Monthly Archives: July 2009

‘Ambitious’ power generation plan within days

‘Ambitious’ power generation plan within days

FE Report

The government is embarking on an ‘ambitious’ plan to more than double power generation to 10,000 megawatt by 2013 under a new energy policy to be unveiled within a few days, energy advisor Taufiq-e-Elahi said Thursday.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina would formally unveil the plan worth billions of dollars through a press conference in two to three days, paving the way for the end of power crunch in the next five years, Taufiq said.

“Under the new initiative, 7,800 mw of power will be produced by government and the rest through the private sector,” he told a luncheon of the France-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the city.

The present government in its election manifesto set a target of producing 5000 mw by 2011 and 7000 mw by 2013 to end crippling load-shedding and boosting supply to factories and millions of new consumers in the next five years.

Taufiq said the government, however, would revise the previous target and are now ready to meet the ever-increasing demand for power and energy in the country over the next few years,

The advisor also said that an additional Tk 100 billion would be channeled to the energy sector from various sources apart from Tk 20 billion allotted in the public private partnership (PPP) fund.

“In addition, the government is planning to build two 500mw coal power plants as coal can be an effective option to mitigate the current energy crisis,” the energy advisor said.

“If required, we would import coal from overseas to meet the demand”.

The advisor also ruled out any fund shortage to finance the ambitious power generation plan.

“Financing won’t be a problem for us as we would use both our domestic resources as well as overseas funds for building these infrastructures,” he added.

Taufiq-e-Elahi also stressed exploring renewable energy options, and said the government would promote manufacturing solar panels and other necessary energy related equipment locally.

“Under our solar energy initiative, the government is aiming to bring all community schools and clinincs under solar power facilities,” Taufiq said.

He said the newly introduced “Day light Saving (DST)” was a success as an estimated 100 mw of electricity is saved during the peak hour as a result.

Taufiq also said that the government would finalize its coal policy by the end of this year and it has as plan to chalk out a startegy for generating nuclear energy.

The energy advisor stressed building effective power distribution network around the country to ensure t adequate supply of electricity to all segments of the society.

Earlier, speakers attending the event laid the emphasis on more private sector participation in the the country’s energy sector to boost power generation.

President of France-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCIFB) Rifat Rashid also spoke on the occasion.


$1.22m Dutch investment in Comilla EPZ

$1.22m Dutch investment in Comilla EPZ
Unb, Dhaka

The Netherlands company, Golden Moon Bangladesh Ltd, will set up a shoe-upper manufacturing industry in the Comilla Export Processing Zone (CEPZ).

This fully foreign-owned company will invest US$ 1.22 million to set up its plant, said a press release.

To this effect, an agreement between the Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (Bepza) and the Netherlands Company was signed in the Bepza complex yesterday.

Bepza Member Prasanta Bhushan Barua and Operation Manager of Golden Moon Bangladesh Ltd Campaci Giorgio singed the deal on behalf of their respective organisations.

The company will produce upper for women footwear, creating employment for 300 Bangladeshi people, including five foreigners.

Policy to protect country’s intellectual properties soon

Policy to protect country’s intellectual properties soon
Draft law on ‘geographical indications’ ready

FE Report

Industries Minister Dilip Barua Wednesday said the government is planning to introduce an intellectual property policy to protect the country’s intellectual properties and encourage people to build a knowledge-based society.

“We are proceeding towards introducing an intellectual property policy to protect our innovations and other merit-based works as well as to encourage others in such works,” he said.

The Industries Minister was addressing a press conference at his office on the meeting on ‘High Level Forum on the Strategic Use of Intellectual Property for Prosperity and Development’, held in Geneva on July 23-24. Some 78 representatives from 33 countries attended the meeting and announced a joint declaration.

Barua chaired the sessions in the two-day meeting as the chairman of the 49 least developed countries (LDCs) in the Forum.

He said currently there is no law in the country to protect various local intellectual properties.

Barua also said the government has drafted a new law relating to ‘geographical indications’, under which, the country’s unique things like Hilsha, Neem, Jute and cultural assets etc will be patented.

It will also take steps to protect the common assets in the region, he said, adding that some natural and cultural assets belong to many counties, and the goverment wants to resolve such issues with the help of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO). The minister said he has requested the WIPO for promoting public private partnership (PPP) to ensure development-friendly intellectual property utilisation in the LDCs.

