Monthly Archives: December 2008

Bangladesh to export ships to Europe by 2011

Bangladesh to export ships to Europe by 2011
BSS, Chittagong

Western Marine Shipyard Ltd. (WMSL), a local shipbuilding company, will export 12 ships, weighing 5,200 tonnes each, by 2011 to Germany, Holland and Denmark expecting to fetch about Taka 900 crore. Commerce and Education Adviser Dr Hossain Zillur Rahman inaugurated building of the 12 ice class ocean-going multipurpose vessels at the WMSL yard at Shikalbaha on the south bank of the river Karnaphuli in the district.

The adviser along with guests from home and abroad formally began the manufacturing in the “keel-laying ceremony” that symbolizes hitting hammer on iron-plate of the proposed structure of a ship to start the work.

Chairman of the WMSL M Saiful Islam presided over the inaugural function, also addressed by German Ambassador to Bangladesh Frank Meyke, Denmark Ambassador Bea M Ten Tusscher and Shipping Secretary ATM Mokter Hossain, Managing Director of AB Bank Ltd Kyser A Chowdhury and Managing Director of WMSL Sakhawat Hossain.

Dr Hossain Zillur termed the export of such a big number of ships as a milestone for the country’s shipbuilding sector and said it would definitely help Bangladesh find a secure place in global ship manufacturing market. He said the sector has enormous potentials and it would contribute to making Bangladesh a middle-income country soon.

“The sector has huge potential of contributing to the economy after garment sector and shipbuilding companies should not compromise with the quality in keeping the reputation in global export market,” he said. He said separate rules and regulations are needed for the shipbuilding sector.

The adviser said pledges of giving special attention by two major electoral alliances in their polls manifestos for the promotion of the sector is really encouraging. Dr Hossain Zillur asked the commercial banks to come forward in providing soft-term loans to the entrepreneurs in the sector.


Trading of Maksons Spinning, National Housing begin tomorrow

Trading of Maksons Spinning, National Housing begin tomorrow

FE Report

The trading of Maksons Spinning Mills Limited and National Housing Finance and Investment Limited will begin tomorrow (Thursday) on Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) and Chittagong Stock Exchange (CSE).

The Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE) board in a recent meeting approved the listing of the companies and fixed the date of debut trading.

DSE Trading Code for the National Housing Finance and Investment Limited is “NHFIL” and DSE company code is 20623, while DSE Trading Code for Maksons Spinning Mills Limited is “MAKSONSPIN” and DSE company code is 17448.

The Maksons Spinning floated eight million ordinary shares with the face value Tk 10 each raising Tk 80 million from the stock market.

The company will be the first textile issue in the last six years when Metro Spinning got listed on the stock exchanges in 2002.

Metro Spinning will be the 40th listed issue in the textile sector of DSE.

The raised fund from initial public offering will be used for loan repayment of Maksons Spinning to the Southeast Bank Limited.

The paid-up capital of the company is Tk 340 million as of April 26, 2008.

Subscription for ordinary shares allotment of Maksons Spinning Mills Limited opened on October 12, and closed on October 16 for the resident Bangladeshis and on October 25 for non-resident Bangladeshis.

The National Housing Finance and Investment Limited floated 0.50 million ordinary shares with the face value Tk 100 each raising Tk 50 million from the stock market. The pre-IPO paid up capital is Tk 400 million as of December 31, 2007.

Subscription for ordinary shares allotment of the National Housing and Finance Limited opened on October 5 and closed on October 9 for the resident Bangladeshis and on October 18 for non-resident Bangladeshis.

Apparel exporters eye bigger Japanese market share

Apparel exporters eye bigger Japanese market share
Kazi Azizul Islam

Bangladeshi apparel exporters are seriously considering best possible utilisation of marketing opportunities in Japan as they understand at last that the Asia’s largest economy could be a lucrative new destination.

Industry sources said many Japanese importers were also considering Bangladesh as a very reliable sourcing destination as the recent debacle in garment manufacturing industries in China made them shaky.

‘We are doing specific studies on the characteristics of and opportunities in Japanese market, especially examining how Bangladeshi knitwear manufacturers can occupy a significant market share in Japan,’ Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturers and Exporters’ Association president Fazlul Hoque told New Age.

Fazlul Hoque said besides being serious about the Japanese market, his association was eying the knitwear markets in Turkey and Poland.

‘We need to diversify markets and anchor in other potential destinations,’ said the president of the association representing knitwear exporters, three-fourth of whose shipments are destined for European countries.

Industry insiders said local exporters might have felt the necessity of fresh drives in Japan after a leading Japanese fast fashion retailer, Uniclo, had recently set up a joint-venture in Bangladesh to manufacture and source made-in-Bangladesh garments.

The Japanese market of knitted wears is worth tens of billions of dollars and as the young people there like knitted fashion wears so the market is trendy, an exporter pointed out.

After the USA and some central European countries, Japan is a major destination for apparel exports. But, utilising the geographical advantages, Chinese exporters have grabbed that market.

One leading knitwear exporter felt that after facing the manufacturing debacle recently, especially the sharp rise in Chinese cost of production, the Japanese importers were anxious and searching for alternative sources for the long run.

