Monthly Archives: March 2009

RAK Pharma goes into commercial production in April

RAK Pharma goes into commercial production in April

Global Chief Executive Officer of RAK Group and Chairman of RAK Pharmaceuticals Dr Khatar Massad along with other officials visits the factory in Gazipur recently. The company is scheduled to begin commercial production next month. Photo: Green Planet Communications global Chief

Global Chief Executive Officer of RAK Group and Chairman of RAK Pharmaceuticals Dr Khatar Massad along with other officials visits the factory in Gazipur recently. The company is scheduled to begin commercial production next month. Photo: Green Planet Communications global Chief

Star Business Desk

RAK Pharmaceuticals is scheduled to go into commercial production from April and the products will be available in the market from June 9.

The disclosure came at the inaugural of the factory at Sripur in Gazipur on Saturday, according to a press release.

Global Chief Executive Officer of RAK Group and Chairman of RAK Pharmaceuticals Dr Khatar Massad opened the plant.

Following the ceremony, the chairman visited the factory spread over 5.5 acres of land, where he was briefed on the activities of the pharmaceutical company.

RAK Pharma has set up two separate and isolated manufacturing plants for cephalosporin and non-cephalosporin products, in order to maintain quality of the products.

Khatar Massad also visited the RAK Power Plant and RAK Ceramics Plant.

The RAK tiles production plant is currently producing 25,000 square meters of tiles per day with 3 units and the sanitary ware production plant is producing 3,000 pieces per day with 2 units.


Polyester chip plant in the pipeline

Polyester chip plant in the pipeline
Star Business report

On the back of increasing demand for synthetics in textile and apparel industry, Malek Spinning Mills Limited plans to set up a polyester chip manufacturing plant with Tk515 crore investment.

Polyester chip, a derivative of petroleum, is used for producing non-cotton clothing (synthetic fibre and fabric), plastic bottles, packaging materials, high-tensile cords for tyres, strings for rackets and shatter-proof glasses.

The plant under the name of NewAsia Synthetics Ltd will enter commercial production within next two years with a production capacity of 300 tonnes of polyester chips per day in the first phase, officials said yesterday.

“In the second phase the production capacity will reach 600 tonnes a day,” A Matin Chowdhury, managing director of Malek Spinning, told a group of journalists while briefing on the new project.

He said in textile sector 60 percent of the world’s production is based on synthetics, whereas in Bangladesh the figure is less than 10 percent due to non-availability of synthetic materials locally.

“World textile fibre consumption trebled over the last five decades. While cotton consumption increased by one and a half times during the period to reach 26.4 million tonnes in 2007, other fibres (85 percent polyester) increased eight times to reach 45.7 million tonnes,” he said, citing data from International Cotton Advisory Committee.

Chowdhury said the market share of cotton fell from an average of 62.4 percent in the 1960s to 39.8 percent in the 2000s.

“A polyester chip manufacturing plant in Bangladesh will definitely help textile and clothing industry as presently the entire requirement is met by imports from India, Korea, China, Middle East and Singapore,” he said.

Presently, local synthetic yarn producers, beverage companies and printing and packaging industries need around 400 tonnes of polyester chips a day.

Chowdhury said two types of imported raw materials — MEG and PTA — will be used for producing polyester chips.

He said of the Tk515 crore investment, some Tk175 crore will be raised from public through both pre-initial public offering (IPO) or private placement and IPO.

A road show for private placement will be held on April 1 at Dhaka Sheraton Hotel.

The company will borrow Tk300 crore from banks and financial institutions.

Malek Spinning Mills, established in 1999, fetched Tk235 crore in turnover in 2008, and its subsidiaries include Salek Textile Limited, Knit Asia Limited and Rahim Textile Mills Ltd, which is a listed company.

Export growth up by 27pc in five months

Export growth up by 27pc in five months

BSS, Dhaka

The country’s export during the past five months from July to November of the current fiscal grew by 26.80 per cent compared to the corresponding period of previous fiscal 2007-08.

It earned a total of US$ 6551.45 million during the period compared to its target of US$ 6372.69 million. The country’s total export target for the fiscal 2008-09 has been earmarked at US$ 16298.43 million.

During the five months, real export earnings stood above the target by 2.81 per cent or by US$ 180 million, the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB) said on Saturday in a press release.

