Category Archives: Ceramics/Tableware/Household/Furniture

Akij Gr set to overtake RAK Ceramics to become country’s biggest tiles maker

Akij Gr set to overtake RAK Ceramics to become country’s biggest tiles maker
Its Trisal plant to produce 7.0m sqm annually

Badrul Ahsan

Local conglomerate Akij Group is set to become the country’s largest tiles manufacturer, dethroning the UAE-based RAK Ceramics Ltd, which has dominated the market since 2000, a high official said.

The group has set up the new tiles manufacturing plant on 38 acres of land in Trisal under Mymensing district with a production capacity of 7.0 million square metres (SQM) yearly.

RAK, a joint venture of Bangladesh and the United Arab Emirates, now controls as much as 60 per cent share of the country’s booming ceramic tiles and sanitaryware market, producing 6.0 million SQM of tiles every year.

Akij has invested Tk 2.0 billion in the tiles-making project, funded by a group of banks led by Islami Bank Bangladesh Ltd.

Presently, a total of 13 companies of the country are producing around 18 million SQM yearly against the demand of 49 million SQM. Rest of the demand is met through import.

Bangladesh imports tiles mainly from China, France, Italy and some other countries depending on its quality and design.

“Following the increasing demand of tiles, both floor and wall type, in the local market, we have set up the plant,” a general manager of Akij Group told the FE preferring anonymity as he is not authorised to talk to the media.

President of Bangladesh Ceramic Wares Manufacturers Association (BCWMA), Iftekhar Uddin Farhad has hailed the initiative of the Akij Group.

“Such kind of initiative will leave a positive impact on the market, helping to meet the annual requirement while also reducing reliance on imports,” Mr Farhad said.

He urged big investors of the country to come to invest in the sector and said, “The sector still need huge investment to meet the growing demand and thus save a good amount of foreign currency.”

According to a recent study of BCWMA, the demand for such items has been increasing around 25 per cent for the last couple of years.

Akij Group is one of the biggest business conglomerates in Bangladesh. Founded by late Sheikh Akijuddin, the group started in humble way through jute trading business in 1940

With the passage of time, the group undertook new ventures and presently there are 15 industrial units under its umbrella like cigarettes, handmade cigarettes, printing and packaging, textiles, hand board, pharmaceuticals, leather processing and real-estate business.

It employs more than 32,000 people in various categories.

The group has plans for setting up a number of new projects soon in different sectors of the country. Some of them might happen in joint ventures. Akij Group is also involved in socio-cultural activities.


Shinepukur wins D&B award

Shinepukur wins D&B award
Author / Source : STAFF REPORTER

DHAKA, NOV 4: Shinepukur Ceramics Ltd (SCL), the country’s leading ceramic tableware manufacturer and largest ceramic tableware exporter, has won “Dun & Bradstreet Corporate Award 2010” in ceramic category. Shinepukur Ceramics is the first and only listed ceramic-tableware manufacturer of the country to win such recognition from Dun & Bradstreet Rating Agency Bangladesh Limited.

Nazmul Hassan MP, managing director of Shinepukur Ceramics Ltd, received the award from industries minister  Dilip Borua at an award giving ceremony at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre on Thursday. Commerce minister Faruk Khan was also present as special guest.

Nazmul Hassan said, “SCL considers D&B Corporate Award as an extraordinary recognition and milestone achievement for the company.” Shinepukur,  a Beximco company, exports to more than 35 countries.

Minister signals steps to boost furniture exports

Minister signals steps to boost furniture exports

Customers take a look at furniture at the National Furniture Fair 2011 that started at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in Dhaka yesterday. The event ends on October 11.Photo: STAR

Star Business Report

The government plans to cut duties on imports of raw materials for furniture to increase exports, said the commerce minister yesterday.

“Furniture has an international market of $50 billion, and Bangladesh has good potential in the sector as we have enough manpower,” Faruk Khan said.

The minister spoke at the inauguration of the “10th National Furniture Fair 2011” at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in Dhaka.

