• Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Business

Rice output hits a record high

Rice output hits a record high

Rice production edged up to a new high last fiscal year due to an increase in yield in all three crops seasons for favourable weather and a more balanced use of fertiliser. Production rose to 3.44 crore tonnes in fiscal 2013-14, from 3.38 crore tonnes a year ago, thanks to a record boro output. Boro yield rose 1.6 percent year-on-year to 1.90 crore tonnes in fiscal 2013-14, according to a recent estimate by Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics. Despite...

Govt puts a bar on rawhide transport to border areas

The government will not allow transportation of rawhide to border areas for 30 days from the day of Eid-ul-Azha to check...

Build a roadmap to implement new VAT law

The government will have to prepare a fresh roadmap for implementing the new VAT law to get the sixth instalment of...

Call money rate soars on demand from non-banks

Call money rate soars on demand from non-banks

The inter-bank call money rate jumped to 9 percent yesterday --...

HSBC gets new chief executive

HSBC gets new chief executive

Francois de Maricourt has been appointed chief executive officer of HSBC Bangladesh, effective from today, the bank said in a statement. The appointment remains subject to regulatory approval, it said. Maricourt joined the HSBC Group in 1994 and has since held a number of senior roles across diverse geographies including Europe, Asia, the Middle East...

Toys exporter goes into production today

Toys exporter goes into production today

GSL Export begins commercial production of toys today, to find a niche in the global market mostly dominated by China. The joint-venture, a subsidiary of listed company Golden Son, will produce soft and plush toys for export purposes. The company targets to export toys worth Tk 40 crore in the first one year. “In our...

Large-cap stocks keep market afloat amid cautious trade

Stocks returned to the black yesterday, riding on renewed investor interests in large-cap shares. DSEX, the key index of the Dhaka Stock Exchange, gained 23.96 points or 0.47 percent to close at 5,074.30. The shariah index, DSES, slipped 1.91 points or 0.15 percent to close at 1,195. “Large-cap companies dominated turnover. Meanwhile, investors remained cautious before Eid vacation, which will start the next week, while some opted for profit booking to re-balance the portfolio before going for a week-long vacation,” IDLC...

ABB wins $30m order from Power Grid

ABB, a leading power and automation technology group, has won a $30 million order from Power Grid Company of Bangladesh (PGCB) to take new power connections to 450,000 households. The Swiss engineering company will provide four new turnkey substations and help expand six others to enhance transmission capacity and boost power supply to meet growing demand for electricity. The four new 132/33kV substations of the state-run PGCB, the country's leading transmission utility, will be constructed at Rangamati, Khagrachhari, Beanibazar and Sunamganj....

Chambers seek simple rules, supportive import policy

A platform of three chambers yesterday called for simplification of regulatory issues and supportive import policy for the manufacturing sector.   The Business Initiative Leading Development (BUILD), a public private dialogue platform, made the suggestion at a meeting of its trade and investment working committee at the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MCCI) in Dhaka. Commerce Secretary Hedayetullah Al Mamoon and MCCI President Rokia Afzal Rahman co-chaired the meeting. The meeting discussed important policy reforms and made recommendations to be incorporated...

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EU says Apple's Irish tax deals breach rules

The European Union said Tuesday that Apple's sweetheart tax deals with Ireland breached rules on receiving state aid, in a case which could cost the US tech giant billions if it is found at fault. Brussels released a letter that the EU competition commissioner sent to the Irish government in June formally setting out the reasons for opening an investigation into Dublin's arrangements with Apple. It is the latest in a series of cases pitting the EU, whose 28 nations together...

Inflation eases in advanced nations for third month

Inflation in the world's richest nations eased for the third straight month in August, the OECD said on Tuesday, dragged down by slowing price rises in Europe's moribund economy. Consumer prices rose by 1.8 percent in the year to August in the 34 advanced democracies which make up the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, down from 1.9 percent in July. The fall has been driven by Europe, where concerns about stalling inflation have already prompted the eurozone's central bank to...

India keeps interest rates on hold to guard against inflation

India's central bank kept interest rates on hold Tuesday, saying it was worried inflation in Asia's third-largest economy may not cool as fast as hoped. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) maintained the benchmark repo rate, at which it lends to commercial banks, at a steep 8.0 percent, in line with analysts' expectations. "There are risks from food price shocks as the full effects of the monsoon's passage unfold, and from geo-political developments that could materialise rapidly," RBI governor Raghuram Rajan...

eBay to split PayPal into standalone company

US online auction giant eBay on Tuesday ag-reed to shareholders' requests for a split making its highly profitable PayPal brand into an independent company starting next year. Current eBay shareholders will receive stock in the future PayPal in proportion to their current holdings, the company said in a statement. The split will give shareholders "more targeted investment opportunities" and will increase the value of the company over the long term, the statement said, without giving more details of the spinoff. Rumors of...

