• Thursday, October 23, 2014

Business

IMF holds back loans over delay in VAT law

The IMF has deferred the release of the sixth instalment of the $1 billion loan to next year after the government failed to lay out a fresh roadmap for implementing the new VAT law. The sixth instalment -- around $140 million -- had been scheduled for release in November, following a successful review by the visiting International Monetary Fund mission last month. The decision on deferral was conveyed to Finance Minister AMA Muhith when he met IMF high officials at the US capital in the second week of this month, according to finance ministry officials. On the sidelines of the World Bank-IMF annual conference, Muhith held meetings with higher-ups of the multilateral lenders, where the issue of revenue reforms, especially the implementation of the VAT law, was discussed at length. It was then agreed that the sixth and last instalments would be released together in April next year, by which time concrete political commitment about the implementation of the new VAT law has to be given. The government had earlier committed to the IMF that the new VAT law would come into effect in July 2015, but due to opposition by influential ministers and the business community, the government had pushed...

Shrimp exports in slow lane

Shrimp exports are facing a slowdown in the wake of reduced demand for locally-grown black tiger shrimps in major markets. An increased...

NBR zooms in on homeowners abroad

NBR zooms in on homeowners abroad

The National Board of Revenue is set to gather information on...

Better roads, sufficient energy to propel growth: ICCB

The government must prioritise the development of road networks and other infrastructure for higher economic growth, a leading international chamber said...

ILO hands Tk 12.7cr in Rana Plaza compensation

The International Labour Organisation has so far disbursed Tk 12.7 crore in compensation to 1,496 victims of the Rana Plaza disaster. The money was disbursed in two batches from the ILO-managed Rana Plaza Trust Fund in September, said Srinivasa Reddy, country director of the ILO in Bangladesh. The committee of the fund has identified 2,848 victims for compensations. “ILO will disburse compensation to 858 victims in the third batch next week,” Reddy told The Daily Star. “The fourth and last batch will...

Wise up to online share trade

Afiya Khanum, a business graduate from Dhaka University, wants to buy and sell shares from home through her smartphone, thanks to the time-saving benefits and growing popularity of internet. The 35-year-old housewife, who lives in Dhanmondi, attended Chittagong Stock Exchange's internet trade fair to know the process of online share trade using devices such as smartphones, tabs, laptops and desktop computers. “I don't want to visit a brokerage house to trade in the stockmarket in the age of internet,” she said....

Tesco's sales fall faster than its competitors

Tesco's sales are falling faster than any of its competitors, as it loses market share to discounters Aldi and Lidl, as well as to upmarket rival Waitrose. The supermarket saw sales fall 3.6 percent in the 12 weeks to 12 October, according to research firm Kantar Worldpanel. The drop has reduced its market share to 28.8 percent, down from 30.1 percent a year ago. The news came as HSBC analyst David McCarthy said Tesco needed to invest £3bn to turn around...

Apec finance chiefs meet as global worries persist

Apec finance chiefs meet as global worries persist

The global economic recovery is beset by "downside risks", China's vice-premier told Asia-Pacific finance ministers Wednesday, a day after growth in the world's second-largest economy hit a five-year low. The meeting in Beijing of ministers from the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) forum precedes the group's annual summit next month, when Chinese President Xi Jinping...

Lufthansa close to deal with IBM for IT infrastructure unit

German airline Lufthansa is close to a deal to sell its IT infrastructure unit to IBM, including an outsourcing agreement for the services, as part of a shake-up of its technology activities, it said on Wednesday. Europe's largest airline by revenue is undergoing restructuring and cost-cutting efforts to better position itself to compete with low-cost carriers and Gulf rivals. It earlier this year said it was seeking a buyer for the unit, which provides data centers, networks and telephony, because it...

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Yahoo profit surges on Alibaba divestment, mobile

Yahoo said Tuesday its quarterly profit surged with its sale of shares in Chinese Internet powerhouse Alibaba, and that it was seeing signs of life in its mobile Internet initiatives. Net profit jumped to $6.8 billion, which included $6.3 billion from its Alibaba shares. But profit was stronger than expected, and pumped up Yahoo shares by 3.1 percent in after-hours trade. Revenue from operations inched up a percent to $1.15 billion, according to third quarter results welcomed by chief executive Marissa...

