• Sunday, October 26, 2014

Business

Global business leaders call for inclusive growth

Global business leaders call for inclusive growth

Businesses and policymakers alike yesterday called for inclusive growth as the traditional approach taken so far has largely failed to benefit the poor and cut disparity in the last few decades. “I think we need to start talking about growth and, more importantly, inclusive growth and a growth model that will carry with it...

Bangladesh should be ready for 4G: Mittal

Bangladesh should be ready for 4G: Mittal

Bangladesh could launch fourth-generation telecom service soon as the necessary 'ecosystem'...

Mobile banking scales new height

Mobile banking transactions last month broke the Tk 10,000 crore-barrier, a new high for the service in the country.  In September, Tk...

Singapore firm gets power contract without tender

After scrapping a two-year-old private power contract with an Indian company to build a 370-megawatt dual fuel power plant in Sirajganj,...

Website on foreign aid goes live today

The government will formally launch its web portal today which would give everyone access to information pertaining to the inflow and disbursement of foreign aid. Dubbed the Aid Information Management System (AIMS), it is an internationally renowned software application that records and processes information on development activities and related aid flows in a country. It captures project‐level information on commitments, disbursements and expenditures by donor, implementer, sector and geographic location. The Economic Relations Division with support from its Aid Effectiveness Project...

Investors punish Amazon (again) after hefty losses

After posting widening losses, Amazon took a pounding on Wall Street Friday, raising doubts on whether investors will support chief executive Jeff Bezos' strategy of putting investment ahead of profit. The shares tumbled 8.3 percent to close the week at $287.06, having slid some 28 percent from highs earlier this year. Amazon said Thursday its loss in the last quarter widened to $437 million after a series of product launches including new phones, tablets and television programs. The news from online retail...

Joining new Asian bank was a good move

Joining new Asian bank was a good move

Bangladesh's decision to join the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) would go some way towards eliminating the infrastructural bottlenecks, a UN official said. “From Bangladesh's side, it is a good move. Lots of financing are required for infrastructure, which is very difficult to arrange,” said Ravi Ratnayake, director of United Nations Economic and Social...

Regulators must enforce ethical standards in business

Analysts yesterday urged regulators to take exemplary action against people who violate accounting norms in preparing financial reports. Some companies prepare three financial reports instead of one for a specific period due to lack of ethical practices, said Arifur Rahman, chief rating officer of Emerging Credit Rating. One report with low sales figure goes to the National Board of Revenue; banks receive the second -- with high profit figures, and the company owner gets the third with real trade figures, he...

Kuwait urges Gulf reforms as oil prices fall

Kuwait urges Gulf reforms as oil prices fall

Kuwait's finance minister on Saturday called for economic reforms by energy-dependent Gulf states to cope with a drop in oil prices that has hurt their public finances. Anas al-Saleh urged steps to tackle rising public spending, mainly on wages and subsidies, as well as efforts to boost the role of the private sector. "Comprehensive economic...

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25 European banks set to fail health checks

A group of 25 banks have failed European health checks, while up to 10 of those continue to have a capital shortfall, two people familiar with the matter said on Friday, providing a snapshot of the health of the region's lenders. The health checks, led by the European Central Bank, found that banks in countries including Greece, Cyprus, Slovenia and Portugal had fallen short of a minimum capital benchmark at the end of last year and that up to 10...

US automaker Ford starts luxury Lincoln sales in China

US automaker Ford starts luxury Lincoln sales in China

US automaker Ford has launched its first vehicles under the luxury Lincoln brand in China, the company said, as it seeks to make inroads into a market dominated by German cars. Ford announced in April that it would begin Lincoln sales in China in the autumn, adding to its other passenger car and commercial...

P&G to ditch Duracell batteries amid earnings drop

Procter & Gamble Friday announced plans to unload its Duracell battery business as it reported a big drop in earnings following a large asset write-down. P&G, which makes Pantene shampoo, Tide detergent and other household staples, reported quarterly earnings of $20.1 billion, down 34.2 percent from last year on slightly lower sales. The results covered P&G's first quarter in fiscal year 2015. The biggest factor behind the lower earnings was a $932 million one-time charge to write down the value of...

