statement. "I am surprised and impressed by the service here. It was beyond my expectation," Sabrina Noor, a doctor at a private hospital in Dhaka. This was her first time visiting the income...

Cost of govt projects rises 42pc

The average cost of implementing government projects has gone up 42 percent in the last five years, with the tenure for implementation going up by three years on average. The rate of implementation of projects under the Annual Development Programme in the period was 73 percent, according to the Implementation Monitoring and Evaluation Division (IMED) and the Finance Division. The statistics came from a keynote paper presented at the inauguration of the “Strengthening public investment management system” project, at Bangabandhu International...

Race intensifies in bike market

Japanese auto giant Honda plans to set up a motorcycle manufacturing plant in Bangladesh to meet the growing demand in the local market. Honda has started looking for a site for the plant, which will have an annual capacity between one lakh and two lakh units, according to a report of Nikkei Asian Review, a Japan-based business publication.   The company, which currently assembles bikes using imported parts and accessories at a plant in Gazipur, may invest about 2 billion yen or...

Bangladesh to join Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

Bangladesh is going to join the proposed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank spearheaded by China, officials said yesterday. “We want to become a member of the bank, and as part of it, a memorandum of understanding is likely to be signed with China next month,” Economic Relations Division Secretary Md Mejbahuddin said. He was talking to reporters after a meeting chaired by Finance Minister AMA Muhith at the finance ministry. Twenty-three countries, including the USA, Japan, Kuwait, Qatar, Nepal, India and South Korea,...

Daylong summit to focus on digital marketing

Daylong summit to focus on digital marketing

Bangladesh Brand Forum will hold a digital marketing summit on September 20 to inspire and share the know-how of online marketing, organisers said in a statement yesterday. The daylong summit has been designed with key-note sessions of world renowned digital marketing experts and three insightful panel discussions, at Radisson Hotel in Dhaka. The Digital Marketing...

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ICB AMCL Islamic Mutual Fund to become open-end scheme

ICB AMCL Islamic Mutual Fund will be converted into an open-end scheme from its existing closed-end nature after the fund's tenure ends this year. The trustee committee of the fund took the decision for transformation, according to a web posting on the Dhaka Stock Exchange website yesterday. Prior to conversion, regulatory permission from the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission and also consent of at least three-forth unit holders through an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) will be sought. The date, time and...

Bangkok Air to increase regional flights

Bangkok Airways will launch new services and add frequency to its regional and domestic routes to enhance and strengthen the airline's domestic reach and connections to ASEAN countries like Thailand, which will enter ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in 2015. The new series include three weekly flights on Chiang Mai-Mandalay route, four weekly flights on Chiang Mai-Yangon, two weekly on Chiang Mai-Udon Thani and a daily flight on Chiang Mai-Phuket, the airline said in a statement yesterday. The new flights will begin...

Telenor, GP look to create local contents for growth

Telenor, GP look to create local contents for growth

Telenor Digital and Grameenphone are looking to create appropriate local contents to spur digital growth in the country and also their own, a top official said yesterday. “In Bangladesh, what we are lacking is an understanding of the opportunities that are available,” Rolv-Erik Spilling, chief executive officer of Telenor Digital, a subsidiary of Telenor...

Trade views in advanced, developing economies differ greatly: study

Developing countries and advanced economies differ greatly in their level of "skepticism" towards international trade and foreign investment, a study of people across 44 countries revealed Tuesday. A median of 81 percent of those surveyed believed that international trade and global business ties were good things, according to a study by the US-based Pew Research Center. However, views on trade, jobs and wages varied greatly between nations, with people from advanced economies, in particular France, Italy, Japan and the United States,...

Xi sees factory China and back office India as global engine

Xi sees factory China and back office India as global engine

A combination of the "world's factory" and the "world's back office" will drive global economic growth, Chinese President Xi Jinping said ahead of a rare visit to India on Wednesday, playing down mistrust that has kept the Asian giants apart. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is determined to build closer relations with the world's second-largest...