Focus on higher world economic growth

Focus on higher world economic growth

Bangladesh is set to be in the limelight of global business leaders, economists and policymakers as a two-day international conference on Asian economic growth, trade and investment begins in Dhaka on Saturday.  The conference, organised by the International Chamber of Commerce Bangladesh (ICCB), will provide an opportunity for world business leaders, policymakers and academics to share their thoughts and ideas on how to maintain higher economic growth. The Bangladesh chapter of ICC, the world business organisation, will hold the conference to mark 20 years of its presence in the country at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre and Sonargaon Hotel in Dhaka.  The event is expected to be attended by 500 delegates including ministers,...

The future of banking is digital

The future of banking is digital

Local banks will have to adopt digital platforms and rearrange their products and services accordingly to meet the growing demand of a population who have embraced mobile technology widely, a top banker said. "Banking will have to become digital thanks to the advancement of technology. So, our services will have to embrace technological solutions,"...

In emerging beauty markets like Brazil, new products key

In emerging beauty markets like Brazil, new products key

In Brazil, women primarily wear their hair long, and need to tackle the country's generally hot, humid climate when they style it. They also demand a wide range of sun protection creams. Beauty industry giants such as L'Oreal, Unilever and Procter & Gamble that are looking to crack key emerging markets like Brazil are...

India's Modi burnishes economic credentials with reform blitz

India's Modi burnishes economic credentials with reform blitz

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has unleashed a slew of reforms in the past week, scrapping fuel subsidies, simplifying labour rules and pledging to open coal mining to private players in a bid to kickstart the economy. The reforms are seen as some of the most significant since Modi's right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)...

Switzerland top destination for expats

Switzerland is the world's favourite destination among expats, followed by Singapore and China, a poll on quality of life for bank HSBC found on Wednesday. "Many Switzerland-based expats mentioned the better work-life balance, availability of outdoor activities and the family-centric culture as the reasons they enjoy the Swiss lifestyle," the British bank said. The poll questioned 9,300 people working in various sectors and mostly aged between 35 and 54. They were asked about their financial situation, such as salary, savings and the...

Published Date: October 22, 2014
Economic growth to accelerate 6.2pc

Economic growth to accelerate 6.2pc

The economy may grow by 6.2 percent this fiscal year thanks to strong domestic demand and a revival in private investment activities and remittance flow, the World Bank said yesterday. The economy's natural capacity is sufficient to achieve growth of more than 6 percent, Zahid Hussain, a lead economist of the WB's Dhaka office,...

Published Date: October 22, 2014
Eid festivals clock up Tk 92,820cr in retail sales

Bangladesh recorded retail sales of $10-12 billion (Tk 77,350-92,820 crore) during the last two Eid festivals, which took place within a span of three months, according to the World Bank. Consumer confidence was buoyed by a stable political climate, said Zahid Hussain, a lead economist for the WB. “This will contribute to the GDP,” he said while making a presentation on the country's economy yesterday. Combined retail sales during the last two religious festivals were equivalent to at least 10 percent of...

Published Date: October 22, 2014
WB stresses continuous efforts to reform garment sector

WB stresses continuous efforts to reform garment sector

Bangladesh must continue its efforts to reform the garment industry to boost higher exports, World Bank said yesterday. “Progress in improving workplace compliance is on track but more needs to be done in order to fulfil the commitment of raising it to international standards,” WB said in a report, Bangladesh Development Update. The government has...

Published Date: October 22, 2014
BTRC mulls new spectrum for faster mobile internet

The telecom regulator is preparing the 700 megahertz spectrum band to release it next year to the mobile operators, which will enable them to deploy higher-performance broadband services over greater distances than the services they offer today. As some of the bandwidth in the band is occupied by an internet service provider (ISP), the regulator is going to rearrange it so that it can be allocated smoothly to the mobile operators. As a result, the operators will be able to roll...

Published Date: October 22, 2014
CSE starts fair today to spread online trade

Chittagong Stock Exchange is set to launch a two-day fair today to popularise online trading among local and foreign investors. Online trading will attract more local and foreign investors into the capital market as it is more convenient, Syed Sajid Husain, managing director of CSE, said at a press meet at its Dhaka office yesterday. The port city bourse will organise the fair at Engineering Institute in Dhaka, where 17 brokerage firms will showcase the online trading process. Investors can open beneficiary...

Published Date: October 22, 2014
German MPs dissatisfied with Rana Plaza compensation

A three-member delegation of the German parliament has expressed dissatisfaction over non-payment of adequate compensation to the victims of the Rana Plaza building collapse even one and a half years after the incident. “It's a shame for everybody -- factory owner, international buyers and the government as the victims have not received the compensation as per the commitments given to the workers after the accident,” delegation leader Dr Sascha Raabe told reporters at Lakeshore Hotel in Dhaka yesterday. It is a...

