• Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Business

State banks slow to go online

State banks slow to go online

The government banks are lagging behind private and foreign banks in introducing online banking for customers, Bangladesh Bank data shows. BB's quarterly report as of June 2014 shows that all 75 branches of foreign banks and 3,632 branches or 99.94 percent of private banks have introduced online banking, gaining an edge over the state banks. A mere 858 branches or 24 percent of the total 3,540 branches of state-owned commercial banks offer online coverage. The situation is more depressing with the state-owned development banks; less than nine percent of their branches have an online facility.   “The government's procurement system is stringent and it takes a lot of time to execute a contract,” said SM Aminur Rahman, former managing director of state-owned Janata Bank. He served the bank for six years before his contract...

Denim makers all set for expansion

Local entrepreneurs are investing heavily in denim, as at least six new factories will come into operation this year to meet...

Banks' capital falls as defaults pile up

Banks' capital falls as defaults pile up

Banks' overall capital base shrank 1.36 percent in the second quarter...

Foreign funds in stocks plunge

Net foreign investment in Dhaka stocks fell 84 percent month-on-month in August amid selling pressure for profit-booking among overseas investors. Foreign investors...

Govt to make 500 mobile apps in Bangla

The information and communication technology division of the government will make 500 mobile applications in Bangla for the users of Android operating system. The ICT division signed a deal on Sunday with Ethics Advanced Technology Ltd (EATLApps), a local mobile application developer, according to a statement. Android is a popular operating system developed by US-based search engine giant Google. ICT Secretary Nazrul Islam Khan said the government will spend more than Tk 9 crore on the project. The ministry wants to encourage the...

LankaBangla Securities launches trading software

LankaBangla Securities has soft-launched trading software with Chittagong Stock Exchange to provide direct market access to dealers and investors, it said in a statement yesterday. The software known as Order Management System, launched for the first time in Bangladesh, is different from the exchange-provided application. The system is an open platform to integrate with other stock exchange trading engines. LankaBangla led the market into a new dimension with the software as dealers and inventors can now place orders using real-time technical analysis...

Booming electric car sales under fire in Norway

Booming electric car sales under fire in Norway

Ministers in Norway -- a major and rich oil-producing country -- are under increasing public pressure to reduce perks and tax breaks for booming electric car sales. "It's become a problem," said Erik Haugstad, a bus driver in the Oslo region who complains about the numerous electric cars clogging bus lanes, which they have...

Britain's top fund manager to sell HSBC shares on 'fine inflation' fears

One of the UK's most high-profile fund managers, has said he has decided to sell his holding in HSBC, because he is worried about "fine inflation". Neil Woodford said the size of fines in the banking sector seemed to be rising. "Fines are increasingly being sized on a bank's ability to pay, rather than on the extent of the transgression," he said. HSBC was fined £1.14bn by US authorities in 2012, for failing to prevent money laundering. There have been a number of...

New Apple iPhone to have

Apple Inc plans to enable its next iPhone to become a mobile wallet by allowing owners to securely make mobile payments in a store with the touch of a finger, Bloomberg said on Sunday, citing a person familiar with the situation. The agreement includes participation by Visa Inc., MasterCard Inc and American Express Co and will be announced Sept. 9 along with unveiling of the next iPhone, according to the source, who Bloomberg said asked not to be identified because...

Loader

More

Nokia, Samsung team up for mapping service

Nokia's mapping service will soon be appearing on Samsung smartphones. A deal between the two will see a test or beta version of an Android app for Nokia's Here maps included free on handsets and the Gear S smartwatch. The move is widely seen as a way to help Samsung distinguish itself from Google which oversees Android. Formerly known as Nokia maps, Here is also used by Yahoo, Amazon and Garmin and it provides map data for Microsoft's Bing search engine. The map...

Outsourcing firm looks to ride on global growth

Outsourcing firm looks to ride on global growth

A leading outsourcing service provider, ServicEngineBPO, aims to more than double its workforce over the next two and a half years, a top official said. The recruitment drive will create around 600 new jobs at the company's Dhaka office as it expands operations to cater to growing demand for outsourcing services. “We want to exceed...

China vows to help Zimbabwe: Mugabe

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, returning from a state visit to China, said Sunday Beijing had pledged to assist his southern African country's ailing economy "to the best of its ability". China will "continue to be as friendly to us as it was before ... The support we have asked for in the various areas, China will provide to the best of its ability," Mugabe said in comments carried on Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) television after his arrival. Mugabe, who won disputed...