Sony warns of $2.14b annual loss, blames mobile unit

Sony warns of $2.14b annual loss, blames mobile unit

Sony on Wednesday said it would lose $2.14 billion this fiscal year, more than four times its earlier forecast as the Japanese electronics giant blamed a downturn in its mobile phone business. The company also said it would cut the smartphone unit's global staff by 15 percent -- about 1,000 jobs -- and not...

Cambodia deploys troops as garment workers renew wage campaign

Cambodia deployed armed troops in its capital on Wednesday as garment workers held rallies to revive a campaign for higher wages that had helped to stoke a year-long political crisis. About 500 textile workers rallied in an industrial suburb of Phnom Penh, demanding a sharp hike in the monthly minimum wage to $177 from $100, as dozens of soldiers armed with assault rifles watched. Witnesses said army helicopters flew over the factories earlier. About 100 police were also deployed at economic...

China's central bank injects $81b into major banks to support economy

China's central bank injects $81b into major banks to support economy

China's central bank is injecting a combined 500 billion yuan ($81.35 billion) of liquidity into the country's top banks, according to media reports, a sign that authorities are stepping up efforts to shore up a faltering economy. Global shares and commodity prices rose on the reported move, although local money market rates climbed on...

IPhone comes out of a bygone era, reviewers hail bigger handset

IPhone comes out of a bygone era, reviewers hail bigger handset

Bigger is better and Apple Inc has finally realised that and given iPhone users a product that may be low on novelty but high on improvements, reviewers wrote. Most reviewers say that the iPhone 6 is the best smartphone available or "ever made", while the 5.5-inch iPhone 6 Plus has been described as a...

Forced labour rife in Malaysian electronics factories

Forced labour rife in Malaysian electronics factories

Nearly a third of some 350,000 workers in Malaysia's electronics industry - a crucial link in the international consumer supply chain - suffer from conditions of modern-day slavery such as debt bondage, according to a study funded by the US Department of Labour. The survey by Verite, an international labour rights group, found that...

US considering options if oil export ban challenged

Obama administration officials are concerned about the legality of a ban on oil exports and have begun discussing how to deal with potential challenges from nations that want to buy US crude, two sources said. Officials in the Office of the US Trade Representative and the National Security Council have each held internal talks about potential free-trade challenges from South Korea and NATO allies, two sources familiar with the matter said. The internal discussions, which are still at a preliminary stage,...

India to produce surplus sugar for fifth straight year

India to produce surplus sugar for fifth straight year

India, the world's second biggest sugar producer after Brazil, is likely to churn out a surplus for the fifth straight year despite erratic rainfall in key growing areas, a leading industry body said on Wednesday. The south Asian country is likely to produce 25 million tonnes to 25.5 million tonnes in 2014/15 year starting...

IMF, World Bank warn of renewed Gaza violence

The World Bank and International Monetary Fund warned Tuesday that insufficient funding and political efforts to rebuild Gaza would make economic recovery almost impossible and lead to further violence. The warnings came three weeks after Israel and Hamas signed a ceasefire to end 50 days of conflict, and as the Israeli army said a mortar fired from Gaza hit southern Israel -- the first since the truce. "Without immediate action by the Palestinian Authority, donors and the government of Israel to...

Published Date: September 17, 2014
Trade confidence rises sharply

Trade confidence rises sharply

Bangladesh's trade confidence rose sharply, by 38 points in six months, which is the second highest among 23 countries globally. The jump was due to growing demand for its garments from Western buyers and the recent initiatives aimed at making the country's apparel factories safer, according to a survey. HSBC's latest Trade Confidence Index, which...

Published Date: September 17, 2014
GP, Symphony launch Mozilla's low-cost smartphone

GP, Symphony launch Mozilla's low-cost smartphone

Leading mobile operator Grameenphone and local handset brand Symphony yesterday launched a Tk 4,650 smartphone that runs on Mozilla's Firefox operating system.   This marks the first joint release of Mozilla's low-cost, open web smartphones by a mobile operator in Asia. The phone, called GoFox F15, is developed by Symphony, the leading mobile phone brand. Customers...