Published Date: October 22, 2014
Rice prices edge up despite higher output

Rice prices edge up despite higher output

Rice prices have edged up, even though farmers bagged higher outputs in the last boro season. But the spiral is seasonal as crop stocks from the previous harvests are depleting, millers claimed. Retail prices of the fine grain, which sold at Tk 40-56 for a kilogram a week ago, rose 1.04 percent to Tk 40-57...

Published Date: October 22, 2014
Coats celebrates 25 years in Bangladesh

Coats celebrates 25 years in Bangladesh

Coats plc, a globally renowned industrial thread and zip maker, celebrated 25 years of its operations in Bangladesh, at a programme at Radisson Hotel in Dhaka on Sunday. The British company marked the occasion with the announcement of opening up a new zip factory in Chittagong, at the gala event. Over 400 customers and suppliers...

Published Date: October 22, 2014
Experts stress fast phasing-out of polythene bags

Sufficient supply of jute-based or other or environment friendly products are necessary to stop the usage of polythene bags or sacks in Bangladesh, experts said yesterday. Awareness and market monitoring are also vital for stopping polythene bags, especially the ones that are thinner than 55 micron, to ensure a safer environment, they added. The suggestions came at a meeting at the Department of Environment (DoE) to discuss improvement of jute-based and other alternative packaging that would allow phasing out of...

Published Date: October 22, 2014
Bangladesh should diversify export basket: Japanese envoy

Bangladesh can manufacture some parts of industrial machines and send those to Japanese factories in South-East Asia and India, as the former has great potential in the sector, said Shiro Sadoshima, Japanese ambassador in Dhaka. The ambassador spoke at a programme on “Japan-Bangladesh relations: comprehensive partnership” organised by Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS), at its office yesterday. He gave example of Op-Seed Bangladesh, a firm in Chittagong Export Processing Zone, which manufactures pushbuttons of vending machines and exports...

Published Date: October 22, 2014
Novo Nordisk chief amid top 10 CEO's in the world

Novo Nordisk chief amid top 10 CEO's in the world

Novo Nordisk's President and Chief Executive Lars Rebien Sørensen has been named one of the best-performing chief executives in the world in a new study by the Harvard Business Review. Sørensen ranked sixth overall in the review's top-100, making him the only chief executive from a European company to break into the top 10,...

Published Date: October 22, 2014
IDLC chief made vice president of merchant bankers assoc

IDLC chief made vice president of merchant bankers assoc

Md Moniruzzaman, managing director of IDLC Investments, has recently been selected as the second vice-president of the Association Bangladesh Merchant Bankers Association. The decision came at the association's executive committee meeting at Lakeshore Hotel in Dhaka on Sunday, IDLC said in a statement yesterday. Tanjil Chowdhury, president of the association, attended the meeting. Moniruzzaman has...

Published Date: October 22, 2014
Falling global crude prices bolster India's economic outlook

Falling global crude prices bolster India's economic outlook

Falling crude oil prices have helped lawyer Pratik Mehra get off the bus and back behind the wheel of his car, cutting his travel time to work by a third. In China, a short hop across the Himalayas, slumping consumer demand has sparked fears of deflation as it wrestles with flagging global economic growth. But...

Published Date: October 22, 2014
InterContinental posts rising revenues

InterContinental Hotels Group on Tuesday booked rising quarterly revenues per room, buoyed by the United States, and expressed optimism over the annual outlook. Global revenue per available room (RevPAR) -- a key industry measure -- rose by 7.0 percent in the third quarter, compared with a year earlier, the group said in a statement. The performance was led by 8.4-percent growth in the United States and 6.1-percent growth in Europe. RevPAR is calculated by multiplying a hotel's average daily room rate by...

Published Date: October 22, 2014
Total: global oil giant, pride of France

Total, left without a leader after the death in a Moscow air accident of chief executive Christophe de Margerie, is a top global oil group and the biggest company in France in terms of sales and profits. A major player on global oil and gas markets, the group moved quickly on Tuesday to announce that its board would meet on finding a successor, and that it would press ahead with its goals. De Margerie died early on Tuesday while seeking to...

Published Date: October 22, 2014
Reckitt cautions on annual sales forecast

British household goods firm Reckitt Benckiser warned on Tuesday that annual sales would be towards the lower end of forecasts, after a weaker-than-expected third-quarter performance. The group, which produces Durex condoms, household cleaner Cillit Bang, and Nurofen pain relief tablets, revealed the news in a results statement. Reckitt added that revenues slid seven percent to £2.37 billion ($3.8 billion, 3.0 billion euros) in the third quarter of the year, compared with the same part of 2013. "Looking ahead, our objective remains to...