Apple to launch iPhone 6 in China from Oct 17

Apple said Tuesday it will begin selling its latest iPhones in China from October 17 after the Chinese regulator pressed the US giant to improve personal data security to gain approval. Apple launched the large-screen iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus in 10 countries and regions on September 19, though not in mainland China, with state media saying problems with licensing were the main obstacle. The absence of China in the first round of sales was notable because Apple launched the...

Thailand to give tourists 'safety' wristbands

Thailand on Tuesday announced plans to give tourists wristbands carrying their personal details, as the kingdom falls under intense scrutiny over visitor safety following the murder of two British holidaymakers. Under the scheme hotels will distribute the wristbands to new arrivals. "If anything happens to them we will then know their names, nationality and hotel," said Arnuparp Gaesornsuwan, director general of the Department of Tourism told AFP. "We have discussed it with hotel operators and they are willing to do it," he...

Published Date: September 30, 2014
BASIC goes aggressive to recover loans

BASIC goes aggressive to recover loans

The new management of BASIC Bank has made an aggressive move to realise classified loans from top 100 defaulters who account for 86 percent of the total bad loans of the troubled bank.   Around 81 percent of the loans taken by these defaulters were given through Gulshan, Shantinagar and Dilkusha branches, which were dubbed as the most corrupt ones during the previous management. The BASIC Bank board led by new chairman Alauddin A Majid has identified the errant borrowers and sought suggestions from the finance ministry on what action can be taken against them. As on July 31, these defaulters owed Tk 3,946 crore to the bank, with its total classified...

Published Date: September 30, 2014
India looks to export fabrics to Bangladesh

India looks to export fabrics to Bangladesh

Dinesh Modi and Suresh Modi, brothers and directors of Mumbai-based fabric maker Banbury, have been looking for a partner in Bangladesh to manufacture shirts and suits to be exported to customers in the West. “If we can find a good partner here, we can collaborate to supply the fabric and they will stitch the...

Published Date: September 30, 2014
Grameen America opens new branch in New York

Grameen America opens new branch in New York

Grameen America has opened a new branch in Harlem in New York City to serve low-income women. Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus inaugurated the Grameen America Inc's (GAI) new branch on Thursday, Yunus Centre said in a statement yesterday. This is the seventh GAI branch in New York City. The other branches are located in Jackson...

Published Date: September 30, 2014
Tax returns deadline extended to Nov 2

The National Board of Revenue yesterday extended the deadline for filing income tax returns for individual taxpayers to November 2 from September 30. The time has been extended in the face of demands from trade and professional bodies that taxpayers might be unable to complete all the formalities before the September 30 deadline due to Hajj and two religious festivals, Eid-ul-Azha and Durga Puja, NBR said in a statement yesterday. Extension of the deadline has been a common feature over the...

Published Date: September 30, 2014
State banks to give more loans to tanners

State-owned commercial banks are set to disburse 17 percent more loans to tanners this year than the last to shore up the leather sector. Sonali, Janata, Agrani and Rupali, which account for 90 percent of the loans extended to the leather sector, plans to disburse Tk 502 crore this year. Sonali may distribute Tk 140 crore, Janata Tk 222 crore, Agrani Tk 90 crore and Rupali Tk 50 crore. Officials of the state banks said they would be strict in giving...

Published Date: September 30, 2014
Govt to assess state banks' performance

The government will assess performance of state-owned banks and financial institutions every three months to make their boards more accountable. "So far their activities have not been accountable. Now they will have to be so," Banking Division Secretary M Aslam Alam told reporters after a meeting at the secretariat in Dhaka yesterday. He also said the finance ministry would sit with the state-run banks and financial institutions every two months to discuss administrative issues. Alam yesterday met with managing directors of Sonali,...

Published Date: September 30, 2014
NBR cranks up heat on brick makers

In a bid to ensure tax coming to the administrator properly, the National Board of Revenue has made submission of tax clearance certificate compulsory for licence renewals and environmental clearance of brick kilns. The NBR yesterday asked all deputy commissioners to issue permit renewals in favour of brick field owners by checking tax clearance certificates. It also informed the Department of Environment (DoE) that brick field operators will have to submit tax clearance certificates for taking environmental clearance. “We have taken the...

