• Sunday, March 01, 2015

Business

Dairy farmers hit by turmoil

It was simply out of hobby that Abdul Gafur, from Jhikargacha upazila of Jessore, started rearing cows in 1991. But soon, his herd of four started expanding, which is when he decided to take up farming seriously. Today, his herd size is 46 -- and 22 of them are milking cows that produce more than 100 litres of milk a day. Instead of feeling grateful for such volumes of milk production, he is now losing sleep over it. Due to shutdowns and non-stop blockade since January 6, processors, fearing attacks on the milk transportation vehicles, have cut back on their purchases from dairy farmers from the country's southwest districts, leaving them to the devices of the informal market to clear their produce. “Our sufferings begun on January 5,” said the 43-year-old, adding that he has to depend on the local sweetmeat shops and villagers to get rid of his produce, and they pay whatever price they like. While Brac is continuing to procure milk regularly albeit at a lower volume, Pran's collections have become largely irregular. In January, Gafur sold 2,183 kilograms of milk to processing firms via milk collectors, down 45 percent from the previous month. And in February, he managed...

Businesses to go to court today over losses for unrest

The beleaguered business community is set to go to court today to seek a solution to the ongoing political violence that...

BASIC Bank fails to meet vital performance targets

BASIC Bank has failed to implement seven of the ten conditions imposed by the central bank for performance improvement. But a high...

Rich-poor gap narrows: Muhith

Inequality between the rich and the poor has been falling in Bangladesh since 2010, Finance Minister AMA Muhith said yesterday. One of...

HR managers should adapt to changing environment: analysts

Human resource managers will have to cope with changing scenarios to attract talented people, groom them and meet the company's expectations to drive growth, analysts said yesterday. Several changes are taking place in the workplace around the world, said Peter Wilson, secretary general of the World Federation of People Management Associations (WFPMA), a US-based global network of professionals in people management. “More and more women are joining the workforce. So, a male dominant workforce will have to make way for them....

Coca-Cola bottler in Mexico eyes oil business

Mexico's FEMSA, the biggest Coca-Cola bottler in the world, wants to seize on the country's opening of the energy sector by purchasing fuel service station franchises. The soft drink firm announced Thursday that it plans to buy 227 franchises from state energy giant Pemex, which is losing its decades-old monopoly under an oil reform allowing private and foreign investment. FEMSA has been present at those stations through its Oxxo convenience stores, but it was not allowed to sell fuel until the...

No big bang, but Indian budget goes for growth, investment

No big bang, but Indian budget goes for growth, investment

Indian Finance Minister Arun Jaitley yesterday unveiled a budget that aims to ramp up growth, aided by a slowed pace of fiscal deficit cuts and a raft of tax measures to put private domestic and foreign capital to work. In his first full-year budget since Prime Minister Narendra Modi's landslide election victory last May,...

Phone firms look beyond the handset at top mobile fair

Phone firms look beyond the handset at top mobile fair

Phone makers will seek to seduce new buyers with even smarter Internet-connected watches and other wireless gadgets as they wrestle for dominance at the world's biggest mobile fair starting Monday. Along with the launches of numerous new smartphones -- dominated by South Korean giant Samsung -- tech firms are trying to conquer users' bodies...

NY regulator puts 3 European banks in FX probe

The New York state financial regulator has subpoenaed three major European banks and a US peer in a probe of foreign-exchange rigging, sources close to the situation told the news agency on Friday. The sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the regulator, Benjamin Lawsky, had sought information about currency practices from French banks BNP Paribas and Societe Generale. One of the sources said Credit Suisse and Wall Street bank Goldman Sachs were also targeted. The subpoenas, served in December...

Loader

More

Hong Kong's ageing master tailors need a stitch in time

Hong Kong's ageing master tailors need a stitch in time

Bill Clinton did it. So did Boris Johnson, the mayor of London. For many tourists, even if they are not former US presidents, a trip to Hong Kong isn't over till they pick up a made-to-measure outfit from one of its family-run tailor shops. As consumers worldwide seek out custom-made clothing to set them...

Airbus profits take off in 2014

Airbus Group said Friday its net profit soared 59 percent in 2014 thanks to record deliveries of passenger jets and that it expects revenue and operating profits to climb further this year. The company, best known for its passenger jets, chalked up a net profit of 2.34 billion euros ($2.6 billion), which would have been even better had it not been for a provision of 551 million euros for delays to its A400M military transport plane. That writedown was mostly compensated...