Month wise, export earnings for November, the time up to which trade figures are available, stood at US$ 1297.47 million compared to US$ 1144.47 million of the same month under the previous fiscal.

The statistics showed both month-wise and also during the past five months of the current fiscal, export kept on growing despite the spread of the global economic recession hitting the export markets.

The EPB said during the five months under review, the price index of the exportables grew by 4.84 per cent while export in volume grew by 21.96 per cent. Another estimate showed price index of exports of primary products increased by 24.70 percent during this period.

Price index of the industrial products grew by 3.20 per cent at this time compared to its growth in volume by 25.54 per cent.

Trade figures showed the country’s export targets were achieved during this period for oven garments, terry towels, knitwear, frozen food, textile fabrics, shoes, home textile, chemical products agricultural products, tea and other industrial products.

In some cases their exports even surpassed the targets, the EPB said pointing to export success in ceramics, petroleum products and many others items.

But some other products have failed to achieve targets and even witnessed decline in exports. Products listed in this category include raw jute and jute goods, electronics products, handicrafts, leather and some engineering products.

Destination wise, the United States remained the single largest export destination for the period under review totalling US$ 1721.96 million or 26.28 per cent of the total export. The export items included over wears, knitwear, frozen shrimps, home textiles and some other products.

Germany, Britain Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands, Canada, Australia, Iran, Japan and Singapore, India, China and Pakistan are the country’s some other major export destinations, the EPB said.

EPB said export to Germany was 14.37 percent or US$ 941.46 million in term of money constituting the second largest market of the country’s exports.

Britain constitutes the third largest market which took merchandise worth US$ 650.10 million during the five months under review, trade figures said.

Dhaka readies groundwork for nuclear power deals

Dhaka readies groundwork for nuclear power deals

Nazrul Islam

Dhaka has completed the groundwork for negotiating nuclear power deals with Russia, South Korea, China and France aimed at the construction of two medium-sized 600MW nuclear power plants by 2017, officials said.

Dhaka holds talks with a Russian delegation today to know of Moscow’s ability at and technology for the installation of such power plants.

‘We will also discuss signing an agreement on peaceful use of nuclear energy between Bangladesh and Moscow,’ an official at the science and ICT ministry told New Age.

Bangladesh so far has bilateral agreements on nuclear cooperation with the United States, France and China. Along with Russia, South Korea, China and France have expressed interest in the installation of nuclear power plants in Bangladesh after the Awami League-led government had assumed office.

The government is seriously considering options for nuclear power against the backdrop of severe power crisis and bleak future of power generation with traditional energy sources.

Bangladesh has also a vision to have two more units, each with the production capacity of 1,000MW, of nuclear power plant by 2025.

The officials had initial talks with the representatives of China and South Korea. They are expecting further discussion to look into the options for nuclear power.

The country has for long been nursing a nuclear power plants site at Rooppur, feasibility studies for which have certified the project technically and economically viable.

International Atomic Energy Commission representatives, who visited the site in November 2008, also gave Bangladesh a go-ahead with the project.

But experts are worried about possible sources of financing to set up such plants as they estimated the cost to range between $900 million to $1.2 billion for a medium-sized plant with the generation capacity of 600MW.

The estimated cost of a 1,000MW nuclear power plant ranges between $1.5 billion and $2 billion, according to a paper prepared by the science and ICT ministry.

Asked about the timeframe for the installation of a nuclear power plant, former Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission chairman Shafiqul Islam Bhuiyan said the installation of a unit would taken between 45 and 60 months after commissioning a deal for such a project.

Bangladesh may need two more years to complete its preparation to improve the safety standards at the site and environmental standards, said another expert.

The IAEA, which gave a technical project to Bangladesh, also suggested completion of certain regulatory and safety tasks beside infrastructure development.

In line with its 19-point suggestions, the government prepared a draft improving the existing nuclear law.

‘Once the draft is finalised, it will be sent to Geneva for comments before it gets approval back home,’ an official at the ministry said.

In 1980, Bangladesh’s National Economic Council approved the proposal for the installation of the Rooppur nuclear power. The project was originally taken up in 1961.

In recent negotiations, Dhaka has sought assistance from South Korea to help set up nuclear plants in Bangladesh.