India's Kingfisher tycoon declared 'wilful defaulter'

The United Bank of India declared flamboyant and indebted tycoon Vijay Mallya a "wilful defaulter" on Monday, dealing another blow to his embattled Kingfisher Airlines. A top official at the bank confirmed the decision, which comes nearly two years after the airline lost its licence to fly when it failed to end a strike by staff who had not been paid. Kingfisher's debts run up to nearly $1.5 billion owed to banks, airports, fuel suppliers, staff and others. Out of this,...

S Korea exports fall 0.1pc in August

South Korea's exports fell 0.1 percent in August from a year ago due to strikes at major auto plants, state data showed Monday. Exports for August amounted to $46.3 billion while imports rose 3.1 percent to $42.9 billion, leaving a trade surplus of $3.4 billion, the trade ministry said. It marks the 31st consecutive month that South Korea -- Asia's fourth-largest economy -- has posted a trade surplus. Overseas shipments of most key export items including ships and mobile devices rose, while...

Barclays sells Spanish businesses

Barclays Bank has agreed to sell part of its Spanish business for £633m to the country's third largest lender CaixaBank. The sale includes Barclays' retail, wealth management and corporate banking business in Spain. In a statement, Caixa said the deal involved 270 branches and approximately 555,000 new clients. Barclays is reorganising its business by cutting jobs and selling off parts of its European operations. In May, it announced plans to cut 19,000 jobs by 2016, of which 9,000 will be in the UK,...

India urges court to leave some coal blocks with companies

The Attorney General has asked the Supreme Court to leave 40 of the 218 coal blocks allocations the court declared illegal with companies that operate mines that are either producing or close to doing so. India's highest court ruled last week that the country's decades-old method of allocating coal mining concessions was illegal and arbitrary, putting investments worth billions of dollars at risk. The suggestion by Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi sent shares of some of the companies that hold coal blocks...

Russia and China launch gas pipeline

Russia and China have begun the construction of a new gas pipeline linking the countries, with a ceremony in the Siberian city of Yakutsk. China's CNPC has agreed to buy $400 billion (£240 billion) of gas from Russia's Gazprom. Russia will ship 38 billion cubic metres (bcm) of gas annually over a period of 30 years. The deal will lessen Russia's dependence on European buyers, who have imposed economic sanctions because of the crisis in Ukraine. The construction ceremony was attended...

“Most exciting ever" Novartis drug points to huge sales

Sales forecasts for Novartis's new heart failure drug are being ramped up by analysts after strikingly good clinical trial results for a medicine doctors expect to transform treatment of the deadly disease. Shares in the Swiss drugmaker jumped over 3 percent to a record high on Monday as data for LCZ696 released at the weekend beat expectations, showing the medicine slashed deaths and hospitalisations, worked across all groups of patients, and had no serious side effects. David Epstein, Novartis' head of...

Samsung to merge shipbuilding, engineering units

The shipbuilding and engineering units of South Korea's Samsung group said Monday they would merge, as the family-run giant gears up for generational ownership succession. The board members of Samsung Heavy Industries, the world's third-largest shipmaker, and Samsung Engineering had approved the tie-up via a share swap, said a joint statement. Shareholders at the engineering unit will be given 2.36 shares in the shipbuilder, it said, adding the deal would be finalised by December. The two firms hope to achieve total sales...

What's Europe's best hope for avoiding a second euro crisis?

What's Europe's best hope for avoiding a second euro crisis?

This week's theatrical resignation threat by Manuel Valls, the French prime minister, combined with deep European anxiety about deflation, suggest that the euro crisis may be coming back. But a crisis is often an opportunity, and this is the hope now beginning to excite markets in the eurozone. Investors and business leaders are asking...

China gives Microsoft 20 days to provide explanation in anti-trust probe

A Chinese anti-trust regulator said on Monday it has given Microsoft Corp 20 days to reply to queries on the compatibility of its Windows operating system and Office software suite amid a probe into the world's largest software company. The State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) questioned Microsoft Vice President David Chen and gave the company a deadline to make an explanation, the agency said in a short statement on its website. Microsoft is one of at least 30 foreign...

Published Date: September 1, 2014
BB brings cheer to foreign investors

Foreign investors having stakes in Bangladeshi private companies will now get higher returns if they sell their shares, as the central bank has introduced globally-accepted approaches to value such firms. Analysts say the move will encourage overseas investment in local companies. Along with the currently practised 'net asset value approach' for determining the repatriable value of shares, Bangladesh Bank has adopted two more methods: market value approach and income approach or discounted cash flow approach. Take an illustrative example under the three...

