• Sunday, November 23, 2014

Business

Cotton use to rise fast, led by textile growth

Cotton use to rise fast, led by textile growth

Bangladesh's annual cotton consumption will accelerate 50 percent to six million bales in four years as garment exports are on the rise, the International Cotton Association (ICA) said yesterday. Bangladeshi spinners now consume more than four million bales of imported cotton a year, with the growth in consumption rate being between 10 percent and 15 percent per annum.  Jordan Lea, president of the ICA, the Liverpool-based policymaking body for cotton trade, said Bangladesh's garment industry is growing...

Construction brings highest worker deaths this year: survey

Construction brings highest worker deaths this year: survey

The construction sector brought about the highest number of worker deaths...

LDCs must participate more in world economy

   The least-developed countries, including Bangladesh, should re-evaluate their domestic policies to improve investment climate to better integrate with the global value...

Horlicks the best brand

Horlicks the best brand

Horlicks, a health food drink from GlaxoSmithKline, came out as the...

Trade deficit doubles in Q1

Trade deficit almost doubled to $2.4 billion in the first quarter of the current fiscal year due to rising imports and falling exports. Import growth—13.62 percent—outpaced export growth, which was 0.94 percent. In the period, food grain imports fell 32.90 percent year-on-year, but capital machinery imports rose 22 percent and petroleum 53 percent, according to data on letters of credit settlement. Although trade deficit widened, the overall surplus was significant in the first quarter, as remittances, foreign direct investment and medium- and...

India targets reforms in new parliament session

India targets reforms in new parliament session

India's Finance Minister Arun Jaitley promised Friday to make progress during the upcoming parliamentary session on a string of economic reforms, including a national tax to create a single internal market. The right-wing government led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi was elected in May with the biggest parliamentary mandate in three decades on a...

Sanofi still has a 'driver in the seat' after shakeup

The temporary head of French drugmaker Sanofi insisted the firm still had a bright future Thursday, declaring there was still "a driver in the seat" despite a sudden change in leadership. Sanofi, one of France's largest companies, fired its chief executive three weeks ago after a row over his management style, troubling investors and sending stocks plummeting. Serge Weinberg, appointed as a temporary replacement, sought to dispel doubts Thursday, presenting what he said was an accelerated launch of 18 new drugs...

Apple $450m e-book settlement gets final court approval

A US judge on Friday gave final approval to Apple Inc's agreement to pay $450 million to resolve claims it harmed consumers by conspiring with five publishers to raise e-book prices. During a hearing in Manhattan, US District Judge Denise Cote approved what she called a "highly unusual" accord. It calls for Apple to pay $400 million to as many as 23 million consumers if the company is unsuccessful in appealing a ruling that found it liable for antitrust violations. The...

Amazon plans ad-supported video streaming service

Online retailer Amazon.com Inc will release a new ad-supported video streaming service early next year, the New York Post reported, citing sources. The service will be separate from the company's $99-a-year Prime membership, which includes a video service, the Post reported. The Post did not say if the new service would be free or chargeable. Amazon's Prime service costs $99 a year. Amazon was not immediately available for comment. The new service will compete directly with Hulu and Netflix Inc, whose charges...

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EU could give France until 2015 on budget

The EU could delay a decision on France's budget overshoot until early 2015 instead of making a ruling next week as expected, sources said on Friday. Under new powers given to Brussels during the eurozone debt crisis, the European Commission is set to deliver official opinions on euro government budget plans for next year. Last month, France and Italy barely avoided having their budgets humiliatingly sent back for serious breaches, with France set for a deficit of 4.3 percent of GDP...

Once a stopover, Morocco becoming home for migrants

Once a stopover, Morocco becoming home for migrants

In a back alley in the Moroccan capital, the small household repair shop opened by Moctar Toure since escaping conflict in his native Ivory Coast is doing a brisk business. At the gates of Europe, Morocco has long been a transit point for migrants from sub-Saharan Africa looking to make the dangerous journey across...

Europe may propose Google break-up

The European Parliament is preparing a non-binding resolution that proposes splitting Google Inc's search engine operations in Europe from the rest of its business as one possible option to rein in the Internet company's dominance in the search market. European politicians have grown increasingly concerned about Google's and other American companies' command of the Internet industry, and have sought ways to curb their power. A public call for a break-up would be the most far-reaching action proposed and a significant...