Under Russia, isolated Crimea is twilight zone for business

Under Russia, isolated Crimea is twilight zone for business

Circling her thumb and index finger to make a zero, Tatyana Chernetskaya sums up how many clients her Crimean firm has one year after Russia took over the peninsula: "None." While many supporters of annexation of the Black Sea province from Ukraine expected to be better off under Moscow's rule, business in Crimea is...

Sri Lanka inflation hits 11-year low

Sri Lanka's inflation hit an 11-year low in February on the back of drastic price reductions ordered by the new government, official figures showed Friday. The Colombo Consumer Price Index, the main measure of inflation in the island, increased by 0.6 percent in February, down from 3.2 percent in January and 4.2 percent a year ago. The previous low of 0.5 percent was recorded in January 2004. The new government of President Maithripala Sirisena, who came to power in January, reduced prices...

Ericsson sues Apple over patent violations

Swedish telecoms group Ericsson announced Friday a lawsuit against Apple claiming that the US tech giant continued to use its technology in iPhones and other wireless devices after refusing to renew a licencing agreement. "Apple currently uses our technology without a license and therefore we are seeking help from the court and the ITC (International Trade Commission)," Ericsson's head of intellectual property, Kasim Alfalahi, said in a statement. "Features that consumers now take for granted -- like being able to livestream...

New top brass for Dhaka Taxes Bar Association

New top brass for Dhaka Taxes Bar Association

Md Mazam Ali Khan has recently been elected as president of the Dhaka Taxes Bar Association for 2015-16 term, the association said in a statement. The association also elected Md Jafar Ullah as its general secretary, according to the statement.

Published Date: February 27, 2015
Banks' profits drop on bad loans

Banks' profits drop on bad loans

The banking sector's net profit dropped around 17 percent year-on-year in 2014 to Tk 5,993 crore on the back of mounting bad loans which necessitated large provisioning. The banks last year made operational profit of Tk 21,265 crore, from which Tk 9,037 crore was deducted as tax and Tk 6,238 crore as provisioning against bad loans, according to central bank statistics. Of the 56 banks, UK-based Standard Chartered Bank recorded the highest profits last year: their operating profit was Tk 1,742 crore and net profit Tk 1,098 crore. Another foreign bank, HSBC, came in the second position with their net profit of Tk 579 crore and operating profit of Tk 969 crore. The...

Published Date: February 27, 2015
More Bangla content on way to Wikipedia

More Bangla content on way to Wikipedia

Popular online encyclopaedia 'Wikipedia' plans to develop more Bangla language content for the benefit of education, health and many other sectors of Bangladesh. “Wikipedia was created so that every single person on the planet can have free access to the sum of all human knowledge. We must grab every opportunity to take down any...

Published Date: February 27, 2015
Midland Bank brings new deposit products, credit card

Midland Bank brings new deposit products, credit card

Midland Bank yesterday came up with five new deposit products along with Visa branded credit card. The credit card (platinum and gold) and the deposit products—MDB Super Saver, MDB College Saver, MDB School Saver, MDB Probashi Savings and MDB Gift Cheque—were launched at a programme at the bank's head office in Dhaka. At the programme,...

Published Date: February 27, 2015
Forex reserves cross $23b

Foreign currency reserves have crossed $23 billion for the first time in the country's history, on the back of steady export, remittance growth, and lower oil prices. The reserves stood at $23.03 billion yesterday, according to figures from the central bank. “A stable flow of remittances and export earnings contributed to the record reserves,” said Kazi Saidur Rahman, head of the forex reserve and treasury management department at the central bank. He said the reserves are adequate to meet import bills for...

Published Date: February 27, 2015
Large cap firms pull stocks up

Stocks broke a two-day losing streak and returned to the black yesterday, as investors went on a buying spree of large cap stocks amid the continued political turmoil. DSEX, the prime index of the Dhaka Stock Exchange, edged up 20.99 points or 0.44 percent to close at 4,763.22. DSES, the shariah index of DSE, rose 4.12 points or 0.36 percent to close at 1,130.91. The market responded positively to the earnings growth despite a gloomy outlook, commented IDLC Investments. Political instability kept...

Published Date: February 27, 2015
Trade ties with Philippines to be strengthened

Bangladesh might introduce direct flights between Dhaka and Manila to enhance connectivity between the two countries and increase trade with the Philippines, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said yesterday. The Philippines is a very promising trading partner for Bangladesh, but many people do not know of the potential for poor connectivity between the two countries, he said, adding that he will discuss the issue of launching direct flights between the two capitals with the civil aviation minister. Ahmed's comments came at the...