“We have already submitted to the ministry a draft law regarding ‘geographical indications’ that will be sent to the law ministry for vetting,” said Enamul Hoque, director general of Patent, Design and Trademark Directorate.

Square Pharma to build new unit

Square Pharma to build new unit
Star Business Report

Square Pharmaceuticals, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in Bangladesh, plans to set up its third new production unit, to meet local and export demand for medicine.

The new unit will be built in two phases in the next seven years to manufacture three types of products — solid doses form, large volume parenteral (LVP) and special products, such as anticancer drugs.

The cost of the project has been estimated at Tk 514 crore — Tk 360 crore for the first phase which targets the completion by December 2012, and Tk 154 crore for the second phase to be completed by June 2016 — according to the company’s disclosure, posted on the Dhaka Stock Exchange website yesterday.

Square Pharma, which is listed on both the Dhaka and Chittagong stock exchanges, expects to produce 5 billion tablets, 1.5 billion capsules, 60 million injections and 11 million pieces LVP in the first phase.

In the second phase, the company targets production of 4.5 billion pieces tablets, 1.2 billion capsules, 10 million injections and 9 million LVP.

The board of directors of Square Pharma has also decided to purchase capital machinery and building for an insulin project from Square Biotechs Ltd at a cost of Tk 81.23 crore, on a cost price basis.

The board has also approved Tk 50 crore for BMRE (balancing, modernisation, renovation and expansion) purpose and the purchase of land to extend existing projects and future expansion.

The company’s FY2007-08 annual report shows that its exports increased by 10 percent to Tk 21.24 crore against Tk 19.29 crore a year ago. The report also forecasted rising exports in coming years.

Presently, the company exports to more than 30 countries.

Square Pharma recorded net profits of Tk 189 crore with earnings per share of Tk 156.56 as of March 31 this year, compared to Tk 138.18 crore net profits and Tk 114.47 (restated) earnings per share in the same period last year.

The company declared 40 percent cash dividend and 25 percent stock dividend for the year ended March 31, 2009.

Software developed for crop specific fertiliser advice

Software developed for crop specific fertiliser advice

Agriculture secretary CQK Mustaq Ahmed formally inaugurating the Digital Fertiliser Recommendation System. SRDI director Md Hamidul Haque is seen, among others.

Agriculture secretary CQK Mustaq Ahmed formally inaugurating the Digital Fertiliser Recommendation System. SRDI director Md Hamidul Haque is seen, among others.

FE Report

Soil Resource Development Institute (SRDI) Monday introduced newly developed software known as Digital Fertiliser Recommendation System.

In cooperation with reputed market development project ‘Katalyst’ it (SRDI) has developed the software, capable to generate crop specific fertiliser recommendation distinctively for unions across the country.

The system was formally introduced ‘on an experimental basis’ at the Department of Agricultural Extension (DAE) auditorium in the capital.

Chaired by SRDI director Md Hamidul Haque, secretary of agriculture ministry CQK Mustaq Ahmed formally inaugurated the system as chief guest.

Farmers from anywhere in the country would get access to this latest software through two leading mobile phone operators Grameenphone and Banglalink, SRDI director Md Hamidul Haque said while explaining the system.

“To obtain the service, farmers need only to provide five basic information, such as, name of crop, type of land, names of district, upazila and union,” he added.

Appreciating the idea of the system, the agriculture secretary said this system will benefit farmers by mitigating unnecessary use of fertiliser and reducing production cost.

“A large amount of fertiliser goes waste for excessive use. This is bad for the farmer as well as harmful to the environment,” Mr Ahmed added.

Speakers on the occasion cited a research finding conducted by SRDI that identified utilisation of fertiliser according to this new system can enhance production of rice crops by 20 to 25 per cent. This will also enable farmers to earn 10 to 15 per cent more from other crops.

To provide effective information, the Digital Fertiliser Recommendation System has developed a comprehensive database combining data from 459 upazila across the country. Initially, this programme will cover some 30 upazila as part of a pilot programme, SRDI official said.

After closely monitoring the effects in these 30 upazila, SRDI and Katalyst will finalise a policy to bring the entire country under this system, SRDI official added.

$110m local Naptha refinery to produce high octane

$110m local Naptha refinery to produce high octane

Jasim Uddin Haroon

A local company Sunday said it is setting up a refinery by investing US$ 110 million in Chittagong, which will use locally available raw material Naptha to produce high octane.