Published Date: October 22, 2014
New iPhones deliver big profits for Apple

New big-screen iPhones helped propel Apple's profit and revenue in the last quarter, as the California tech giant smashed earnings expectations. The company reported on Monday that profit rose 13 percent to $8.5 billion, as revenues jumped to $42.1 billion in the fiscal fourth quarter ending September 27. Apple said it sold more than 39 million iPhones in the quarter, boosted by last month's launch of the large-screen iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, which hit some markets on September 19. That...

Published Date: October 21, 2014
Foreign loans not as risky as thought: BB

Foreign loans not as risky as thought: BB

Private companies eventually draw a small portion of the foreign loans approved for them, a recent study by Bangladesh Bank found. External lenders disbursed 35 percent of the approved loans in 2012 and only 25.3 percent last year, according to the study by the Chief Economist's Unit of the central bank, carried out in...

Published Date: October 21, 2014
Steelmaker Appollo to spend Tk 200cr on tech upgrade

Steelmaker Appollo to spend Tk 200cr on tech upgrade

Appollo Ispat Complex, a leading steelmaker, will spend Tk 200 crore to introduce environment-friendly technology in May next year to help cut production costs and boost capacity. The technology will reduce production costs by 30 percent, while increasing capacity by 20 percent from its existing 1.20 lakh tonnes a year, said Abdur Rahman, deputy managing director of Appollo. Germany's radiant tube furnace technology will help Appollo produce lead and acid free corrugated iron sheets in a non-oxidising furnace at its Narayanganj plant. The radiant tube uses a rapid heating furnace that cuts out hydrochloric acid and lead usage during the galvanising process. “Eliminating lead and acid usage during the final stages of production...

Published Date: October 21, 2014
EU praises workplace safety reforms

The European Commission yesterday lauded Bangladesh's progress in efforts to ensure workplace safety in the garment sector. The commission urged the government to effectively implement the labour law, which was amended in parliament on July 15 last year. In the amended law, the government allowed full freedom of association by the workers at the factory level. A statement by László Andor, European commissioner for employment, social affairs and inclusion, said there has been much progress since the Rana Plaza building collapse...

Published Date: October 21, 2014
India gives fourth instalment of $200m

India yesterday handed over a cheque of $25 million to Finance Minister AMA Muhith as the fourth instalment of the $200 million grant approved in 2012 by the Congress government. This is the first instalment of the grant after Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government assumed power in India this year. Indian High Commissioner Pankaj Saran handed over the cheque at Muhith's official residence in Minto Road. With this tranche, India has completed disbursement of $175 million assistance to Bangladesh. India approved...

Published Date: October 21, 2014
India's Idea Cellular profit up

Idea Cellular, India's No.3 mobile operator, posted a 69 percent rise in quarterly profit after adding subscribers faster than its competitors. Idea Cellular said it earned 7.56 billion rupees in its second quarter.  -- Reuters

Published Date: October 21, 2014
Aviation magazine awards airlines

Aviation magazine awards airlines

Singapore Airlines has been awarded as the best airline of the year, according to an opinion poll of frequent fliers out of Bangladesh. Emirates was rated as the best cargo carrier, Novoair the best domestic airline and Kuala Lumpur as the most popular destination. The opinion poll was carried out by travel trade publication Bangladesh...

Published Date: October 21, 2014
Cityscape opens country's first green commercial building

Cityscape opens country's first green commercial building

Cityscape Tower, the country's first green commercial building made by Cityscape International Ltd, is now open for inspections and purchase. Nahid Sarwar, managing director of Cityscape International; Trina Falgune, head of marketing communications and sales, and Abdur Rashid, chief engineer, shared the information at a press meet in Dhaka yesterday. The tower, flagship project of...

Published Date: October 21, 2014
Three banks want more time to remove same-family directors

National Bank, City Bank and Premier Bank have failed to comply with the central bank's directive to bring down the number of directors from the same family to a maximum of two. The central bank last week asked four private banks to cut the number down of such directors in seven days, the deadline of which expired yesterday. Only First Security Islami Bank complied with the directive within the deadline, according to Bangladesh Bank. The three other banks sought one to three...

Published Date: October 21, 2014
IBM to pay Globalfoundries to take chip unit

IBM Corp said it would hive off its loss-making semiconductor unit to contract-chipmaker Globalfoundries Inc to focus on cloud computing, mobile and big data analytics. IBM will pay Globalfoundries $1.5 billion in cash over the next three years to take the chip operations off its hands, the companies said in a statement on Monday.