Published Date: September 17, 2014
Top taxpayers likely to receive CIP status

Top taxpayers likely to receive CIP status

The government will consider awarding the status of Commercially Important Person (CIP) to top taxpayers, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said yesterday. "We will take the necessary steps to give recognition to the top taxpayers with CIP status, after consulting with the finance minister," he said at the inauguration of a weeklong tax fair at Officer's Club in Dhaka. The National Board of Revenue is organising the show in seven divisional cities and 57 districts to motivate people to pay taxes by extending tax-related assistance to the existing and potential taxpayers. This is the fifth edition of the income tax fair, which gained popularity among both existing and prospective taxpayers since its introduction...

Published Date: September 17, 2014
Foreign agencies finally reach consensus on factory inspection

After a long-running dispute, two foreign inspection agencies have finally decided to avoid repetition in the inspection of 300 common garment factories. The breakthrough came as Europe-sponsored Accord, a platform of 186 retailers and brands, responded to a call by Alliance, another inspection agency representing 26 US-based garment retailers and brands, to avoid the overlap in initial inspection. Both the US and European retailers source garments from the common factories. The Accord had earlier refused to accept inspection reports of the Alliance,...

Published Date: September 17, 2014
Indonesia warms up to microcredit

Indonesia warms up to microcredit

The newly elected Indonesian government was full of praise for Prof Muhammad Yunus's microcredit and social business concepts when the Nobel laureate toured the country earlier this week. The Grameen Bank founder visited Jakarta at the invitation of Synergy, a leading social organisation, to address a youth camp in the country's capital. This was the...

Published Date: September 17, 2014
Chevron pledges $10m for CSR projects

Chevron Bangladesh will spend $10 million in Sylhet in the next five years to support economic development in the region, the company said while it launched one of the largest social investment programmes in the country.   The US-based oil company, which is the single largest producer of natural gas in Bangladesh, will spend the money under the Bangladesh Partnership Initiative (BPI). The BPI commitment represents one of the largest corporate social investments for the country. Over the next five years, the...

Published Date: September 17, 2014
Shows on engineering, electrical products begin Thursday

Two international trade shows on engineering and electrical products will start on Thursday at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in the city. Bangladesh Engineering Industry Owners' Association (BEIOA) and ASK Trade and Exhibitions, an Indian event management company, will co-organise the fifth international industrial, engineering and manufacturing technology trade show -- BIET 2014. The other exposition -- the seventh international technology trade show on products, machinery, and raw materials for electrical industry -- is being organised by Bangladesh Electrical Merchandise Manufacturers Association...

Published Date: September 17, 2014
BB's dollar loan for plastic exporters doubles

The central bank has doubled the amount of foreign currency loan facility for the country's plastic goods manufacturer-exporters. The authorised dealer banks can borrow from the export development fund of the central bank against their foreign currency loan for the member mills of the Bangladesh Plastic Goods Manufacturers and Exporters Association. The amount was $500,000. “It has been decided to enhance the limit to $1 million based on their local deliveries and exports,” said Bangladesh Bank via a notice yesterday. Established in...

Published Date: September 17, 2014
Orange ramps up European telecom turf war with $4.4b bid

French group Orange launched Tueday a bid to extend its reach in a Europe-wide telecom turf war with an offer for Spanish fixed-line operator Jazztel. Orange, formerly known as France Telecom, announced late on Monday the offer worth a total of 3.4 billion euros ($4.4 billion) when stock options held by some Jazztel managers are included. The offer, which will be formally presented to Jazztel shareholders later on Tuesday, offers 13 euros per share, 34 percent above the average closing price...

Published Date: September 17, 2014
Alibaba boosts IPO as demand strengthens

Alibaba boosts IPO as demand strengthens

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd raised the price range on its initial public offering to $66 to $68 on Monday, reflecting strong demand from investors for the year's most anticipated debut and potentially the world's largest-ever IPO. The Chinese e-commerce company, which handles more transactions than Amazon.com Inc and eBay Inc combined, has attracted investors...

Published Date: September 17, 2014
Tensions sink German sentiment for ninth straight month

Tensions sink German sentiment for ninth straight month

Investor sentiment in Germany fell for the ninth month in a row in September amid jitters about the economic fallout from global crises, a survey indicated on Tuesday. The widely watched investor confidence index for Europe's top economy calculated by the ZEW economic institute fell by 1.7 points to 6.9 points in September, it...