‘Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina wanted to know how efficient and cost-effective South Korean technology could be for the installation of the nuclear power plants,’ Suk-Bum Park, the South Korean ambassador in Dhaka, told New Age. He said the negotiation may resume any time.

A French embassy official said Bangladesh had initial talks with a French company called AREVA.

Four hundred and thirty-nine nuclear power plants, now in operation worldwide, are providing about 16 per cent of the global electricity production.

France produces 79 per cent of its total electricity through 59 units, Belgium 58 per cent, Sweden 44 per cent, Korea 40 per cent, Japan 35 per cent, and the United States 20 per cent having 104 units, according to a report prepared in 2008 by the Bangladesh Atomic Energy Commission.

Two Bangladeshi cos receive good response from FOODEX Japan

Two Bangladeshi cos receive good response from FOODEX Japan

FE Report

Two of the four Bangladeshi companies, that early March took part in the FOODEX Japan 2009, have received encouraging responses from the buyers, officials said Monday.

Bangla Natural Agro Ltd, Miton Sea Foods International, Global Agro Resources Incorporation and Hamdard Laboratories (WAQF) Bangladesh participated in the 34th International Food and Beverage Exhibition held at Makuhari Messe (Nippon Convention Centre) in Chiba city during March 3-6. And officials said the response was more than they expected.

Md. Mustafizur Rahman, proprietor of Miton Sea Foods International, said there was almost no response from buyers last year. But the company received positive responses this time.

He told the FE that four buyers- two Japanese and two Russians- have already shown their interest about the products of the company. One Japanese buyer and one Russian buyer have already confirmed their order.

“Hopefully, the other two will also confirm their order soon. We are now working on their requirements.”

Miton Sea Foods, which went to Japan to showcase shrimp, received order worth $50,000 on the venue. But Mustafizur thinks the amount will go up once the company starts to export.

He said Japanese importers now buy fish-foods from Vietnam. But there is still scope to enter the market.

He said his company showcased seafood items like black tiger shrimp and harina shrimp. The buyers also expressed their interest in other traditional seafood items.

“The buyers don’t know much about Bangladeshi foods’ market. So at first, we have to convince them about our items. Then we will be able to take big step.”

Mustafiz said the prospect for Bangladeshi food products in Japan is huge. “We can do well there if we can provide them with quality items because they put special emphasis on the quality of foods.”

Mohammad Anisur Rahman, CEO and Managing Director of Bangla Natural Agro Ltd, told the FE that his company also received huge responses from Japanese buyers.

His company showcased ‘neem’ leaf, turmeric, guava leaf, chili, ‘tulsi’ at the four-day food exposition, the biggest food and beverage exhibition in the Asia and the Asia Pacific region.

Anisur Rahman said his firm has received order worth over $100,000 which is much more than his expectation.

“The response has been huge this year. Last year I received order worth $40,000. But this year it has been more than double.”

The event is a platform for exhibitors and visiting buyers to meet and interact, offering key opportunities for dynamic discussions and business possibilities to enter Asian and global markets, he said.

MOU signed between Hiroshima University, BAU

MOU signed between Hiroshima University, BAU

BAU Correspondent

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the Hiroshima University, Japan and Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU) at the Vice-Chancellor’s office

Professor Dr. Yukinori Yoshimura, Vice-Dean, Hiroshima University, Japan and Vice-Chancellor of the Bangladesh Agricultural University Professor Dr. M. A. Sattar Mandal signed the Memorandum to the Academic and Educational Exchange Agreement between their respective institutions.

Under the agreement, the two Universities will promote mutual understanding between the two institutions through educational and academic collaboration and exchange of faculty members, students, promotion of joint research. They also agreed to exchange research outcomes, academic publication and other academic information to contribute to the advancement and progress of learning.

Japanese Professor Dr. Teruo Maeda, Professor Dr. Abdul Halim Khan, Dean, Faculty of Agriculture, Professor Mahiuddin Ahmed, Dean-in Charge, Faculty of Veterinary Science, Professor Dr. M. Ali Akbar, Dean, Faculty of Animal Husbandry, Professor Tofazzal Hossain Miah, Dean, Faculty Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology. Professor Dr. Md. Abul Khair Chowdhury, Students Affairs Adviser, Professor Dr. S.M. Bulbul, Professor Dr. Sultan Uddin Bhuiyan, Professor Dr. Sachidananda Das Chowdhury, Md Nazibur Rahman, Registrar and Diwan Rashidul Hassan, Director, Public Relations and other high officials of the administration were present at the meeting.