Published Date: September 30, 2014
Garment exports of India to rise 10pc

India's cotton and apparel exports are set to climb by around 10 percent this year as higher wages, political instability and concerns about workplace conditions in other producing markets steer international buyers toward Indian exporters, industry officials said. The rise in textile shipments from India - currently around 4.5 percent of world trade - may eat into top exporter China's 36 percent share of the market and will be a boon for Indian textile merchants keen to exploit rising demand...

Published Date: September 30, 2014
Profit takers leave stocks in the red

Stocks broke a nine-day gaining streak to end in the negative territory yesterday as investors sold off scrips to pocket profits ahead of the imminent Eid festival. DSEX, the prime index of the Dhaka Stock Exchange, fell 21.85 points or 0.43 percent, to close at 5,050.35. The shariah index, DSES, slipped 1.68 points or 0.14 percent, to close at 1,197.43. Profit booking tendency, especially in small and mini cap shares, derailed market movement, IDLC Investments said in its regular market analysis. “Investors...

Published Date: September 30, 2014
Telenor's Baksaas to step down at the end of 2015

Telenor Chief Executive Jon Fredrik Baksaas will step down at the end of 2015, after which he will become an advisor to the board for 12 months, the Norwegian tele- coms operator said on Monday. Baksaas turns 60 in November, Reuters quoted the company as saying. Baksaas has been the president and CEO of Telenor Group since June 2002. Prior to becoming the president and CEO, Baksaas served as Telenor's Deputy CEO, chief financial and executive vice president with the overall responsibility...

Published Date: September 30, 2014
ASA to lend Tk 20cr to farmers for power tillers

ASA, one of the largest microfinance institutions in Bangladesh, said it would disburse Tk 20 crore in loans among farmers in the next one year to help them buy power tillers. The MFI began the lending from September under its Agri-business Development Project. Small, medium and marginal farmers and traders of agri-machinery will be provided with the loan at reduced service charges, ASA said in a statement. The project has been formulated to provide income-generating opportunity to small and marginal farmers who...

Published Date: September 30, 2014
Biman explains why it scrapped purchase order for Formia

Biman Bangladesh Airlines yesterday clarified its stance on the cancellation of an order for purchasing hajj kits from a foreign supplier. The Daily Star published a report headlined 'Formia demands compensation from Biman for scrapping order' on September 25, following a press briefing by the Hong Kong-based Formia Airline Supplies Ltd the previous day. Formia was supposed to provide 51,000 hajj kits as per Biman's specifications, according to the clarification. In the first consignment, Formia provided 5,000 hajj kits to Biman on...

Published Date: September 30, 2014
Lenovo says $2.1b IBM x86 server deal to close Wednesday

Lenovo Group Ltd will close its acquisition of International Business Machines Corp's (IBM) x86 server division on Oct 1 for $2.1 billion, giving the Chinese tech firm the firepower to win business clients from U.S. rivals. The closing purchase price is lower than the $2.3 billion announced in January because of a change in the valuation of inventory and deferred revenue liability, Lenovo said. Roughly $1.8 billion will be paid in cash and the remainder in stock. The purchase is Lenovo's...

Published Date: September 30, 2014
China plans to start direct currency trading with euro

China will begin direct trading between its yuan currency and the euro starting on Tuesday, the national foreign exchange market's operator said, as Beijing seeks to broaden the unit's global usage. The China Foreign Exchange Trade System already offers a platform for yuan-euro transactions but direct trading means the US dollar will not be used as an intermediary currency to calculate rates, according to a statement released Monday. The market operator said the move aimed to promote bilateral trade and investment,...

Published Date: September 30, 2014
EU to accuse Apple of taking illicit Irish state aid

The European Union is to accuse US tech giant Apple of taking illegal aid from the Irish state through sweetheart tax deals over two decades, the Financial Times reported Monday. A European Commission investigation into Apple's tax affairs in Ireland, where it has enjoyed a rate of less than 2.0 percent, found that the company benefitted from illegal state aid, the FT reported citing sources close to the matter. Ireland's Department of Finance confirmed that the EU would be publishing a...

Published Date: September 30, 2014
Lufthansa pilots to strike on long-haul flights on Tuesday

Pilots with Germany's Lufthansa will stage a strike on long-haul flights on Tuesday, their latest walkout in the ongoing dispute with management over early retirement provisions, their union said. Vereinigung Cockpit called on its members to strike on long-haul flights departing from Frankfurt between 8:00 am and 11:00 pm on Tuesday. The strike would affect services on Airbus A380, A330 and A340 and Boeing 747 aircraft, the union said. "We feel compelled to take further industrial action as Lufthansa management has failed...

