Category Archives: Industrial/Manufacturing and Export Processing Zones

Osram makes a comeback

Osram makes a comeback

Md Hasan

German lighting products maker Osram will restore operations in Bangladesh, with plans to produce energy-saving lights locally.

The global-giant light producer, which earlier marketed its products through its parent company, Siemens, now has appointed a local representative, IlluminateBD, to sell its products in Bangladesh.

In addition to selling the latest in lighting innovations by Osram, IlluminateBD also plans to provide consultancy services to the growing energy-saving lights market, like lighting in interior design, saving energy and maintenance.

“We acquired a site in Tejgaon industrial area to manufacture at least 25 Osram items initially with German technology,” said Javed Ahamed Bhuyan, chief executive officer of IlluminateBD.

Presently, only five to seven Osram lamps are sold in the local market, while IlluminateBD plans to introduce 70 in the next few years. With a rapid growth in the number of local energy saving light producers, Osram’s market share was less than 10 percent until 2008.

Two local energy saving bulb assemblers — Bangladesh Lamps Ltd and Energypac Electronics Ltd — hold around 40 percent of the market share.

In Bangladesh, the campaign for energy saving lights began in the mid- 1990s. The campaign later gained a momentum when the government got involved.

Customers are encouraged to use these bulbs as it promises to save electricity by 80 percent. Demand for such bulbs nears 10 million pieces a year.

About 30 percent of electricity is used at household levels, consuming around 1,740 megawatt (MW) of electricity, against a production of 5,800 MW, as claimed by the government.

Energy saving light traders said if energy saving light usage covers all consumers, around 350 MW of power will be saved.

However, Bangladeshi market is still mostly reluctant to go for quality lighting products because of higher prices.

A good quality energy saving bulb costs between Tk 180 and Tk 1,000, depending on capacity, while a sub-standard bulb is selling at Tk 80 to Tk 200.

So, IlluminateBD plans to supply products focusing on the customers’ purchasing capacity.

“We will supply good quality products for the mass, but as affordability is a big factor here, price differentiation is required for rural and urban customers,” Bhuyan said.

As electrification is yet to spread to mass levels, there is a big untapped market for the energy saving lights.

Bhuyan said at first, building awareness is important for the country to make people go for efficient electricity use, as carbon credit issues are also involved.

He said if Bangladesh government initiates, Osram will come forward to obtain carbon credit against the growing use of energy saving lights.

Bangladesh is one of the signatories of the United Nation’s Kyoto Protocol, under which it can get compensation from developed nations by reducing carbon emission.

In 2008, Osram sales amounted to 4.6 billion euros.

Osram is one of the two largest lighting products manufacturers in the world and has 46 factories in 17 countries.


Local co to invest $3.960m in Iswardi EPZ

Local co to invest $3.960m in Iswardi EPZ
Business Desk

A Bangladeshi company will invest US$ 3.960 million in Iswardi Export Processing Zone to set up a chemicals limited, said a press release.

The 100 percent local owned company, German Euro chemicals limited, will produce chemicals for textile industries.

The company will also create employment opportunity for 121 Bangladeshi nationals.

An agreement, to this effect, was signed between the Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority and German Euro Chemicals Ltd in BEPZA complex on Wednesday.

Md Moyjuddin Ahmed, member (investment promotion), of BEPZA and Md Tarif Uddin, managing Director of German Euro chemicals Ltd, signed the agreement on behalf of their respective organisations.

Banks, bourses offer to support $5-$10b energy dev fund

Banks, bourses offer to support $5-$10b energy dev fund
Staff Correspondent

The banking sector and the capital market have offered to chip in to mobilise resources for the proposed Power and Gas Development Fund worth up to $ 10 billion to help the country tide over the nagging energy crisis.

The offer was made at a meeting at the power and energy ministry on Wednesday where local and foreign commercial banks, financial institutions and Dhaka Stock Exchange assured of their support in building the fund having the size of between $5 billion and $10 billion to be used for intensifying gas exploration activities and setting up new power plants.

Representatives of the banks told the meeting that they had enough idle liquidity that could be injected into the fund while DSE assured they could help raise around Tk 20,000 crore from the capital market in next three to four years.

The meeting, attended by the adviser to the prime minister, Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury and state minister for power and energy Enamul Haque, decided to form a committee, headed by Bangladesh Bank deputy governor Ziaul Hasan Siddiqui to come up with recommendations for creating the proposed fund.

The committee will make recommendations on the structure of the fund and how and in what terms the banks and other institutions would participate in the project, officials present at the meeting said.