Later, Dr. Yoshimura formally presented a University crest to the BAU Vice-Chancellor Dr. Mandal and exchanged pleasantries to the faculty members of the University.

Poultry sector sizzles up with large-scale consolidation drive

Poultry sector sizzles up with large-scale consolidation drive

Mushir Ahmed

The dull world of the country’s poultry sector has suddenly sizzled up with top farms embarking on an investment spree never seen in the country’s history, the industry said.

Thai poultry giant CP has triggered the battle with a war chest of $60 million, forcing top player Kazi Farms to throw the gauntlet with its own two-year expansion scheme in feed, meat processing and retailing.

Their nearest rivals Aftab, Nourish and Paragon have also spread wing in newer segments amid the largest consolidation drive that experts fear would snuff the life out of the country’s tens of thousands of smaller farms.

Top players talking to the FE said the investment drive is aimed at hedging their businesses against unforeseen dangers like the deadly bird flu, which in the past two years have wiped out some 20 per cent of their revenues.

CP officials would not comment on its investment plan, but industry sources said the company — the largest in the world — has rented series of sick farms and have in the past few weeks launched its branded fried chickens with its own specialized shops.

The company, which produces 1.2 million day old chicks per week, has also moved aggressively in fish feed and poultry feed and in vaccine, making it a fully integrated poultry farm like its parent company in Thailand.

Its aggression has worried Kazi Farms, which has been dominating the sector for the past half a decade through its day-old chick business located in about a dozen top districts in the country.

Managing director of the company Kazi Zahedul Hasan said the company would roll out a two-year expansion in which it would scale-up broiler and layer production, spread its chick business and go into processing and retailing.

“We cannot match the resources of CP. Our resources are limited. But we are moving into newer segments in the poultry business to consolidate our position and combat bird-flu like dangers,” Hasan said.

Set up in 1996, the Tk 7.00 billion Kazi Farms produces some 2.0 million day-old chick a week, making it the largest player in the most lucrative segment of the sector with a share of over 30 per cent.

Hasan said the company would go into marketing and distribution of processed chickens such as cooked nuggets, sausages and also open its own specialized stores such as Aftab’s to sell the products.

The company, which is ranked low in the poultry feed business, would also open two feed plants to meet growing demand in the business.

Aftab Bahumukhi, the country’s first integrated poultry farm with a turnover of Tk4.00 billion, last month launched the country’s first “floating fish feed,” to capture a large pie in the fast-growing sector.

Aftab, a pioneer in the sector and now ranked third in the pecking order, is also exploring Halal meat market in the Middle East in a bigger way after two minor attempts in 2006-7, its director Habibul Haque said.

“We have to export to sustain our growth. The Halal meat market in the Middle East is huge and mostly controlled by Brazil. If we can cut our prices further, we can easily grab the market,” Haque, an industry veteran, said.

Nourish, the largest feed producer in the country, has focused on feed, launching fish-feed while ramping up poultry feed production.

Another top feed player, Paragon, launched its own Tatka brand processed chicken items last month after it cut its day-old chick business following the bird flu in 2007 and 2008.

While consolidation is seen as a natural progression in the industry, critics said it would drive out tens of thousands of smaller players from the market, already hit hard by the deadly H5N1 Avian Influenza.

“It’s a dangerous sign the way big players are expanding in the market. It will force small farms to fold up fast,” said Moshiur Rahman, chief of Bangladesh Poultry Association and the owner of Paragon.

“They cannot compete with bigger players unless protected by the authorities,” Rahman said, calling for overhaul of government policies to safeguard the interest of smaller farms.

MM Khan, another expert in the sector, said some 70 per cent of the market is now controlled by top six companies, up from around 30 early this decade.

“The latest expansion drive by the big players and their entry into processing, further processing, retailing and in all segments would leave a little room for growth for the bits and pieces players,” he said.

“In the past big players concentrated only in day-old chick, parent and grand parent stock and feed business, while the broiler and egg production were left to the small farms,” he said.

“But now there are trying to gobble up everything.”