Published Date: September 30, 2014
Cheap smartphones key to 3G expansion

Cheap smartphones key to 3G expansion

Cheaper smartphones and favourable pricing for 3G spectrum are keys to the growth of internet in the country, a top telecom official said. “The more penetration we have, the more spectrum we will need,” Ziad Shatara, chief executive officer of Banglalink, the country's second largest mobile phone operator, told The Daily Star in an...

Published Date: September 30, 2014
Tech sector sizzles as Myanmar embraces internet for the masses

From navigating gridlocked city roads to playing a favourite national sport, new homegrown apps are blossoming in Myanmar as cheap mobile technology ignites an internet revolution in the once-isolated nation. Myanmar web surfers were once paradigms of patience and ingenuity as they dodged and weaved through the former military regime's communications blocks in decrepit backstreet internet cafes. But commuters in Myanmar's biggest cities can now be seen tapping away on smartphones as an online awakening sweeps the country, fuelled by the...

Published Date: September 30, 2014
Protests hit Hong Kong banks, travel and business

Protests hit Hong Kong banks, travel and business

Hong Kong's shares tumbled Monday and the local dollar hit a six-month low against the greenback as pro-democracy protests shut down many schools, businesses and banks in the city. As demonstrators refused to back down on their demands for China to grant the city universal suffrage, fears of a long stand-off saw investors sell...

Published Date: September 30, 2014
Foreign firms still await free-trade zone reform bonanza in China

China on Monday hailed the first anniversary of its first free-trade zone (FTZ), but foreign companies expressed disappointment over the pace of pledged reforms as they await real business opportunities. The FTZ was set up in China's commercial hub Shanghai with the promise of a range of financial reforms, including full convertibility of the yuan currency and freer interest rates -- both of which remain unfulfilled. But just two weeks ago authorities shook up the zone's management, removing Communist Party chief...

Published Date: September 29, 2014
Development projects go at slow pace

Development projects go at slow pace

The pitiable state of many highways ahead of Eid-ul-Azha could have been averted had the road transport and highways division utilised its allocation for July-August. Although there were no fund constraints, the division spent only Tk 52 crore in the first two months of the fiscal year, which is just 1 percent of its...

Published Date: September 29, 2014
Stock regulator to probe United Airways hiccups

Stock regulator to probe United Airways hiccups

The stockmarket regulator yesterday formed a three-member panel to investigate the recent developments at United Airways. The team will look into the private carrier's suspension of operations, reconstruction of its board, resumption of operations and its trade pattern on bourses, said Saifur Rahman, spokesman of Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission. BSEC Director Md Abul Kalam...

Published Date: September 29, 2014
Discount bonanza for festivals

Financial service providers, airlines, electronics retailers, clothing brands and motorcycle manufacturers have come up with generous discounts and gifts in the lead-up to the Eid and Puja festivals. MasterCard, an American multinational financial services corporation, is offering discounts of up to 35 percent on purchases at upwards of 240 outlets and up to 22 percent at a host of restaurants in Dhaka, Chittagong and a couple of other major cities, its Country Manager Syed Mohammad Kamal said. Furthermore, all MasterCard-holders can...

Published Date: September 29, 2014
Sales of savings tools on the rise

The government's borrowing through savings instruments more than trebled year-on-year to Tk 4,328 crore in the first two months of the current fiscal year. The jump was mainly due to growing confidence of investors in the government's savings instruments that offer higher interest rates compared to banks. The net sales of the savings tools were worth Tk 1,316 crore in the July-August period of last fiscal year.  Profits from savings instruments have been more attractive for the last several years, said an...

Published Date: September 29, 2014
A panel to review VAT law on way

The National Board of Revenue is set to form a panel to review the VAT and Supplementary Duty Act 2012 amid demands from businessmen. The panel will comprise a private sector representative and the tax administrator has already asked the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry to send in their recommendation for the post. The remaining 6-7 members will be selected once the private sector representative, who will also act as the co-chair of the committee, has been nominated,...

Published Date: September 29, 2014
GP, Banglalink offer cash-back on call drop

Telecom operators Grameenphone and Banglalink yesterday announced an offer of 60-second reimbursement for call drops in their respective networks. Grameenphone will start giving 60 seconds reimbursement from October 1 as a treat to all its customers on Eid-ul-Azha, the operator said in a statement. The offer is part of the operator's plan to celebrate achieving five crore GP customers, it said. “Grameenphone is approaching the significant milestone of five crore customers. We want everyone to be able to rely on our superior...

