• Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Business

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...

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...

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...

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...

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

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...

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...

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...

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.

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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...

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...

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",...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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,...

Published Date: October 20, 2014
Moody's downgrades Russia's credit rating to Baa2

Ratings agency Moody's Friday downgraded Russia's credit rating to Baa2 from Baa1 citing poor growth prospects, the Ukraine crisis and sanctions as well as capital flight. "The first driver for the downgrade ...relates to the longer term damage the already weak Russian economy is likely to incur as a result of the ongoing crisis in Ukraine and, relatedly, the additional sanctions imposed against Russia," the agency said in a statement, adding that it was maintaining Russia's outlook at "negative". "Even prior...

Published Date: October 20, 2014
China growth seen at five-year low in Q3

China's economic growth in the third quarter fell to its slowest since the depths of the global financial crisis more than five years ago, an AFP survey projects. The country's gross domestic product (GDP) is predicted to have risen 7.2 percent year-on-year in the July-September period, an AFP poll of 17 economists showed. The median forecast for the world's second-largest economy, a key driver of global growth, would be the worst since the first quarter of 2009, when growth stagnated at...

Published Date: October 19, 2014
What makes a good leader?

What makes a good leader?

Leaders in every sphere of life must work with integrity to make organisations successful, APJ Abdul Kalam, the 11th president of India, said yesterday. “Leaders must succeed with integrity.” “The quality of leadership will certainly empower the people of the world with the most potent and incisive approach to rural development and empowerment,” the...

Published Date: October 19, 2014
A model for rural development

Physical, electronic, knowledge and economic connectivity must be extended to disadvantaged rural areas to lift millions out of poverty, former Indian president APJ Abdul Kalam said yesterday while recommending a development model for Bangladesh. “For achieving sustainable development system in our rural complexes, we need PURA [Providing Urban Amenities in Rural Areas],” he said, referring to his model for development that was piloted in several Indian states since 2004. Kalam's comments came at a discussion on “Sustainable Development System for a...

Published Date: October 19, 2014
Call for empowering microcredit regulator further

MA Mannan, state minister for planning and finance, yesterday called for giving more power to the Microcredit Regulatory Authority (MRA) and make the sector more pro-people. He also stressed the need for coordination among the related organisations to create a comprehensive management system for the microcredit sector. “The regulators are conscious about making the microcredit sector more pro-people.” The minister hoped it will not take more than five years to take per capita income to $2,400 from $1,200. Mannan spoke at the...

Published Date: October 19, 2014
AB Bank completes Cashlink acquisition

AB Bank has completed the acquisition of Cashlink Bangladesh Limited (CBL), a move that is set to strengthen the bank's position in alternative delivery channels including automated teller machine (ATM) networks. CBL, which has a paid-up capital of Tk 22.68 crore, provides integrated electronic financial payment and transaction processing solutions in Bangladesh. Initiated by AB Bank in 2005, CBL was co-owned by Euronet Worldwide Inc, Networld Bangladesh, Southeast Bank and United Commercial Bank. The bank started off with 30 percent stakes...

Published Date: October 19, 2014
Budget deficit below 5pc

The budget deficit last fiscal year came to 3.7 percent of GDP in the end, 1.30 percentage points lower than the 5 percent ceiling set by the International Monetary Fund. The news brings some relief for the finance division, which was put in a tight spot in May by the ministries and divisions' demand for additional fund. Ultimately, they failed to expend their revised allocations. The highest pressure for extra funds came from the planning ministry for annual development programme, which...

Published Date: October 19, 2014
US inequality near highest levels in 100 years: Fed chief

Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen warned Friday that the gap between the rich and poor in the United States is widening and is near the highest levels seen in 100 years. In a speech at a conference on inequality in Boston, Yellen did not mention monetary policy nor the current turmoil in financial markets. Instead, she focused on the widening wealth disparity and how that impacts economic opportunity. "By some estimates, income and wealth inequality are near their highest levels in the...

Published Date: October 19, 2014
Banned: Property tycoon KP Singh, who built India's first 'smart' city

Banned: Property tycoon KP Singh, who built India's first 'smart' city

It was, by his own account, a chance encounter with a scion of the Gandhi political dynasty that turned former soldier Kushal Pal Singh into the man who built a city from nothing and made billions in the process. Singh was toppled from his spot as India's richest property developer this week, when his...