Published Date: October 21, 2014
Infrastructure deficit slows cross-border trade

Inadequate infrastructure and absence of harmonised working hours at land customs stations, banking services and motor vehicle agreements among Bangladesh, India and Nepal are deterring trade prospects through the Banglabandha-Phulbari-Kakarvitta route, a recent survey found. The survey was conducted by India-based CUTS International and Bangladeshi non-governmental organisation Unnayan Shamannay, the findings of which were released yesterday at the Shamannay office in Dhaka. Subsequently, trade potential between Bangladesh and Nepal has remained untapped, said Mahfuz Kabir, senior research fellow of Bangladesh Institute...

Published Date: October 21, 2014
France steps up calls for Germany to boost investment

France steps up calls for Germany to boost investment

French and German ministers met in Berlin on Monday, amid calls on Germany to do more to boost growth in Europe, while France faces a battle in Brussels over its budget. The meeting comes at a crucial time for Paris, which is at loggerheads with Brussels over its 2015 budget as it is likely...

Published Date: October 21, 2014
Strong iPhone 6 demand boosts Taiwan export orders

Booming shipments of the iPhone 6 helped Taiwan's export orders jump 12.7 percent in September year-on-year to a record $43.3 billion, the government said Monday. It marked an eighth straight month of growth in export orders for tech-rich Taiwan, the economic ministry said in a statement. Orders for information and mobile devices rose 16.3 percent from a year ago to $12.9 billion, "mainly due to the launch of international brand name mobile devices that led to the significant increase of orders",...

Published Date: October 21, 2014
China eyes $817b sports sector for new economy

China plans to grow its sports sector into a 5-trillion-yuan ($817-billion) industry by 2025 to boost employment and domestic consumption in its "new" economy, the government said on Monday. Under a sweeping reform plan, China aims to boost domestic consumption to replace exports and heavy investment as the traditional drivers of growth in the world's second-largest economy. Private investment will be encouraged, new sports facilities will be built and the government will support the sector by increasingly buying its services, the...

Published Date: October 21, 2014
Investor group aims to buy Reebok unit

An investor group that includes Jynwel Capital and funds affiliated with the Abu Dhabi government is launching a bid to buy Reebok from Adidas AG for about $2.2 billion, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday. Jynwel Capital, a Hong Kong-based private equity investment and advisory firm run by Jho Low, and the Abu Dhabi government-affiliated funds planned to make the offer imminently in a letter to Adidas directors, the Journal reported, citing unnamed sources close to the matter. The investors are...

Published Date: October 21, 2014
Philips blames Russia, China slowdowns for plunge into loss

Dutch electronics giant Philips on Monday posted a 103-million-euro ($131 million) net loss on third-quarter earnings, blaming a patent lawsuit and ever-slowing markets in China and Russia. "We are not satisfied with our overall performance for the third quarter," said chief executive Frans van Houten. "We are facing sustained softness in a number of markets such as China and Russia. We were also confronted with an adverse jury verdict with a surprisingly high proposed award to Massimo," Van Houten said in...

Published Date: October 21, 2014
Coats banks on growing garment exports

Coats banks on growing garment exports

When Coats, an industrial thread and zip making British company, started its operation in Bangladesh in October 1989, the South Asian country's total exports from the garment sector of 320,000 workers were merely $624 million. The then tiny Coats Bangladesh, a unit of the Coats Plc of Britain, realised the country's potential in garment...

Published Date: October 21, 2014
German pilots strike after weekend rail chaos

Lufthansa pilots launched a strike Monday, deepening Germany's travel chaos after train drivers stopped work at the weekend just as school holidays began in much of the country. The top-selling Bild daily complained that "ping-pong strikes are crippling our economy", Europe's biggest, as about 10,000 pilots and 20,000 train drivers had "taken hostage" 80 million Germans. The German Industry Federation charged that the pilots strike, following the "disproportionate" railway stoppage, "harms the entire economy" by impacting logistics, tourism and business travel. The...

Published Date: October 21, 2014
Amnesty slams 'abuse' of migrant workers in S Korea

Migrant farm workers in South Korea face rampant abuse under a "shameful" government work permit system that encourages exploitation, Amnesty International said in a report published Monday. The report, which the South Korean Labour Ministry suggested was exaggerated, came on the heels of a visit by the UN's special rapporteur on racism, who also cited "serious problems" faced by the growing number of foreign workers hired as low-paid, unskilled manual labourers. The Amnesty report, titled "Bitter Harvest" and based on interviews...