We came to learn about the story of success of Anwar Group while talking with Manwar Hossain, Group Managing Director of Anwar Group of Industries. This group's journey was initiated by his ancestors in 1834.
Let us hear from the GMD himself. “We started from an initial stage like others and with perseverance and hard work we have become a successful company .We are proud of being the first silk mill company in the then East Pakistan among the Bengali at Tongi in 1961.Even we are the pioneer of private bank sector in Bangladesh. The result is The City Bank. Now we are producing and marketing about 10 products, such as, Cement (PC & PCC), Ispat( 500 W), Deformed rod, Cement Sheet, etc.'
T.D.S: What is the present situation?
Manwar Hossain: This group is a diversified group. We have concentrated on various products though our main concentration is on textile. But we have also ventured to establish many other industries as polymer industry, jute mills etc. Actually we believe in diversification. Every unit has its own identity and is trying to develop on its own. We produce quality cement and allow no compromise with the quality, because we believe in consumers' satisfaction. Companies producing construction materials have flourished a great deal in our country unlike other countries. Overall quality is very good. Nevertheless we are trying to be different from others in quality. You know that the use of fly ash in cement in many companies in Bangladesh is very apparent. But we import a good amount of clinker from Thailand just to maintain the quality, though Lafarz is producing it in Bangladesh.
And we are a regular buyer of raw materials of cement from Thailand so that we can have quality products. We started our plant in 2003 with collaboration of China. But after working with them for one year we brought the full set- up from Scan and that set- up is still continuing. So we have been able to uphold our brand value.'
T.D.S: How is Market Sustainability of this sector?
Manwar Hossain: Growth rate in Bangladesh is very high and this growth rate is helping to make us sustainable in the market and I think we are in a position to compete with the existing market competitors.
It is true that in comparison with the volume we are not in the first position because there are some big companies which can demand to be ahead from us. But I can ensure of our quality and in this regard we are not lagging behind.
About some problems faced by the industry the GMD said, “We have not sufficient electricity power to generate more products. We have applied for power plant for more production but it is yet to be granted. I think our government should come forward to cooperate more and more for the sake of big returns. We are also facing the problems of road and transportation. The government contractors to whom we are giving products can not draw their bills from the government. The frustrated companies are creating artificial instability in the market by offering unfair price. So the competition has become unfair. Volume of construction in government section is good. But construction in private sector has decreased. So the expected growth in the industry has not been possible. The production capacity of cement industry is not more than 60% in comparison with market size.
More than 40 mills are now inactive. So if any idea sharing can be initiated in this regard these problems might be mitigated. If we have any opportunity to buy these inactive mills instead of expanding our additional branches this industry might have different prospects.
The Per Capita steel consumption in Bangladesh is 18.5 kg./ton per annum which is the lowest in the world. Even it is less than that of Bhutan. And Per Capita consumption of cement 112 kg/ton.
T.D.S: Please tell us about the safety issues of the plant?
Manwar Hossain: It is a key issue in the present time. I stopped smoking in my plant. Suddenly I discovered that someone was smoking in the gas room. So awareness is needed. And media can play a vital role in this regard. These key issues can be included in the educational curricula. We have a lot to do as owners of the industry. Management can impart training among the workers.
T.D.S: Are you doing anything for producing environment friendly rod or cement?
Manwar Hossain: We are recycling steel which is eco-friendly. This is our contribution to the environment. I proudly invite you to my cement plant. You will delightfully find that my plant is dust free. My plant is totally green and situated on the river bank which has created a poetic scenario. So I am personally very conscious in this regard. And I will try my best.
T.D.S: What is the future plan?
Manwar Hossain: We are the first to export rod and Ispat ( 500 W)abroad. I think there is potential in Bangladesh. If businessmen can do business without any barriers, in the near future people from abroad will come to seek work.
T.D.S: Your final comments?
Manwar Hossain: We need government help for having power plant and gas. Our application should be considered and given importance so that we can do our work according to our plan. Development is impossible without the development of the private sector. They should be given extra facility. Concrete roads should be made for easy transportation and longer durability. And concrete roads are maintenance free. Government plan of 12000 Megabytes electricity within 2022 is not enough. Pl