Published Date: September 1, 2014
Ruposhi Bangla shuts as renovation starts today

Bangladesh Services Ltd (BSL), owner of Ruposhi Bangla Hotel, will transfer 500 employees to other units as the five-star hotel's extensive renovation begins today. The hotel will keep its entire operations closed for the next 16 months for the renovation work. Of the 500 employees, 300 will work at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre, 116 for a project of InterContinental Dhaka, 70 at Balaka Executive Lounge at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, and the rest will go abroad for training during the period,...

Published Date: September 1, 2014
MediaVest sets foot in Bangladesh

MediaVest sets foot in Bangladesh

Starcom MediaVest Group has embarked on its journey in Bangladesh with a promise to produce quality media products, a top official of the global advertising agency said yesterday. The subsidiary of Publicis Groupe, the world's third-largest communications group and second-largest media counsel, opened its office in the country in February. It will hold a ceremony at The Westin today to begin formal operations. The US-based media agency is foraying into Bangladesh through a partnership with Grameenphone, the country's largest mobile phone operator, with whom it signed a deal in August. MediaVest works with Telenor, which controls 55.8 percent of GP, across a number of markets around the world. "We have the same partnership...

Published Date: September 1, 2014
Development projects off to a slow start

Development projects off to a slow start

ADP implementation dropped 1 percentage point year-on-year in the first month of the fiscal year owing to slow utilisation of foreign fund. Only 2 percent, or Tk 1,847 crore, of the total allocation for Annual Development Programme (ADP) was used in the month of July -- the lowest implementation rate in four years. Of the...

Published Date: September 1, 2014
IT engineers to get global certificates

Bangladesh is set to become a member of Japan-based Information Technology Professionals Examination Council (ITPEC), paving the way for its IT professionals and graduates to get internationally recognised certificates. Bangladesh will conduct IT engineers examination every year and award such certificates, Telecom and ICT Minister Abdul Latif Siddique said at a press conference at the office of Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC) yesterday. BCC, the state-run institution, already started taking such examinations in April. Japan-based Information Technology Promotion Agency, a regulatory body for...

Published Date: September 1, 2014
Biman introduces two more apron buses

Biman Bangladesh Airlines has introduced two more apron buses to provide better ground handling services at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport. With the two, Biman has now seven apron buses that are used to transport passengers to and from or within airports. Air Marshal Jamal Uddin Ahmed (retired), chairman of Biman's board of directors, launched the buses at a function at the airport on Thursday. The buses that can carry 70 passengers each with sufficient room for luggage were made in Germany, Biman...

Published Date: September 1, 2014
Stocks fall in thin trade

Stocks declined for the second day yesterday as investor participation in trade declined for a half-day nationwide strike. DSEX, the benchmark general index of the Dhaka Stock Exchange, declined 28.48 points or 0.62 percent, to close at 4,559. DSES, the shariah index of the Dhaka bourse, closed at 1,057 points, after falling 8.75 points or 0.82 percent. “The market declined amid a weak participation by investors. This can be attributed to the nationwide strike,” said LankaBangla Securities. Turnover, the most important indicator of...

Published Date: September 1, 2014
Air Arabia starts Ctg-Ras Al Khaimah flights Tuesday

Air Arabia, the Middle East's first and largest low-cost carrier, will run three flights a week from its new hub in Ras Al Khaimah in the UAE to Chittagong in Bangladesh, beginning Tuesday, the airline said in a statement yesterday. “Air Arabia is delighted to announce the introduction of our new service between Ras Al Khaimah and Chittagong. We have a strong association with Bangladesh having run flights to the country since 2007,” said Adel Ali, group chief executive of...

Published Date: September 1, 2014
Launchpad Bangladesh concludes first season

Launchpad Bangladesh concludes first season

A Bangladeshi web portal— Environmentmove.com—which deals with nature, wildlife, agriculture and environmental issues, became the champion of the first season of Launchpad Bangladesh. The grand finale of the capacity building training boot camp programme for startups took place at the senate building of Dhaka University in the capital on Friday. Launchpad Bangladesh was initiated by...

Published Date: September 1, 2014
GTV gets new managing director

GTV gets new managing director

Aman Ashraf Faiz is set to take charge of Gazi Satellite Television as managing director today, the company said in a statement yesterday. Faiz has extensive work experience of over 15 years in local and international organisations in brand building, media channel management, brand activation, rural marketing, marketing research and PR management, the company said. He has previously worked with Unilever Bangladesh and Grameenphone, according to the statement. “I am extremely thankful to the Gazi family for giving me the opportunity to work for the television industry of the country,” Faiz said of his appointment. “I am starting my journey to bring great television screen for the audience of Gazi Satellite Television.