Weekly Review

Published Date: October 19, 2014
Corporate results keep stocks upbeat

Investors expecting good corporate results bought large-cap stocks to end the market on a higher note last week. DSEX, the benchmark general index of the Dhaka Stock Exchange, edged up 48.12 points or 0.92 percent, to close the week at 5,285.84. DSES, the shariah index of the premier bourse, gained 23.21 points or 1.90 percent, to close at 1,242.46. “Dynamic trading patterns, mostly focused on re-balancing portfolios, kept market movement positive in the first week after a prolonged Eid vacation," IDLC...

Published Date: October 19, 2014
Telenor CEO among world's top 100

Telenor CEO among world's top 100

Jon Fredrik Baksaas, president and chief executive (CEO) of Telenor Group, has been named one of the best-performing CEOs in the world by the Harvard Business Review, it said in a statement. The annual list of 100 CEOs is developed based on an assessment of the long-term results delivered by corporate leaders, specifically looking at the increase in total shareholder return and market capitalisation, it said. Baksaas is one of only two CEOs from the telecoms industry and was named 32nd on the list for a market capitalisation change during his tenure of $36 billion, it said. Telenor achieved these results through the diverse portfolio of established markets in Europe and growth...

Published Date: October 19, 2014
Faced with US embargo, Cuba's black market thrives

From foreign DVDs to perfume, rum and coffee, Cuba's shelves are packed with pirated and counterfeit goods, which are sold as authorities turn a blind eye -- using the longstanding US embargo as justification. The more than 50-year US trade freeze with communist-ruled Havana has bred a healthy appetite for smuggled goods, including TV series, films, music and software -- all available at a low cost. "Here, everything costs one CUC," the Cuban convertible peso equivalent to one dollar, explains 28-year-old...

Published Date: October 19, 2014
VW to recall more than a million cars in China, US

German automaker Volkswagen will recall more than a million cars in China and the United States due to a defect in the rear axles, a company spokesman said. The company's US unit informed the National Highway Trans-port Safety Administra-tion that it would recall more than 400,000 Jetta sedan models and nearly 42,000 Beetle cars manufactured between 2011 and 2013, the spokesman told AFP.  

Published Date: October 19, 2014
Japan industry minister may resign over make-up scandal

Japan's industry minister could resign over claims she spent political donations on make-up, local media reported Saturday, potentially delivering a blow to Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's bid to restart nuclear power. Yuko Obuchi was appointed in September as the country's first female minister of economy, trade and industry -- a powerful portfolio that includes oversight of the energy sector. The 40-year-old mother of two was the most prominent of a new wave of women promoted to leading Cabinet positions, and seen...

Published Date: October 19, 2014
Biggest strike in years cripples German rail service

German rail travellers on Saturday faced delays and disruptions on one of autumn's busiest travel weekends as the train drivers' union began one of its largest strikes in recent years. Only about a third of traffic on major lines was running, the Deutsche Bahn said in a statement, adding that service would be assured on around 30 percent of regional and city lines. Launching its biggest strike since 2008, the GDL union called on its members to walk out from 3:00...

Published Date: October 19, 2014
Thousands to march on London over wages

Tens of thousands of people were set to descend on London on Saturday to march against falling real wages, which organisers claim have slumped by £50 ($80, 63 euros) a week since 2008. Metropolitan Police are expecting protesters from across Britain to congregate at Victoria Embankment at 11:00 am local time before marching through central London to Hyde Park. The event is organised by The Trades Union Congress (TUC), a federation of the country's main trade unions. "Our message is that after...

Published Date: October 19, 2014
Japan unveils first passenger jet in four decades

The first passenger aircraft to be made in Japan in nearly four decades was unveiled Saturday as its manufacturer pushed into the booming regional jet sector with an eye to taking on industry giants Embraer and Bombardier. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, a military contractor best known for its "Zero" World War II fighter, pulled back the curtain on its new Mitsubishi Regional Jet (MRJ), a fuel-efficient, next-generation aircraft that claims to offer more passenger comfort with lower operating costs. The jet, which...