Published Date: September 17, 2014
Airbus to restructure defence division, sell off units

European aircraft manufacturer Airbus said Tuesday that it would sell off several subsidiaries at its defence division to focus on its core businesses of space activities, military planes and missiles. "Some business areas are identified as divestment candidates as they do not fit the strategic goals," the company said in a statement, citing budget troubles among key state clients. These include communications businesses such as commercial satellite activities "which will have better chances for growth and market success in different ownership...

Published Date: September 17, 2014
Amazon has Netflix in sights with 'Transparent'

Online retail giant Amazon celebrated Monday the launch of a new original show it hopes will help catch up with streaming pioneer Netflix. "Transparent," which had a red-carpet unveiling in Los Angeles, features a transgender character in the central role of a show which has already generated strong critical buzz. "No one can ever doubt that the TV model has changed for good. Amazon, with its ability to draw in name talent, is impressively building on what Netflix and (rival...

Published Date: September 17, 2014
Ruble plunges, authorities tell Russians not to panic

Russian authorities told people not to panic on Tuesday as the battered ruble plunged to record lows, floored by tensions with the West over Ukraine, new sanctions and falling oil prices. The national currency fell to a record level of 38.82 rubles per dollar after weakening on Monday to below 38 against the dollar for the first time. And it broke through the symbolic level of 50 rubles per euro for the first time for several months. The ruble has slumped as...

Published Date: September 17, 2014
Tokyo Game Show: On the hunt for the next Minecraft

The staggering $2.5 billion that Microsoft has just shelled out for Minecraft and its quirky graphics will be foremost in developers' minds at the Tokyo Game Show this week, where simple yet immersive games are expected to figure heavily. After seeing the tech titan bid to cash in on the 100 million people who spend hours constructing their own Minecraft worlds and share them online, industry figures will be looking for the next big thing at the four-day event. Asia's largest...

Published Date: September 16, 2014
NBR felicitates top taxpayers

NBR felicitates top taxpayers

The National Board of Revenue yesterday honoured 402 top and long-term taxpayers amid calls for a harassment-free atmosphere and accountability of taxmen to boost the tax receipts. “We want to pay tax but we need the right environment for that,” Kazi Akram Uddin Ahmed, president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and...

  

Published Date: September 16, 2014
Fish farming loses tax privileges

The National Board of Revenue yesterday withdrew tax privileges for fish farming to rein in tax-dodging by a section of dishonest taxpayers who allegedly shift income from other sources to fisheries to evade tax. The existing tax rate of 3 percent on income from fish cultivation will no longer be effective, the NBR said in a notice. Income from the sector will be subject to normal tax rates, it said. "It means the tax rate for companies involved in fish farming...

Published Date: September 16, 2014
State banks must come under central bank governance: WB

The World Bank yesterday recommended the government delegate the control of state-backed banks to the central bank for better supervision. Supervision of the banking sector is shared between the central bank and the banking and financial institution division under the finance ministry. Bangladesh Bank regulates private banks while the banking division looks after the eight state-run banks, some of which have been plagued by several financial scams in recent times. "That is probably not a good way to regulate the banking sector,"...

Published Date: September 16, 2014
BTI opens mega home décor store

BTI opens mega home décor store

Building Technology and Ideas or BTI, a leading real estate company, has opened a mega home furnishings store in Dhaka. The company's mammoth outlet on 65,000 square-feet was launched at BTI's Premier Plaza on Progoti Sarani on Friday, in a bid to join the retail revolution. The outlet is displaying a selection of furniture, décor...

Published Date: September 16, 2014
WB reviewing poverty line

The World Bank is reviewing whether its current poverty line, which is largely based on African data at 2005 international prices, will require an upward revision amid availability of new data and changes in exchange rates. The multilateral lender now uses a poverty line of $1.25 a day on purchasing power parity and that is being reviewed now, said Zahid Hussain, lead economist of the WB's Dhaka office. New data to gauge the poverty line is available, while the purchasing power...