Form a support institute for SMEs: analysts

An apex body should be formed for facilitating small and medium enterprises (SMEs) such that the sector's contribution towards economic growth and development is enhanced, speakers said at a seminar yesterday. The association will promote SME entrepreneurs by providing various services such as credit facilitation, skill development, technology transfer, exhibitions and trainings, export-import facilitation, risk management service and solutions to problems. It may be similar to the Integrated Association of Micro Small and Medium Enterprises of India, popularly known as 'IamSME...

British insurer Aviva reveals talks to buy rival for £5.5b

British insurer Aviva said late Friday that it is in advanced talks to buy rival Friends Life for £5.5 billion ($8.6 billion, 6.9 billion euros) to create the nation's biggest insurance, savings and asset management firm. The pair said in a statement that they have reached agreement on key terms of a "possible" deal, under which Friends Life shareholders would receive 0.74 Aviva ordinary shares for each Friends Life ordinary share. The possible offer is worth 398.9 pence per Friends Life...

Published Date: November 21, 2014
NBR's intelligence efforts pay off

The central intelligence cell (CIC) of the National Board of Revenue has detected tax evasion of Tk 1,581 crore by individuals and firms in nine years to fiscal 2013-14. The intelligence unit, which was formed in January 2004, has so far collected Tk 725 crore from these tax dodgers, according to a report by the CIC. The amount detected is insignificant given the culture of rampant tax dodging in the country, said Ahsan H Mansur, executive director of Policy Research Institute...

Published Date: November 21, 2014
Hopes for better business climate

Hopes for better business climate

Bangladesh's business environment looks set to improve in the next five years, according to a global ranking report released by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) yesterday. The EIU in its Business Environment Rankings graded Bangladesh as the 69th investor-friendly location among 82 nations for 2014-18 as the country advanced by two notches from the...

Published Date: November 21, 2014
New chief executive for GP

New chief executive for GP

Rajeev Sethi has been appointed as the chief executive of Grameenphone, the country's biggest mobile operator said in a statement yesterday. Sethi is scheduled to join office on December 1, replacing Vivek Sood. Sood, who took charge of GP in January 2013, will move back to India to join Uninor as its CEO. Prior to his Bangladesh assignment, Sood served Uninor as its chief financial officer. “I'm honoured to join Grameenphone and become part of the efforts to provide 'internet for all' in Bangladesh,” Sethi said in his message. “I'm humble and grateful for the opportunity to join the team and serving more than 50 million customers with critical mobile services.” Prior to the...

Published Date: November 21, 2014
Solar panel makers urge govt to curb cheap imports

Manufacturers of solar panels can meet the entire demand of the country, but competition from low quality and cheaper Chinese imports is holding them back. An increased use of local products in solar home systems will help save foreign currency and boost the renewable energy sector, the manufacturers said. “We are now fully capable of meeting the country's demand for solar panels,” said Tanjil Chowdhury, president of Solar Module Manufacturers Association of Bangladesh. Currently, nine local companies produce solar panels with a...

Published Date: November 21, 2014
Merger fever back on Wall Street

Mega-merger fever is back on Wall Street, six years after the financial crisis, and 2014 is shaping up as a record year for takeovers in a sign of US corporate optimism. In rapid succession on Monday, pharmaceutical giant Actavis said it would pay $66 billion for Allergan, which makes the wrinkle-eraser Botox, and oilfield services company Halliburton said it would take over rival Baker Hughes for $34.6 billion. Times have never been riper for big deals, mergers-and-acquisitions bankers told AFP. "A number...

Published Date: November 21, 2014
Apple, Xiaomi trade smartphone barbs in China

Top executives from US technology giant Apple and Chinese smartphone upstart Xiaomi traded light-hearted barbs on Thursday at a Chinese Internet conference, acknowledging the fierce competition between the rivals. Apple's iPhones and iPads are wildly popular in China, encouraging smuggling and crowds at the company's stores as consumers try to lay their hands on the latest products. Yet Apple stood in sixth place in China's fractured smartphone market with only a 6.9 percent share in the March-June period according to consultancy...

Published Date: November 21, 2014
Modi's divide and rule weakens Coal India unions as strike looms

A rift between the five powerful labour unions at Coal India Ltd is set to clear the way for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government to complete a stake sale in the state company that is critical to hitting budget targets. One of the unions, close to Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), says it has the backing of half of Coal India's 370,000 workers and will not join a strike on Monday to oppose plans to sell 10 percent of the...