Published Date: September 1, 2014
India court should decide fast on coal mine fate: Jaitley

India court should decide fast on coal mine fate: Jaitley

India's Supreme Court needs to decide fast on the fate of nearly 220 coal blocks it has declared illegal, India's Finance Minister Arun Jaitley said Saturday, as the nation grapples with already bad fuel shortages. The court will hold a hearing Monday to consider what to do with the 218 coal licences awarded to...

Published Date: September 1, 2014
India better prepared for US Fed rate hike: Rajan

India better prepared for US Fed rate hike: Rajan

India is better prepared to handle the impact of interest rate increases in the United States as foreign funds are less likely to desert the country due to signs of an upturn in economic growth, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) chief said in an interview published on Sunday. RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan's comments...

Published Date: September 1, 2014
Swatch prefers go-it-alone route for smartwatch plans

Swatch Group is happy to go it alone with a launch next year of watches with "smart" features to compete with so-called wearable gadgets from the big tech companies, a market potentially worth $93 billion. The world's biggest watchmaker, which sees the advent of smartwatches as an opportunity rather than a threat, will unveil its new Swatch Touch next summer. Swatch Chief Executive Nick Hayek said these new watches might allow the wearer to count the number of steps they take...

Published Date: September 1, 2014
Indonesia grapples with fuel subsidy storm

Just weeks before Joko Widodo takes office, a ham-fisted attempt by the state energy firm to tackle huge fuel subsidies has sparked panic buying and highlighted the most pressing economic issue confronting Indonesia's next president. The subsidies are a perennial dilemma for Indonesian leaders -- economists have long decried the expensive payouts as unsustainable, yet cutting them is hugely unpopular, and has in the past sparked violent protests. But with economic growth slowing, observers say Indonesia can little afford to keep...

Published Date: September 1, 2014
Carmakers force the smiles at Russia's car show

The latest models gleam at the Moscow car show, but Russian sales have dropped because of the Ukraine crisis and the shine has gone off a key growth market. Hostesses in cocktail dresses and high heels fawn over the cars as they do every year, and sober-suited executives boast about the newest features, but the smiles seem somewhat forced at this edition of the Moscow International Automobile Salon. More than one million people are expected to visit the show, which closes...

Published Date: September 1, 2014
EU could send over €1b more aid to Ukraine

The European Union may disburse more than one billion euros in loans to Ukraine over the coming months and could consider further aid beyond that, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said on Saturday. In March, the EU offered an 11 billion euro ($14.45 billion) package of loans and grants to Ukraine over the next several years to help get the shattered economy back on its feet. Ukraine has been caught in a geopolitical tug of war between the EU and...

Published Date: August 31, 2014
Threat still exists in economy

Threat still exists in economy

A threat still exists in the economy although peace was restored in the country eight months ago through the January 5 national election, Finance Minister AMA Muhith said yesterday. “The place of peace is a very important factor for development. We suffered a lot last year for the absence of peace. Fortunately, people rejected...

Published Date: August 31, 2014
EPZ investors worried over trade union

Foreign investors in the export processing zones (EPZs) do not want trade unionism as any agitation or demonstration in such specialised industrial zones will hamper production and overseas trade. “We are worried about protecting our investment as the cabinet agreed to amend the EPZ law, which will allow unionism in the EPZs,” said a Japanese investor in Chittagong Export Processing Zone (CEPZ), asking not to be named. “We do not want any new unionism as we already have a workers' welfare...

Published Date: August 31, 2014
International incoming call rates to fall by a half

The government has decided to slash the international incoming call rates by 50 percent to 1.5 cents a minute on a test basis for the next six months to discourage illegal call trafficking. An official of the Prime Minister's Office said the proposal, which was put forward by the telecom regulator several months ago, was approved by the premier on Thursday. Sunil Kanti Bose, chairman of the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission, said: “We want to slash the call rates to examine...

Published Date: August 31, 2014
Four state banks' CSR spending suspended

The government has temporarily suspended corporate social responsibility activities of four state banks in a bid to arrest the misuse of funds. Janata, Agrani, Rupali and Bangladesh Development Bank are forbidden from spending any money under CSR until further notice, the finance ministry's banking division said on Thursday.  “It has been observed that board members of some state banks have been spending a lot of money in the name of CSR. It has created a negative impact on the banks' capital...