Published Date: February 27, 2015
WB to help Bangladesh attain middle-income status

The World Bank has pledged strong support for Bangladesh to achieve the goal of becoming a middle-income country by the end of this decade. “For this to happen, Bangladesh needs to do more to narrow the power and transportation gaps, manage urbanisation, reduce climate change impacts, and also improve the business environment and governance,” said Annette Dixon, WB's vice-president for South Asia region. She said they will help Bangladesh clear bottlenecks that impede faster growth and connect to regional and global...

Published Date: February 27, 2015
Etihad Airways offers up to 30pc discount

Etihad Airways now offers up to 30 percent discount on business and economy class tickets for guests travelling from Dhaka, Sylhet and Chittagong to over 350 popular destinations in UK, Europe, South America, Middle East, Africa, USA and Canada. Etihad's biggest ever seat sale for 2015 was launched in corporation with the carrier's equity code share partner airlines across the world, the airline said in a statement yesterday. The tickets can be availed for bookings between February 25 and March...

Published Date: February 27, 2015
Credit, money data offer glimmer of hope for eurozone

New credit and money supply data for the 19-nation eurozone on Thursday offered tentative signs that the region's battered economy is slowly mending, analysts said. The European Central Bank calculated that loans to the private sector -- a gauge of the single currency's economic health -- fell by just 0.1 percent in January, after long years of declines. The fractional drop marked an improvement over the previous month when loans to the private sector had contracted by 0.5 percent. The long...

Published Date: February 27, 2015
German unemployment at new post-unification low

German unemployment fell in February to the lowest level since the country reunited in 1990 as growth in Europe's biggest economy picks up, official data showed on Thursday. The number of people registered as unemployed in Germany fell by a seasonally-adjusted 20,000 to 2.812 million in February, the Federal Labour Office said. Analysts had been expecting a much shallower decline of 8,000 this month. The unemployment rate -- which measures the jobless total against the working population as a whole -- was...

Published Date: February 27, 2015
Qantas roars back into black after aggressive cost-cutting

Australian carrier Qantas on Thursday roared back into the black after an aggressive shake-up to stem mounting losses, posting its best interim result in four years helped by a revival in its international arm. The Aus$203 million (US$162 million) result in the six months to December 31 marked a stunning turnaround from a net loss of Aus$235 million in the same period in 2013 and smashed analyst forecasts. Underlying profit before tax -- the airline's preferred measure of financial performance --...

Published Date: February 27, 2015
Cheap oil: Asia's winners and losers

Cheap oil: Asia's winners and losers

The price of crude oil has halved since June 2014. Who has benefitted? Mainly those countries that need to import oil, that use more of it than they can produce themselves. The probable gainers include India, South Korea, Thailand and - up to a point - China and Japan. South Korea is a striking case....

Published Date: February 27, 2015
India aims to invest $137b in railways in next 5 years

The Indian government unveiled plans yesterday to invest $137 billion in its decrepit rail network over the next five years, heralding Prime Minister Narendra Modi's aggressive approach to building infrastructure needed to unlock faster economic growth. Over the next year, India will increase investment by about a half to 1 trillion rupees ($16.15 billion) including funds raised by market borrowing. To meet the five year target, investment will have to speed up even more after that, leaving economists questioning where the...

Published Date: February 27, 2015
StanChart picks ex-JPMorgan exec Winters as CEO to replace Sands

Asia-focused bank Standard Chartered said former JPMorgan investment bank boss Bill Winters will take over as chief executive in June to replace embattled boss Peter Sands. Standard Chartered said on Thursday Chairman John Peace will also leave next year, and named other changes to its board in a massive overhaul in management following a run of problems for the UK bank prompted top shareholders to call for change. Winters, 53, is one of the most respected bankers in the industry and...

Published Date: February 27, 2015
Citigroup unit probed over money laundering

Citigroup Inc said additional government authorities have started probes of possible breaches of anti-money laundering laws at its Banamex USA unit. The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, a unit of the US Treasury, and the California Department of Business Oversight have asked the company for information on its compliance with the Bank Secrecy Act and anti-money laundering rules, Citigroup disclosed in an annual filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on Wednesday. The disclosure comes one year after Citigroup revealed a...

Published Date: February 27, 2015
Bharti Airtel raises $310m through share sale in tower unit

Bharti Airtel, India's biggest mobile phone operator by users, said on Thursday it had raised $310 million through a secondary share sale in its mobile tower unit Bharti Infratel Ltd. Bharti Airtel will use the funds primarily to reduce debt, the company said in a statement. Its equity holding in Bharti Infratel has reduced to 71.9 percent following the deal, it said. Bharti Airtel, headed by billionaire Sunil Mittal, and around a third owned by Singapore Telecommunications, had net debt of...