‘The committee will be formed shortly and it would be given a timeframe for submitting its report. After getting the report, the government will move for establishing the fund,’ a senior official of the ministry told New Age.

Energy and power secretaries, chairman of Securities and Exchange Commission, deputy governor of Bangladesh Bank, president of Dhaka Stock Exchange, managing directors of different public banks like Sonali, Janata and Agrani, representatives of private and foreign commercial banks like HSBC and CitiBank NA, Investment Corporation of Bangladesh and Infrastructure Development Company Limited were present at the meeting.

Tawfiq and Enamul apprised the meeting that the government wanted to form a dedicated fund for the development of power and energy sector to reduce dependence on the international lenders.

They said huge funds would be needed to implement the government’s goal to add around 7,000 MW of new electricity to national grid by 2014 and to explore and extract primary fuels like gas to run the plants.

The policymakers apprised the financiers that they intended to generate a fund of around $5 to $10 billion to strengthen activities in the power and energy sectors.

The bankers said they had enough liquidity which could be invested in the power and gas sectors.

The DSE president Rakibur Rahman said the capital market response to the shares of energy and power companies like Titas Gas and Desco showed that people had confidence in the sector.

‘So, I think around Tk 20000 crore could be raised through the capital market in next three to four years for the power and energy sectors,’ he said.

Enamul told reporters after the meeting that the government intended to form the fund as a long-term platform for development of the power and energy sectors.

Tawfiq said that both public and private sector power and energy projects would be financed from the proposed fund.

First ever joint venture to set up Hydrolic Machinery industry in country

First ever joint venture to set up Hydrolic Machinery industry in country

Business report

Fishers Shipyard, a sister concern of Sea Resources Group recently signed an agreement with Danish company AS-SCAN Hvide Sande.

Fishers Shipyard is a pioneer organisation for fishing in deep sea, has signed the agreement with the Hydrolic Machinery manufacturing organisation AS-SCAN Hvide Sande, first of its kind in Bangladesh to manufacture the world class standard Hydrolic machineries like; Pump, Motor, Vulb, Steering Gear, Net Drum, Anchor Winch, Ram, Crane etc.

Side by side manufacturing, the organisations will marketise the products in reasonable prices in local, regional and international markets in fishing trawlers and commercial river transports.

The industry will be set up at the yard of Fishers Shipyard at Ichanagar area, Karnaphuly in Chittagong.

Managing Director of Sea Reasources Group, Abdur Ruof Chowdhury and Managing Director of AS-SCAN Hvide Sande (Denmark), Karsten Olesen signed the agreement on behalf of their respective organisations at the headquarter of Sea Resources Group.

Sea Resources Group, Joint Managing Director, Amanullah Chowdhury, General Manager of Fishers Shipyard, SMA Hannan and Andersen Consult ApS from Lars Seaguard Anderson were also present on the occasion.

Rahimafrooz to launch solar panel assembly factory next yr

Rahimafrooz to launch solar panel assembly factory next yr

Fazlur Rahman

Rahimafrooz will launch a solar panel assembly factory next year, the first of its kind in Bangladesh, to provide customers better product at competitive prices, officials said Wednesday.

Rahimafrooz Renewable Energy Ltd (RRE), a sister concern of the more than 50-year old Group, has been providing solar solutions for households, agriculture, healthcare, education, rural streets and marketplaces for the last few years, thus transforming the lives of people and lighting up different corners of the country.

Now the company is planning to build its own assembly plant in the country as the market has matured enough to have such facilities.

“In the past, we could not go far such set-up as the market was small. But now the market has matured and the demand for solar panel is increasing day by day,” Sohel Ahmed, general manager of RRE, said.

“Now we need such a facility, which will allow us to assemble green energy products by our own. It will help us to cut import cost. At the same time, the consumers will get quality products at competitive prices,” he told the FE.

He said that the annual production capacity of the assembled plant would be 12 megawatt.

The company is now holding talks with financial institutions about the financing of Tk 400 million project.

Mr. Ahmed said: “We are now talking with financiers such as Infrastructure Development Company Limited (IDCOL) to have financial supports as panel assembling factory will require significant investment. We hope to start production by middle of the next year.”

The plant would be set up in Dhaka or its adjoining areas, he said.

Now the number of solar home systems in the country stands at around 350,000, imported from China and Britain, which will reach 750,000 in the next two years, under the supervision of state-run IDCOL, which promotes renewable energy development.

He said the market would also grow in next couple of years as the market of IDCOL is increasing. Besides, there is a government instruction to install solar panel system in every office to ease pressure on national grid.