Published Date: September 29, 2014
Indian textiles fair starts today

Indian textiles fair starts today

A two-day exhibition begins today in Dhaka to showcase a variety of Indian textile products used in the apparel sector in Bangladesh. The event is being organised by the Synthetic and Rayon Textiles Export Promotion Council of India in association with the High Commission of India in Dhaka, Sanjeev Saran, convener of Export Promotion...

Published Date: September 29, 2014
DHL announces price hike

DHL Express, the world's leading express services provider, has announced a general average price increase globally. In Bangladesh, it will be a 4.9 percent increase, effective from January 1, 2015, DHL Express said in a statement. “DHL Express is committed to delivering great value for customers, and our annual price increase is one of a number of factors that allows us to ensure service excellence and a competitive offering over the long-term,” said Ken Allen, chief executive of DHL Express. “We have...

Published Date: September 29, 2014
Bangladesh should explore untapped energy resources: Mozena

Bangladesh needs to go for aggressive exploration of onshore and offshore energy resources, especially gas, to meet the growing demand of energy and attract foreign investment, US Ambassador Dan Mozena said yesterday. “Nobody knows what Bangladesh has…may be it is sitting over an ocean of gas. Who knows what is in the Bay of Bengal? These resources can be tapped.” He spoke at a programme—DCAB Talk—organised by the Diplomatic Correspondents Association, Bangladesh (DCAB) with its President Mainul Alam in the chair,...

Published Date: September 29, 2014
Kingfisher says court stayed United Bank decision against company

Grounded Indian carrier Kingfisher Airlines Ltd has said a court has halted the execution of a decision by state-run United Bank of India that declared the airline and its directors "wilful defaulters". The Calcutta High Court will hear the case on Nov. 10 and has sought more information from both sides, Kingfisher said in a statement late on Saturday. United Bank officials could not be reached immediately for comment on Sunday. The airline, founded by liquor baron Vijay Mallya, has not flown...

Published Date: September 29, 2014
Akhoni.com brings Qurbani cattle online

Akhoni.com is offering the opportunity to choose and buy cattle online for the upcoming Eid-ul-Azha, the local online retail said in a statement yesterday. The offer is valid from September 27 to October 4 and applicable only in Dhaka metropolitan area, according to the statement. The cattle for sacrifice on Akhoni.com are healthy, fit, pure local breed and eligible for Qurbani, with absolutely free delivery direct to the doorstep, the company said.  “Akhoni.com provides the best discounted price and offers on most...

Published Date: September 29, 2014
Air France pilots end record strike

Air France's main pilots' union Sunday ended the longest strike in the carrier's history to allow "calmer" talks to go ahead over the contentious issue of the airline's low-cost subsidiary Transavia. A spokesman for the SNPL union, Guillaume Schmid, told AFP the pilots were ending the protest -- which has cost Air France more than 200 million euros ($250 million) over the past two weeks -- so that the negotiations over Transavia can proceed. Air France sees Transavia's development as vital...

Published Date: September 28, 2014
Govt to offer incentives to China, Japan investors

Govt to offer incentives to China, Japan investors

Amid growing interests from Japanese and Chinese entrepreneurs to invest in Bangladesh, the government has prepared the draft of an incentive package for attracting foreign investment in special economic zones. A high-level meeting with Finance Minister AMA Muhith in the chair discussed the draft last week and it will be finalised after Prime Minister...

Published Date: September 28, 2014
NBR plans to launch container tracking system to curb thefts

The National Board of Revenue plans to introduce a container tracking system to monitor positions of containerised goods to and from ports and factories. The scheme will help curb pilferage of goods imported duty-free under bonded warehouse privileges and prevent tax dodging. Under the tracking system, businesses will require using electronic seal and lock on import and export containers, an NBR official said. The revenue authority is looking into the scope after a firm -- Alif Corporation -- put forward the proposal...

Published Date: September 28, 2014
German company may buy ships from Ananda

German shipping company Nordic Hamburg has shown interest in buying two oceangoing vessels from Ananda Shipyard & Slipways, the country's first shipbuilder. The company is looking to purchase the ready ships and for that end, a delegation led by Nordic Hamburg's Managing Partner Rowil Ponta visited Ananda's shipyard at Meghnaghat in Narayanganj yesterday. “The formalities in this regard are underway," Ananda said in a statement. The sale, which could bring Ananda Tk 185 crore, will come as a relief to the country's...