Published Date: February 27, 2015
IBM targets $40b in cloud, other growth areas by 2018

International Business Machines Corp, which ruled computing in the age of the mainframe, is targeting $40 billion in annual revenue from the cloud, big data, security and other growth areas by 2018. The aggressive target, set by IBM executives at the company's annual investor meeting in New York on Thursday, is the latest step for the technology giant towards emerging, high-margin businesses, and away from its previous strongholds in hardware and servers. The $40 billion will come from areas which IBM...

Published Date: February 26, 2015
Oil price fall: a boon for economy

Oil price fall: a boon for economy

The country can save up to $2 billion a year, thanks to the sliding oil prices in the global market, LankaBangla said in a recent research. In 2014, the oil prices plunged 44 percent to $60.55 a barrel and the trend continued into 2015. Oil prices yesterday stood at $ 58.91 a barrel. Since oil accounts for the largest share in the import basket (11 percent), the savings will be quite significant, which will go on to improve the trade balance -- currently in the negative, the stockbroker said in the report titled Bangladesh Investment Guide 2015. With the decline in energy cost, non-food inflation would be lower, which would, in turn,...

Published Date: February 26, 2015
Robi profits surge 20pc

Robi profits surge 20pc

Robi's net profits rose around 20 percent year-on-year to Tk 440 crore in 2014 on the back of attractive customer-centric products and service offerings and effective cost management. In 2014, the operator, the country's third biggest, saw its subscriber base increase 13.2 percent to reach 2.53 crore. Its revenues stood at Tk 4,940 crore, up...

Published Date: February 26, 2015
Businesses to seek incentives to recoup unrest losses

MAJOR DEMANDS Deferred payment facility of up to five years for term loans Release of all due incentives as soon as possible Important bank branches should remain open during public holidays Businesses want special incentives for exports to eurozone Struck by the debilitating political limbo, business-people will now seek deferred payment facility of up to five years from the government for their industrial term loans to tide them over. A deferred payment is a loan arrangement in which the borrower is allowed to make payments...

Published Date: February 26, 2015
Small steel mills suffer for political turmoil

AT A GLANCE Annual demand for steel bars (rod):  40 lakh tonnes Tech-savvy large mills supply 65% of the demand Remaining 35% is supplied by small mills There are 400 small mills -- 200 have been temporarily shut down due to unrest Non-graded traditional steel millers are facing a difficult time as they are losing market share to tech-savvy large mills, while their remaining business is being eaten up by the ongoing political unrest, industry insiders said. There are around 400 small mills that produce non-graded...

Published Date: February 26, 2015
LR Global fined Tk 50 lakh for bending rules

The stockmarket regulator yesterday fined LR Global Bangladesh Tk 50 lakh, as a regulatory probe unearthed a number of gross violations of securities rules and misappropriation of hard cash of six mutual funds managed by the asset management company. The asset management company cannot also float any new mutual fund for next one year. Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission also fined Bangladesh General Insurance Company, the mutual funds' trustee, Tk 25 lakh and Hoda Vasi Chowdhury and Co, its auditor, Tk...

Published Date: February 26, 2015
Swedish IT firms interested in Bangladesh

Some of the top Swedish IT firms that have operations in the Indian city of Bangalore are interested in relocating to Bangladesh for lower costs of production, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed said yesterday. To explore the relocation prospects, a delegation comprising top businessmen from Sweden is due in the country on March 11, the minister told reporters after a meeting with Swedish Ambassador in Dhaka, Johan Frisell, at the secretariat. Bangladesh is a good destination for investment for its good and...

Published Date: February 26, 2015
Are low oil prices here to stay?

Are low oil prices here to stay?

Predicting the oil price is a bit of a mug's game. There are simply too many variables involved to make any kind of meaningful, definitive forecast. What we do know is that, despite a recent upturn, the price of oil has slumped almost 50 percent since last summer following the longest-running decline for 20...

Published Date: February 26, 2015
India under pressure to deliver on 'Modinomics' in budget

India under pressure to deliver on 'Modinomics' in budget

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government unveils its first full budget Saturday under intense pressure to bring about promised reforms to grow India's economy after winning the biggest mandate in 30 years at last year's elections. Modi has promised to slash red tape, reform tax and overhaul land acquisition laws to try to attract...

Published Date: February 26, 2015
Social enterprises need policy support to flourish: analysts

Social enterprises need policy support to flourish: analysts

Bangladesh needs to promote innovative finance models for social enterprises to unlock investment from the private sector, said Durreen Shahnaz, managing director of Shujog, a social enterprise. “We need private investment to develop social enterprises in the country,” she said yesterday. Shahnaz spoke at a programme on “Social enterprise: policy and practice”, organised by the...