‘It’s high time for Bangladeshi apparel exporters to work to bag a slice of the Japanese market-pie.’

According to the Japan External Trade Organisation, Bangladesh’s exports to Japan amounted to around $167 million in the first 10 months of the current year, posting a 13 per cent year-on-year growth.

In 2007, Bangladesh’s exports to Japan amounted to $175 million with a year-on-year growth of 9 per cent only.

At present, apparel export accounts for a minor portion of Bangladesh’s export earnings from Japan. Finished leather, shoes and frozen shrimps are the country’s top export items to Japan.

In 2007-08 fiscal ended in June saw Bangladesh garment exports amounting to $10,700 million, with only $28 million coming from Japan.

Japan-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Abdul Hoque foresees increased volume of made-in-Bangladesh garments in Japanese market in the coming days.

Acknowledging the Japanese retailer giant Uniclo’s step to source from Bangladesh, Abdul Hoque said, ‘As a global retailer, Uniclo’s sourcing from Bangladesh may change the scenario of Japan’s import from Bangladesh.’

He, however, pointed out that, as the Japanese market was very much quality conscious and trendy so the Bangladeshi exporters needed to put much efforts and professionalism in their marketing missions to Japan.

‘Bangladeshi apparel exporters should make specific studies on the Japanese market and they need to carry out marketing activities professionally and in collaboration with Japanese importers.’

With Japanese yen getting stronger, it is high time for Bangladeshi apparel exporters to start exploring that market, Abdul Hoque pointed out. ‘Export to Japan is much more lucrative now.’

Agri credit disbursement posts 27.22pc growth in Jul-Nov

Agri credit disbursement posts 27.22pc growth in Jul-Nov

FE Report

Agricultural credit disbursement recorded a robust growth of 27.22 per cent in the first five months of the current fiscal following some measures including relaxation of its rules and regulations by the central bank.

Eight state-owned banks and financial institutions along with the private commercial banks (PCBs) disbursed Tk 33.77 billion as farm credit during July-November period of the fiscal 2008-09 against Tk 26.55 billion of the corresponding period of the previous fiscal, according to the central bank statistics.

During the period, eight state-owned banks and financial institutions disbursed Tk 26.38 billion compared to Tk 18.69 billion of the same period of the previous fiscal.

While the PCBs lent Tk 7.39 billion to farmers as against Tk 7.86 billion of the previous fiscal.

The state-run banks and financial institutions are: Sonali Bank Limited, Janata Bank Limited, Agrani Bank Limited, Rupali Bank Limited, Bangladesh Krishi Bank (BKB), Rajshahi Krishi Unnayan Bank (RAKUB), Bangladesh Rural Development Board (BRDB) and Bangladesh Samobaya Bank Limited (BSBL).

The loans have been given to agro-based eight sub-sectors like crops, irrigation equipment, livestock, agricultural products marketing, fisheries and poverty alleviation.

The banks and financial institutions have achieved 36.02 per cent of their annual target, which has been fixed at nearly Tk 94 billion. The amount is 13 per cent higher than the last fiscal, the BB’s data showed.

“We are hopeful about achieving the agricultural credit disbursement target by the end of this fiscal,” a senior official of the Bangladesh Bank (BB) told the FE Sunday.

He also said the central bank wants to ensure credit facilities for each interested farmers across the country without any harassment.

“The district coordination committee on agricultural credit monitoring and supervision has already been strengthened aiming at facilitating the agriculture sector across the country,” the BB official added.

The official also said the central bank has made it mandatory for all local and foreign commercial banks to disburse agriculture credit from this fiscal to help ensure food security of Bangladesh.

On October 21 last, the central bank of Bangladesh relaxed its credit policy with a view to facilitating the disbursement of agricultural loans to sharecroppers and landless farmers across the country, officials said.

Under the new policies, sharecroppers, who are directly engaged in farming, will be entitled to receive agriculture loan.

The recovery of farm loan, however, came down to Tk 21.70 billion during the period from Tk 22.53 billion of the same period of the previous fiscal.

The position of overdue agricultural credit as percentage of total outstanding improved, decreasing from 40.64 per cent at the end of November 2007 to 35.63 per cent at the end of November 2008, according to the BB Major Economic Indicators: Monthly Update for December 2008.

Bangladesh bags $20m orders for two small vessels

Bangladesh bags $20m orders for two small vessels

Kayes M Sohel

Bangladesh has received orders worth $ 20 million for building two small vessels and a tugboat from Middle East countries at the region’s biggest shipbuilding fair in Dubai.

The fresh orders give testimony to Bangladesh’s emergence as a global hub for small ocean-going ship building.

The country’s ship builders, Ananda Shipyard and Slipways, bagged the new orders at the fair called Seatrade Middle East Maritime 2008, the largest maritime event of its kind in the region.

“We have received orders worth $ 11 million from Iraq to build two crew supply vessels and $ 9 million from Iran for building a tugboat,” said Abdullahel Bari, the chairman and the managing director of Ananda, the country’s largest ocean-going ship building company.