“Bangladesh exported furniture worth $21 million last year and we can achieve our target of exporting $25 million this year.”

“We can also showcase our heritage to the next generation and the international market as most of the designs of furniture came form our heritage,” Khan added.

He stressed the need for arranging “certificate-oriented training” to make experts for the national and international market.

Eighty two local and international companies are participating in the six-day fair.

Most of the companies are offering discounts on products in the event that will remain open from 9am to 9pm. The fair ends on October 11.

KM Akhtaruzzaman, president of Bangladesh Furniture Industry Owners Association, said export rules must be developed for the furniture sector.

The sector will create jobs for 50 lakh people, he said, adding that an international furniture fair will be organised in Bangladesh in January to make the world market familiar with local products.

Jashim Uddin, first vice president of the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry; Jalal Ahmed, vice-chairman of the Export Promotion Bureau (EPB), and Mohammad Ullah, convener of the fair committee, also attended the programme.

EPB and Katalyst teamed up to produce furniture of “global standards” and widen the export basket. The EPB has taken a work plan to develop the sector.

Furniture market taking shape

Where to Live
Furniture market taking shape

The glory of wooden furniture will not fade so soon although furniture items are increasingly replaced by plastic, glass and artificial timber products.Photo: Amran Hossain Sayeda Akter

Three years back, Shafayet Ahmed ordered wooden furniture worth Tk 1.5 lakh to decorate his new office with sitting arrangement for nearly 25 people.

Desks, chairs and cabinets with drawers were the main items on the list then. In addition, the vendor had given him a few pieces of wooden handicrafts, including paperweights, pen and card holders and ashtrays for free.

“This year I needed furniture for another 15-20 people, as part of an expansion plan. I went to the same furnisher, thinking that like the last time, I would get delivery of the goods on time, not to question the high quality of the furniture,” said Ahmed.

This time the shop owner refused politely. He said supplying the same furniture at similar costs would not be possible now, as the prices of seasoned timber, that is, price per cubic foot (cft) and the carpentry costs have doubled by this time, added Ahmed.

Many of his acquaintances advised Ahmed to go for alternatives, such as plastic or a mix of glass and other artificial materials. But Ahmed’s preferred choice was wooden furniture.

“I think the elegant quality and durability of wooden furniture still make it the top choice whenever people go for buying home or office furniture. One can’t afford to spend a lot of money to replace furniture every now and then,” said the chief of an IT firm.

“You have a few options in hand — wood or wrought iron. But considering aesthetic aspects, when you are mentally ready to spend a little more, you can’t go beyond wooden stuff.”

Ahmed is just one of thousands, if not more, who still believe that the glory of wooden furniture would not fade so soon although furniture materials were increasingly replaced by plastic, glass and artificial timber products in the past decade.

However, it is an interesting situation that the demand for wooden home furniture is declining, but the total volume of sales of wooden products is growing because of its demand in the corporate sector, said industry insiders.

“There’s still no alternative to wood, when it comes to making doors and door frames, and furnishing an office. One of the main reasons behind this is that people prefer wood to wrought iron, because of comfort and longevity and of course, the elegant looks,” said KM Akhteruzzaman, president of Bangladesh Furniture Industries Owners Association.

“These days, big corporations and business houses are building huge offices, where glass, aluminium and steel materials have replaced wooden door frames and window frames. But the ever growing corporate sector’s orders for wooden office furniture have increased the sales volume,” he explained.

Another trend has been noticed with the increasing use of branded furniture mainly since the 1990s, when local brands began to achieve a certain level of trust among the entrepreneurs who go for renovation and expansion of their businesses, he said.

At present, the size of the local furniture sector stands at around Tk 7,000 crore, said insiders.

To cater to these varied needs and trends, furniture makers keep products of various qualities and raw materials. Also, different groups of clients experience variations of local and imported goods and make their choices freely.