“We have even been given go-ahead to install such system in the Prime Minister’s Office,” said Ahmed adding that on an average 15,000 systems are being installed in the country every month under the programme of IDCOL.

He said through solar systems, IDCOL is generating electricity amount to 15 to 16 mw annually.

To date, RRE has lightened up more than 100,000 rural homes in Bangladesh and the company is endeavouing to do much more in the future.

Officials of the Group said that Rahimafrooz is trying to bring all kinds of solar solutions for the country which will include solution for off-grid and grid areas.

On the possibility of bringing all base stations of telecom operators under this green energy solution, another official said:

“For off-grid, remote and semi urban areas, solar solution is feasible. But for grid areas, the solar solution is not feasible as electricity is highly subsidised in Bangladesh.”

“The abundance, inexhaustibility and non polluting nature of solar energy, have made it right alternative for conventional energy sources, which are getting fast exhausted,” he said.

Rahimafrooz is the pioneer and leader in solar solutions in Bangladesh. It is the only private sector company with practical hands on experience of installing solar solutions in the most remote and off-grid areas of Bangladesh, the official said.

The company has already successfully implemented the pilot projects for different leading telecom operators by now. “Now we are offering this solution for all the telecom operators,” said the official.

Deal inked on pre-feasibility of SME park

Deal inked on pre-feasibility of SME park . Dhaka

The Small and Medium Enterprises Foundation has signed an agreement with International Finance Corporation to assess the pre-feasibility of setting up an industrial park comprising a cluster of small and medium industries.

The agreement was signed at the SME Foundation office at Karwan Bazaar on Sunday.

Syed Akhter Mahmud, senior programme manager, IFC-BICF and Mamtajuddin Ahmed, managing director, SME, signed the agreement.

‘Our aim is to bring in plastics, light engineering, electronics and electrical industries under one umbrella since they are so akin to one another. If they are so set up that they happen to be physically close to one another, these industries will enjoy enhanced technical and infrastructural benefits, offering products at reasonably more affordable prices,’ remarked Mamtazuddin Ahmed at the protocol signing ceremony.

Most of the existing light engineering workshops are currently scattered in Dholai Khal area in Old Dhaka, who have of late been demanding establishment of an industrial park to enable all the above mentioned workshops and plants can be clustered together conveniently.

SME and IFC had signed an MoU to this effect in January.

Locally made cell phone set to hit market next year

Locally made cell phone set to hit market next year
Nazrul Islam

The state-run Bangladesh Telephone Shilpa Sangstha is set to become the country’s first company to manufacture and market cellular phones early next year and reduce the country’s dependency on import in the fast growing telecom sector.

The BTSS is also getting prepared for low-cost laptop production depending on import of the necessary technology, a parliamentary panel was told on Wednesday.

‘In line with the government‘s Vision 2021 for Digital Bangladesh, the government will try to reduce technological discrimination by providing tele-equipment to the people at affordable prices,’ said the chairman of the parliamentary standing committee on the post and telecommunications ministry, Hasanul Haq Inu, after a meeting.

The officials said that the government has taken up a number of schemes to produce information technology equipment at competitive prices with the help of imported technology.

The BTSS cell phone is expected to hit the market by February 2010 at the latest. The price range of the hand-sets will be between Tk 1,500 and Tk 10,000, depending on their options and features, said an official of the state-owned Bangladesh Telecom Company Ltd.

The committee’s chairman said that as the government has the necessary infrastructure in hand, it will also produce digital land-phones, which will cost between Tk 500 and Tk 600. These sets will hit the market in November.

At present only imported phones can be found in the market.

‘Once we produce the phone sets locally, we will be able to save a huge amount of foreign currency,’ said Inu, adding that the government is also working on a master plan for production of laptops at the BTSS factory in Tongi.

The factory has also been asked to produce solar panels to help the energy-starved country use clean and renewable energy.

The Bangladesh Cable Shilpa Sangstha, a sister concern of the BTCL located in the southern district of Khulna, was asked to go for production of optical fibre, but it is still manufacturing copper cables.

The committee observed that the demand for copper-based cable has been reduced but the demand for optical fibre was on the rise.

‘The Cable Shilpa Sangstha is capable of meeting 75 per cent of the domestic demand for optical fibre,’ said Inu, adding that it will also continue production of cables being used for domestic electric connections.

The government has already allocated Tk 10 crore for the optical fibre project, he added.

Wednesday’s meeting was attended by the Awami League’s whip and committee member ASM Feroz, Abdul Quddus, Mozammel Hossain Ratan and senior officials of the BTCL and the BTSS.