Three major nations absent as China launches WB rival in Asia

Three major nations absent as China launches WB rival in Asia

Australia, Indonesia and South Korea skipped the launch of a China-backed Asian infrastructure bank on Friday as the United States said it had concerns about the new rival to Western-dominated multilateral lenders. China's $50 billion Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is seen as a challenge to the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, both...

Google's Pichai to oversee major products and services

Google Inc Chief Executive Officer Larry Page has put Sundar Pichai, one of his key lieutenants, in charge of the Internet company's products. The India-born executive will have oversight over products such as search, maps, Google+, commerce, advertising and infrastructure, according to a Google spokesman. Six executives who previously reported to Page, including the heads of research, social media and search, will now report to Pichai, according to Re/code, which first reported the change on Friday, citing an internal memo. The...

US airline profits lift on cheaper fuel, strong demand

US airlines Thursday gave a mostly upbeat outlook on industry conditions after posting large profit increases in the third quarter thanks to strong consumer demand and lower fuel prices. Profits at American Airlines were $942 million, the highest in the airline's history and 87 percent above the combined year-ago earnings of American and US Airways prior to their merger. United Continental's profits more than doubled to $924 million. Southwest Airlines, a big player in domestic flights in the US, saw profits...

HP seeking buyers for corporate networking business in China

Hewlett-Packard Co has begun sounding out private-equity firms in China to buy its corporate-networking business in the country, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the situation. HP is expected to sell at least 51 percent of the business, H3C Technologies Co, which could be worth roughly $5 billion in a full sale, the business daily said. HP declined to comment on the report. The buyer likely needs to be based in China if the deal is to win Chinese...

New chief for Essential Drugs

New chief for Essential Drugs

Ehsanul Kabir Joglul, a dermatologist, has recently been appointed as the managing director of Essential Drugs Company, the state-owned firm said yesterday. Prior to the appointment, Joglul was the head of the dermatology department of Bangladesh Medical College Hospital. He also served Bangladesh Medical Association as the treasurer.

Sweden's Volvo reports spike in profits

Sweden's Volvo, the world's second-largest maker of trucks, said Friday it saw a spike in profits in the third quarter, boosted by thriving sales in the US and Japanese markets. Net profit increased eight percent to 1.5 billion Swedish kronor (163 million euro), while sales rose 3.6 percent to 67.2 billion kronor, above expectations by analysts who had forecast 63.8 billion kronor. "The market development in the third quarter followed the overall direction from the second quarter with good momentum in...

Qantas expects to report pre-tax first-quarter profit

Qantas' chief executive Alan Joyce Friday said the Australian carrier expects to post a pre-tax profit in the three months to September following a record net loss, and was on track to complete its major cost-cutting programme. Speaking at the airline's annual meeting in Melbourne Joyce said preliminary figures showed Qantas had made an underlying profit before tax for the first-quarter of the 2015 financial year.

Published Date: October 24, 2014
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...

Published Date: October 24, 2014
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 Pacific (ESCAP) is leading an effort to build a terrestrial information superhighway in the region that will increase the availability of international bandwidth and lower its prices in 32 member countries. The proposed information superhighway will be the world's longest optical fibre connectivity along the 143,000-kilometre Asian highway. The member countries have also agreed to develop a master plan covering both policy and technical aspects of the Asia-Pacific Informa-tion Superhighway, ESCAP, the UN development arm for the Asia-Pacific region, said in a statement. The initiative is aimed at connecting each country's backbone network and integrating them into a cohesive land- and...

Published Date: October 24, 2014
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 exportable yarn amid falling international demand. Bangladesh Jute Spinners Association (BJSA), which represents the spinning sector, took the decision earlier last week. Due to the closure, production at the nearly 75 active jute spinning mills will go down by 70 percent, sector leaders said. Spinners account for about 65 percent of the receipts from jute exports. In 2013-14, yarn exports brought...

Published Date: October 24, 2014
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 fulfilled the majority of the conditions promised in the Sustainability Compact. Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed spoke to reporters, returning from the first review meeting of the Sustainability Compact held in Brussels. The meeting ended on Tuesday. “Our tour was successful as European Commission officials were satisfied with Bangladesh's progress toward ensuring workplace safety and improving labour rights,” Ahmed said. Bangladesh has...

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...

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,...