Generally, timber is used in manufacturing outdoor furniture, boat decks and other articles where weather resistance is necessary. It is also used for indoor flooring and as a veneer for indoor furnishings.

Of various timber types — low and high cost — teak has natural oils that make it suitable for use in exposed locations, where it is durable even when not treated with oil or varnish. Teak-cut from matured trees grown slowly in natural forests is more durable and harder, while teak from young trees grown in plantations is more prone to splitting and water damage.

However, the demand for imported teak is still high among the careful buyers, said insiders.

“The reason for this is the fast depletion of our local teak everyday. The supply of timber from teak, especially of chapalish, garjon, gamari and many other varieties from Rangamati, Chittagong, Bandarban and Sylhet forests, has almost stopped for years,” said Mohammad Bazlul Karim, secretary of the Mirpur unit of Bangladesh Furniture Owners Association (BFOA).

Now, the price of a cft of Burma teak, the most preferred teak, ranges from Tk 3,000 to Tk 7,000, while Chittagong teak, popularly known as shegun from Chittagong Hill Tracts, costs Tk 2,000-Tk 4,000 in the local market.

Oak and mahogany are also preferred for making cabinets and drawers. The prices of each cft of oak range from Tk 2,000 to Tk 3,000 and those of mahogany between Tk 1,500 and Tk 2,500, said the insiders.

“As our local sources are not capable of meeting the demand, we have to import timber. Supply shortage is another reason for the soaring prices of timber such as teak, the most favoured one,” Karim said.

The shortage has been caused by the restrictions imposed on felling young tree resources in Bangladesh for the country’s declining forest resources. This shortfall has been traditionally met by imports from Myanmar and Malaysia.

The recent restriction on raw timber export by the Malaysian government has also hit the imports hard, while the cost of the Myanmar teak is too high for the Bangladeshi buyers.

These factors have forced local importers to look to the African and Latin American countries to ensure an improved supply, which they hope will help contain the present price rise.

Apart from traditional sources, such as Myanmar and Malaysia, the importers and wooden furniture makers are now sourcing timber from Nigeria, Ivory Coast and Ecuador.

“I have started importing from Ivory Coast due to the high prices of the Myanmar teak. I am planning to import from Nigeria as well,” said Karim of BFOA.

“We are looking for the best possible sources. Any country we find helpful for our import would do,” he said.

Nevertheless, the local business is growing. Bangladesh earned $19.26 million from exports of wooden furniture in fiscal 2009-10, shows Export Promotion Bureau data.

The sector’s contribution to GDP (gross domestic product) is 0.29 percent on average, while the industry is comprised of around 41,560 enterprises and employs nearly two lakh skilled and semi-skilled people.

At present, the top local furniture makers are — Otobi, Akhtar, Hatil, Brothers, Partex, Navana and Furnitec. Mirpur Furniture Market is the largest in the country.

Bangladesh-Japan to invest $1m in Comilla EPZ

Bangladesh-Japan to invest $1m in Comilla EPZ

DHAKA, Bangladesh, May 2 (BSS) – J B Networks Co. Limited, a Bangladesh- Japan joint-venture company, will invest 1 million US dollar in Comilla Export Processing (EPZ).

The company will set up a Tableware Manufacturing Industry in the Comilla EPZ.

The company will also create employment opportunity for 126 people.

An agreement to this effect was signed between the Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority and J B Networks Co. Limited in BEPZA Complex, Dhaka recently.

Md Moyjuddin Ahmed, Member (Investment Promotion) of BEPZA, and Kazi Iqbal Mustafiz, Managing Director of M/s. J B Networks Co. Limited, signed the agreement on behalf of their respective organizations.

Ceramics importers turn manufacturers

Ceramics importers turn manufacturers
Huge global market seen


Ceramic products importers have turned their attention to produce the items locally, thanks to a government policy that helps prevent the import of low quality ceramic products having health hazard ingredients.

The policy decision has also encouraged local ceramicware manufacturers and exporters to seek few more policies and fiscal support to give the sector an extra push to capture part of a potential global market apart from meeting the local demand.