The two vessels weighing 100 tonnes each will be delivered to Iraq by June, 2010 and a tugboat to Iran by March, 2010, he added. With the latest orders, Ananda’s total ‘confirmed’ export orders have now crossed worth $400 million.

Another two local shipbuilding companies -Highspeed Shipbuilding and Engineering Company Ltd, and Karnaphuli Ship Builders-took part in the fair. A total of 313 companies from 33 countries attended the three-day fair that ended December 16 in the United Arab Emirates. The exhibition is held every two years in Dubai.

Though the two companies did not receive any spot orders they are in negotiations with some Middle East countries for contracts, according to the officials.

“The atmosphere was subdued at Dubai fair because of global financial downturn,” said Kazi Amirul Islam, captain of Karnaphuli Ship Builders.

In October this year, Bangladesh made a big impact in the world’s biggest shipbuilding fair in Hamburg, bagging export orders worth US$250 million.

“We are, however, hopeful that the demand for Bangladeshi built ships will gather pace because of its lower cost and geographical strategic position,” said Islam of Karnaphuli Ship Builders that has already built a number of tugboats for Chittagong Port Authority (CPA).

Previously, such boats were imported from Denmark.

He said: “There will be talks with an Iraqi company for building water vessel and a tugboat. A Sharjah-based shipping company is expected to visit our shipyard soon.”

Bangladesh came into limelight in April 2007 when Ananda signed deals worth around $100 million with two German shipping companies to build eight vessels with capacity for carrying 325 containers by June 2010.

The country has become a new destination for construction of small sea vessels, which have an annual market of $400 billion, as traditional shipbuilding nations such as South Korea, Japan and China now focus on large vessels.

Even Vietnam, which is relatively new in shipbuilding, is no longer interested to build ships weighing less than 25,000 tonnes.

Aristopharma to add 3 more export destinations in ’09

Aristopharma to add 3 more export destinations in ’09

FE Report

Leading pharmaceuticals manufacturer Aristopharma has set for itself the target of Tk. 3.0 billion in terms of sales for the year 2009 as the local drug manufacturer aims to strengthen its position among the top 10 players of the country.

At the same time, the company would like to add three more export destinations, namely, Malaysia, Lebanon and Nigeria to its current list of nine countries in the upcoming year as it aimed to strengthen its foreign portfolio.

These were revealed at the company’s annual sales conference held at the Bangladesh-China Friendship Conference Center in the city Saturday.

Chairman and Managing Director of Aristopharma M A Hassan chaired the event while Director (Marketing and Commercial) Md. Mahboob Hassan, Director (Production) Md. Mahmud Hassan and Director (Finance and Administration) Md. Shahid Hassan and Marketing Manager Noor Hossain also spoke on the occasion.

“Our company does not believe that our responsibility ends only with the manufacturing and marketing of quality medicines. It also extends to the total improvement of the healthcare sector of the country,” M A Hassan said.

The annual occasion capped an eventful year for the local drug manufacturer when the company became the first pharmaceutical manufacturer in Bangladesh to conduct bio-equivalence research for its medicine.

At around the same time, the company has introduced its 30 new products to the market while experiencing a growth of more than 20 per cent, which is almost twice as much as the overall growth of this industry in the country, Noor Hossain later told the FE.

Aristopharma at present has a market share of around 5.2 per cent in the local pharmaceuticals market while the company aims to establish itself as one of the top five players by the year 2009.

Starting its journey in 1986; Aristopharma first began to export its products overseas in the year 2000. It is also the first pharmaceutical company in Bangladesh to export its products to Hong Kong as well as the second company to make export to Singapore.

Forex reserve marks 10.5 per cent rise

Forex reserve marks 10.5 per cent rise
Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha . Dhaka

The country’s foreign exchange reserve has gone higher to $5.80 billion as on the close of last week (December 23) from $5.25 billion on the close of last month, indicating a rise by 10.5 per cent over a period of less than a month.

The reserve on June 30 this year was $6.15 billion while it was $5.422 billion on December 23 last year, according to Bangladesh Bank data released on Thursday.

The wage earners’ remittance sent by the non-resident Bangladeshis during November this year amounted to $761.38 million against $617.39 million, marking a rise by 23.32 per cent.

The remittance sent through the banking channel during the five months of the current fiscal (July to November) totalled to $3.75 billion against $2.81 billion, showing a rise by 33.39 per cent. The current account balance during July to September of the fiscal registered a deficit of $280 million, against a deficit of $59 million. The current account marked a surplus balance of $672 million during the fiscal year 2007-08.

Rate of inflation on the basis of 12 months average during November this year was 9.37 points from 9.80 in October and 10.00 in March this year, while it was 8.65 in November and 9.11 in December last year. On point-to-point basis, the inflation was 6.12 points in November, 7.26 in October and 10.06 in June this year, while it was 11.21 in November and 11.59 points in December last year.

The call money rate on December 23 this year was 9.39 per cent against 12.64 per cent during the corresponding period last year, while it was 8.00 per cent in November and 4.78 per cent in June this year.