Published Date: February 26, 2015
Excelerate, Petrobangla ink deal to set up first LNG terminal

Excelerate Energy and Petrobangla yesterday signed a non-binding term sheet to set up the country's first liquefied natural gas import terminal near Moheshkhali island. Shafiqur Rahman, secretary of state-run oil company Petrobangla, and Sheampoo Suvasssari, director of Excelerate Energy, signed the deal at the Petro Centre in Dhaka, according to a statement from Petrobangla. A term sheet is a non-binding agreement setting forth the basic terms and conditions under which an investment will be made. It serves as a template to...

Published Date: February 26, 2015
IPOs of Olympic Accessories, Keya Cosmetics get regulator's nod

Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday gave a green light to Olympic Accessories to raise Tk 20 crore from the public. The company is set to float two crore ordinary shares of Tk 10 each to raise the fund, the stockmarket regulator said in a statement. Olympic Accessories will use the fund from the initial public offering for the construction of a new factory building and purchasing machinery. The company's earnings per share as of June last year stood at Tk 1.43...

Published Date: February 26, 2015
Apple ordered to pay $533m for patent infringement

Apple Inc has been ordered to pay $532.9 million after a federal jury in Texas found that its iTunes software infringed three patents owned by patent licensing firm Smartflash LLC. Though Smartflash had been asking for $852 million in damages, Tuesday night's verdict was still a blow to Apple. The jury, which deliberated for eight hours, determined Apple had not only used Smartflash's patents without permission, but did so willfully. Apple, which said it would appeal, said the outcome was another reason...

Published Date: February 26, 2015
EU unveils plans for historic single energy market

The EU unveiled plans Wednesday for a continent-wide single energy market to reduce its uneasy reliance on Russian supplies and cut a massive annual import bill of some 400 billion euros. The proposals by the European Commission, the executive body of the 28-nation bloc, are timely as Russia once again threatens to cut gas deliveries to Ukraine, putting onward supply to Europe at risk. "Today, we launch the most ambitious European energy project since the Coal and Steel Community," said Maros...

Published Date: February 26, 2015
Unions, charity accuse McDonald's of avoiding 1b euros in tax

Labour unions and a charity accused fast food chain McDonald's of avoiding around 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) in tax between 2009 and 2013 by routing revenues through a Luxembourg unit and called on the European Commission to investigate. Corporate tax avoidance has become a hot political issue in Europe and the EU executive has opened investigations into tax deals that some countries have cut with multinationals, including deals between Luxembourg and carmaker Fiat and online retailer Amazon.com. Umbrella organisations for...

Published Date: February 26, 2015
EU truck makers face 4b-euro fine for price-fixing

European truck makers could be fined more than 4 billion euros ($4.5 billion) by the EU in one of Europe's biggest-ever price-fixing scandals, the business daily Handelsblatt reported on Tuesday. MAN and Scania, both owned by German auto giant Volkswagen as well as Daimler, DAF of the Netherlands, Iveco of Italy and Sweden's Volvo are accused of forming an illegal cartel between 1999 and 2011. According to Handelsblatt, which quoted industry sources, MAN will escape prosecution because it reported the price-fixing...

Published Date: February 26, 2015
Australia plans fees for foreign property investors

Foreign investors may have to pay large fees before buying Australian residential real estate or businesses, the government has announced. PM Tony Abbott said the government was proposing a range of civil penalties and fees linked to foreign investment. Property prices are a hot button issue in Australia, especially in Sydney, and there are claims foreign investment is artificially boosting house prices. But Mr Abbott conceded there was not enough data on this issue. He also ruled out reviewing Australia's negative gearing rules,...

Published Date: February 26, 2015
Facebook claims 2m advertisers

Facebook said Tuesday it has boosted the number of advertisers on the social network to two million as it launched a mobile app for those managing their commercial pitches. Dan Levy, Facebook's vice president for global marketing and small business, said the number of advertisers has doubled over the past year and a half. "We think it's a strong sign of the commitment we are making to help small businesses," Levy told AFP. "They continue benefiting the economy for their region and...

Published Date: February 26, 2015
Strong dollar hurts HP's earnings forecast

Hewlett-Packard Co reported flat or lower quarterly revenue in all of its operating units on Tuesday, and forecast full-year earnings well below analysts' expectations due to a strong U.S. dollar. Its shares tumbled 6.7 percent in after-hours trading. The world's No. 2 PC maker, which has struggled to adapt to the new era of mobile and online computing, is preparing to split into two listed companies later this year, separating its computer and printer businesses from its faster-growing corporate hardware...