Published Date: August 31, 2014
Political uncertainty, banking risks hurting economy: Fitch

Fitch, one of the three most important credit rating agencies in the world, has identified political uncertainty and the underlying vulnerability in the banking sector, especially the state banks, as big risks to the Bangladesh economy. “This most recent episode in Bangladesh's political history highlights prolonged high political risk levels. Continued political polarisation and uncertainty may impact economic activity through long-term investment decisions,” Fitch said in its latest review of Bangladesh. Political tensions and violence that marked the run-up to the...

Published Date: August 31, 2014
Government to revise seed policy

The government is set to revise the two-decade old national seed policy to make it compatible with the present day need and help the seed sector flourish, Agriculture Secretary SM Nazmul Islam said. He shared the plan at a seminar organised by Bangladesh Seed Association (BSA), a trade-body of 180-private sector seed marketers, at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre in Dhaka yesterday. Islam said the supply of quality seed has increased over time due to concerted efforts of both public and private...

Published Date: August 31, 2014
Watch out for risks to economy

Watch out for risks to economy

The global financial crisis of 2008-2009 and the lingering global growth slowdown in its aftermath are vivid examples of how imbalance and instability in macroeconomic and financial environments create downward spirals, Bangladesh Bank Governor Atiur Rahman said yesterday. “It is, therefore, of utmost importance to remain watchful against risks or threats to stability and...

Published Date: August 31, 2014
Pubali to introduce fast remittance transfer from Malaysia next week

Pubali to introduce fast remittance transfer from Malaysia next week

Pubali Bank has tied up with Merchantrade Asia Sdn Bhd, Malaysia's biggest remittance services provider, to provide quick and better services to migrant workers' families. The new arrangement, which will take effect from next week, will allow the families of workers back home to withdraw money within a minute the remittance is made at...

Published Date: August 31, 2014
BSEC top official to join global body of securities commissions

BSEC top official to join global body of securities commissions

Farhad Ahmed, an executive director of Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission, has recently been appointed as an enforcement and cooperation adviser of the International Organisation of Securities Commissions (IOSCO). He would be the first Bangladeshi to serve the association of national securities regulatory agencies for two years. He will be mainly responsible for supporting the stockmarket regulators that are yet to sign multilateral memorandum of understandings (MMoU) with the association. Ahmed will also provide the organisation with technical assistance. BSEC spokesman Saifur Rahman confirmed that the stockmarket regulator in a meeting last week approved Ahmed's proposal of joining IOSCO. The finance ministry will give the final approval. The MMoU, which sets an international benchmark...

Published Date: August 31, 2014
Starcom MediaVest's senior official in town

Starcom MediaVest's senior official in town

Ranganathan Somanathan, chief operating officer of Starcom MediaVest Group, is due to arrive in Dhaka for a two-day visit today, SMG said in a statement yesterday. Somanathan will meet colleagues from Bangladesh and a number of key clients and stakeholders during the visit, it said. Somanathan was named chief operative for Southeast Asia in January 2013 to spearhead the next phase of growth and development for the region, it said. As part of the newly-created role, his focus will be on SMG's agency brands, operations and divisions which include Starcom, MediaVest, Spark Communications and LiquidThread, across six key markets including Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam. Prior to this, Somanathan led...

Published Date: August 31, 2014
India nears $2.5b deal for Boeing military helicopters

India has decided to acquire Boeing's Chinook and Apache helicopters, a defence ministry official said on Saturday, in a deal valued at $2.5 billion that could ease strained ties between New Delhi and Washington. The new nationalist-led government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has grand plans to vastly strengthen India's military capability, in order to play its role as a regional power and meet challenges posed by a rising China and arch rival Pakistan. "The defence aquisition council has cleared the...

Published Date: August 31, 2014
Reliance plans $13b projects including new refinery

Reliance Industries Ltd plans to invest about $13 billion in energy projects, including a 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) crude refinery at its Jamnagar complex, documents seen by Reuters show. The refinery would process cheap, heavy crudes that are increasingly available to Asia as the shale boom has cut US demand for the grades. Reliance, controlled by billionaire Mukesh Ambani, operates the world's biggest refining complex in Gujarat, where its two adjacent plants can process about 1.4 million bpd of oil. The...

Published Date: August 31, 2014
China announces cuts to executive salaries at state companies

China's top leaders decided on Friday to cut salaries and restrict expense accounts and other perks of executives at state-owned enterprises (SOEs), official media reported, as they pursue a crackdown on corruption and extravagance. The decision was taken at a meeting of top leaders of the ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) and chaired by party General Secretary Xi Jinping, the state-run Xinhua news agency said. "The Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee approved plans to reform the system that...