Published Date: September 16, 2014
Symphony to launch Mozilla smartphone

Local handset brand Symphony along with mobile operator Grameenphone will launch a smartphone run by the Firefox operating system for the Bangladesh market today. “The new set will be very cheap,” Aminur Rashid, chairman of Symphony Mobile, told The Daily Star. But he denied talking about the price of the set. Grameenphone will declare new packages today for the set, which may have a price tag of more than Tk 4,000, according to market insiders. The Firefox operating system is a product...

Published Date: September 16, 2014
Fair to popularise CSE's online trading platform

The Chittagong Stock Exchange is set to organise a two-day fair next month to promote its internet trading platform, which is yet to gain popularity almost ten years after its launch. Mock transactions through the bourse's internet trading system will be showed to the investors, who can also participate in the trading, said Syed Sajid Husain, managing director of CSE. Husain's comments came at a media briefing organised at the bourse's Dhaka office yesterday as part of its plan to hold...

Published Date: September 16, 2014
Bangladesh can send skilled workers to Japan

Bangladesh has a good chance to send skilled workers to Japan, a visiting delegation of the Asian economic giant said yesterday. “Japanese industries need around 10 lakh skilled workers and Bangladesh can take the advantage,” Prof Tetsuo Mizukami at the social science department of Rikkyo University in Japan, said at a press conference on global migration and transnational networks at Dhaka Reporters Unity. But Mizukami, who led a five-member delegation of Rikkyo University and Asian People's Friendship Society (APFS) of Tokyo,...

Published Date: September 16, 2014
Banglalink reaches 3cr users

Banglalink, the second largest mobile operator of Bangladesh and a subsidiary of the Netherlands-based Vimpelcom Ltd, has reached a milestone by acquiring three crore subscribers, a statement of the operator said. The total number of mobile phone users in the country is 11.68 crore as of July, according to Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission. Grameenphone leads the market with 4.94 crore subscribers, while Robi is in the third position with 2.42 crore users. Ziad Shatara, chief executive officer of Banglalink, said: “Banglalink is...

Published Date: September 16, 2014
Stocks slip on profit-booking

Stocks returned to the red as investors sold off shares and mutual fund units to pocket profits yesterday. DSEX, the prime index of Dhaka Stock Exchange, shed 3.66 points or 0.07 percent to end at 4,709.91 points. The shariah index of the Dhaka bourse, DSES, fell 1.90 points or 0.17 percent, to close at 1,110.72. The market saw mild corrections as investors went for some quick-profit booking, said LankaBangla Securities. “The market slowed a bit after last few days' buying spree amid profit...

Published Date: September 16, 2014
H&M signs deal with ILO to improve supply chain

Swedish retailer H&M yesterday signed an agreement with International Labour Organisation to improve its supply chain management, according to a statement. The cooperation between H&M and the ILO dates back to 2001, when H&M joined the ILO Better Factories programme in Cambodia, the retailer said in the statement. The new strategic partnership will promote a wide range of activities with the aim to further strengthen the sustainability work in H&M's supply chain. The activities will be both at the global, national...

Published Date: September 16, 2014
StanChart head of group country risk in town

StanChart head of group country risk in town

Alex Barrett, head of group country risk at Standard Chartered Bank, is now in Dhaka on a two-day visit, the bank said in a statement yesterday. Barrett is scheduled to meet senior officials of Bangladesh Bank, stakeholders, staff and clients during his stay, according to the statement. Barrett is responsible for assessing, assigning and managing the country risk exposures of Standard Chartered Group, which is present in 74 countries and operates in over a 100 countries. He had previously been responsible for group research, running a team of over 120 equity, fixed income, commodity, foreign exchange, and macro-economic strategists for five years. He has over 25 years of experience in different financial...

Published Date: September 16, 2014
Air France strike sparks travel chaos

Air France strike sparks travel chaos

French flag carrier Air France scrapped half of its flights Monday as pilots began a strike against the company's plan to develop its low-cost subsidiary. The company said 60 percent of its flights would be cancelled Tuesday with fears that the week-long protest -- the longest at the company since 1998 -- could spell...