After implementation of the project by 2011, it will meet the country’s total demand for high octane and save foreign currency worth more than Tk 350 billion per annum. The country’s annual demand for the high octane is approximately 100,000 tonnes.

“We have already finished land development works recently at Patenga in Chittagong and we expect to go into operation sometime in 2011,” Azam J Chowdhury, a leading entrepreneur and chairman of East Coast Group told the FE Sunday.

The fuel refinery company, which got the government’s approval three years back, has been named Mobil Jamuna Fuels Ltd (MJFL).

Apart from East Coast Group, Jamuna Oil Company will hold a 25 per cent stake of the MJFL while IFC, a subsidiary of the World

Bank and the DG of Germany and the FMO of the Netherlands will also hold equities of the project.

The fuel plant will use Naptha, a by product of the state-owned Eastern Refinery Limited (ERL) and produce high octane or octane 95.

The ERL, the country’s lone oil refinery generally exports its by-product of around 100,000 tonnes of Naptha a year, as there is no scope for refining it within the country.

“We approached the government with the offer to pay more than the price reporting agency Platts quotes per barrel

and the government agreed to our proposal,” Azam, who is also managing director of the fuel refinery plant-MJFL- told the FE.

Mr Azam, holding a large stake of MJFL, said he is implementing the project with the technical assistance of the UOP LLC, a US based company, and it will be able to produce up to 150,000 tonnes a year initially with an option for future expansion.

“It has huge export market, I will export the surplus,” Azam added.

Asif Malik, chief operating officer of the MJFL told the FE: “We will also produce liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) from the plant by using the same raw material.”

The plant however will require 1.0 megawatt power plant.

Mr Azam said it will also set up a 5.0 megawatt power plant by using left over of the plant adding: “It will meet our power need and the extra power will be added to the national grid.”

The country’s annual demand for the fuel is around 3.8 million tonnes including 1.2 million tonnes of crude oil.

Ananda to set up $300m shipyard in Chittagong to build big ships

Ananda to set up $300m shipyard in Chittagong to build big ships

FHM Humayan Kabir

Leading shipbuilder Ananda Shipyard and Slipways said Saturday it would set up the country’s largest shipyard to make jumbo-sized ocean-going vessels weighing over 100,000 dead-weight-tonnes.

The country’s ship-making pioneer would invest over US$300 million over the next three years in a new facility in Chittagong to grab a major slice of the $400 billion global shipbuilding market, its chairman Abdullahel Bari told the FE.

“We have already acquired some land in Chittagong to set up the state-of-the-art shipyard. We want to start construction of the shipyard by end of this year,” Bari, a Britain-train naval architect, said.

“We want to be a major ship-builder in the region so that we can compete with companies in South Korea, China, India and Vietnam for big and medium-sized vessels,” he added.

Top South Korean conglomerates, namely Daewoo, Samsung and Hyundai dominate the global super ships market — some of them costing more than one billion dollars a piece.

Chinese, Indian and Vietnamese companies have also invested heavily in new and upgraded facilities to break into the top manufacturers’ club.

Ananda, which in 2007 put the country firmly in the global shipbuilding map, can build small ships weighing around 5,000-15,000 dwt at its existing Meghna-ghat shipyard, at a cutthroat price determined by their buyers.

Bari said the proposed new facility — scheduled to be opened by 2012 — would make his company capable of building 20 big container ships or tankers a year that would cost more than $100 million dollars apiece.

“At present, we compete in the small ship category. The prices of these ships fluctuate between five and 15 million dollars. You can’t make much money by manufacturing smaller ships,” he said.

“In case of big ships, the profit margin is far higher and you need the same amount of people required for building smaller vessels,” he added.

Since 2007, Ananda has successfully bagged orders to make 28 ships at a total order price of over $350 million from European, African and Asian countries.

Bari said the proposed facility on the bank of the river Karnaphuli would enable the company to win orders worth a billion dollars, making shipbuilding a major export industry of the country.

“Many top ship owners in Europe have expressed their readiness to place orders for medium to large ships to us, as we offer cheaper prices than our competitors, thanks to abundance of cheap and skilled welders in the country,” he said.

Ananda’s latest move comes as top shipyards in the region embarked on a major expansion drive to win orders for bigger vessels.

State-owned Cochin Shipyard (CSL) of India last year expanded its slipways in Kerala to build ships weighing over 100,000 dwt, aiming to become the largest vessel maker in the Sub-continent.