“Export of  ceramic products can be increased to US$ 100 million in the next six years from US$ 35 million now,” Bangladesh Ceramic ‘Ware Manufacturers’ Association (BCWMA) president Rashed Maudud Khan told The Independent.
He said the European Union was a very big market while four or five factories could rely on the Canadian market, having demand for quality products at a low price.

The export of ceramic products registered an average growth of 20 per cent during the last one decade. The six-year projection has been made on the basis of the average 20 per cent growth for the last decade.

The exports stood at US$ 35 million in 2009-10, rising from only one million dollars in 1991, while domestic sales would stand at around Tk 1,000 crore annually and save foreign exchange equivalent to around Tk 400 crore per annum.

The association president said five or six new ceramic factories were being set up in the country in addition to the existing 40 with an investment of around Tk 3,000 crore and employing around 500,000 workers, including 40 percent women.

Two of the new factories would commence production by this year.

The importers, who used to import low-cost Chinese goods, were now coming up to set up manufacturing units. He said the association had been successful in convincing the government to prevent import of low-cost ceramic items mainly from China.

The quality of the ceramic products mostly depends on the quality of gas supply, which also helps keep wastage at a minimum level.

The BCWMA president said the government had told them that the overall gas supply would be improved from next year. Assured of the gas supply, he said the industry would require some fiscal incentive to achieve the target of export growth for the next six years.

“We need some duty rebate on the import of raw materials and a single digit interest rate on bank loans to reduce the product cost to some extent,” he said, adding that competitors like China and Thailand have their own raw materials. “The duty rebate would help attract new investors and create employment opportunities.”

The association would submit a proposal in this regard for inclusion in the forthcoming budget for the fiscal 2010-11. They would soon meet the Finance Minister to seek fiscal support. The raw materials account for 35-40 per cent of the total production cost of the ceramic products.

Khan said they would also urge the government to simplify the pre-shipment inspection (PSI) procedure. The existing complex procedure delays the process and involves additional expenditure to increase product cost, added the association president.

The ceramic industry pays an amount of Tk 300 crore annually to the national exchequer as revenue and Tk 100 crore to the utility services, including gas.

Furniture Park on the cards

Furniture Park on the cards

Visitors take a tour of a furniture fair that began at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in Dhaka yesterday. Over 70 furniture makers are taking part in the six-day show, which will remain open from 9am to 9pm. Photo: Amran Hossain

Star Business Report

The government will consider setting up a furniture park to develop the promising furniture sector, Commerce Minister Faruk Khan said yesterday at the inauguration of a fair in Dhaka.

“We will consider the demands of furniture makers to set up a furniture village. I think the park can be located outside the capital,” the minister said.

He also pledged to take necessary steps in the upcoming industrial policy to address the issues of the sector.

Over 70 furniture makers are participating in the six-day Eighth National Furniture Fair 2010 at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre.

Shahab Ullah, vice chairman of Export Promotion Bureau, said the size of the global furniture market was $ 162.35 billion in 2007, and $ 180.97 billion in 2008, but domestic furniture exports were insignificant.

He said the sector has an important role to play in terms of diversifying the export basket, as the global furniture market is large. The size of the local furniture sector currently stands at around Tk 1,000 crore.

Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) President Annisul Huq urged the government to set up an industrial zone for the furniture sector.

The FBCCI chief said though businessmen are often blamed for forming syndicates, they actually play a big role in smooth running of the economy.

“If businessmen lift their hands, the government is closed,” he said, hinting that a government cannot run without the support of businessmen.

“Through the fair, furniture makers will be able to compare their product standards, as all the major sector players will come under the same roof,” said KM Akhtaruzzaman, president of Bangladesh Furniture Industry Owners Association. The trade body is organising the fair.

He said the shortage of manpower is a major problem for the sector. He urged the government to arrange training centres to develop the skills of workers.

The fair will be open from 9am to 9pm.