Published Date: November 21, 2014
Indians get taste for branded edible oil as prices drop

Indians get taste for branded edible oil as prices drop

After years of buying cooking oil sold in plastic bags at a village store, farmer Kisan Pawar has made the jump to branded packs of soyoil from a retail chain. Falling prices of imported oil and a marketing drive that often plays on health concerns over unbranded sales are prompting more Indians like Pawar...

Published Date: November 21, 2014
Hyundai shipyard union stages first strike in 18yrs

Unionised workers at South Korea's Hyundai Heavy Industries staged their first walkout in 18 years Thursday as the world's largest shipbuilder reels from a protracted business slump. The shipyard's union said thousands walked out from a scheduled one hour of extra work after their regular eight-hour shift over pay. It added warned it would consider an all-out strike unless its demands are met. "After today's walkout, we will step up our action and may launch a strike involving all our members...

Published Date: November 21, 2014
Gulf to reject Opec cuts to guard oil market share: analysts

Gulf oil producers led by Saudi Arabia will likely reject output cuts at an Opec meeting next week unless they are guaranteed their market share in a highly competitive market, analysts say. The stance of Kuwait, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia is seen as crucial for a positive Opec decision on reducing supplies to boost crude prices, which have shed a third of their value since June. The four pump a total 16.2 million barrels per day, or 52...

Published Date: November 20, 2014
Tk 500cr social obligation fund sits idle

Tk 500cr social obligation fund sits idle

The telecom regulator has so far collected Tk 500 crore from mobile operators for a "social obligation fund", but the government is yet to start spending the money in absence of rules on how to use the fund. The telecom ministry said it has almost finalised the rules. But analysts and some officials of the ministry termed the proposed rules ambiguous, saying those will create complexities in utilising the fund. Law binds Bangladesh Telecommuni-cation Regulatory Commission to create the fund "for extending telecommunication facility in the areas deprived of such facility." The law does not mention any other purpose of the fund. However, six mobile operators now cover 99 percent areas of...

Published Date: November 20, 2014
Next 5-year plan to boost growth, says minister

The next five-year development plan will boost growth and investment and attach importance to the country's impoverished regions, Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal said yesterday. "We will have to include the poor living in char, coastal and haor areas in the plan," he said while speaking at a meeting with businesspeople and bankers, at the National Economic Council in the city. He said the seventh development plan must take into consideration the growing number of population in urban cities. At present, 54...

Published Date: November 20, 2014
Women face glass ceiling in garment sector

Women face glass ceiling in garment sector

Traditional gender bias limits the career prospects of female production workers in Bangladesh's garment industry, a recent study found. Around 85 percent of the machines in the garment industry are operated by women, but they hardly have scope to graduate to managerial posts as their male counterparts overwhelmingly dominate those positions.  The findings of the...

Published Date: November 20, 2014
The poor coming out of food price shock: study

The poor are gradually coming out of the shock from food price spirals but they remain concerned about the safety and nutritional quality of their diet, a recent study found. The Development Research Initiative, Oxfam and the Institute of Development Studies jointly conducted the study. The survey, which took place between 2009 and 2014 following the global food price crisis in 2007-08, was carried out on the poor living in Dhaka and its outskirts, Koira of Khulna, Dhamoirhat of...

Published Date: November 20, 2014
Shahjibazar hits the lower price band spot market debut

Shahjibazar Power Company yesterday made its trading debut on the spot market and along the way, hit the lower end of the price band and the circuit breaker. The power company's entrance in the spot market comes after a decision by Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission, taken to contain the stock's price spiralling. Spot market trading means investors will have to pay cash for the transaction and the settlement period would be just one day. The BSEC also marked Shahjibazar stocks...

Published Date: November 20, 2014
Bangladesh-based projects win Holcim sustainable construction award

Bangladesh-based projects win Holcim sustainable construction award

Two construction projects based in Bangladesh have recently won the Holcim Awards for Sustainable Construction 2014. At the ceremony held in Indonesia, Nusrat Jahan Mim, an architect and lecturer at Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology, was awarded for her project titled “Portable housing for urban poor in Bangladesh”. This is for the first time...

Published Date: November 20, 2014
Modi pledges $70m credit for Fiji sugar industry

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday pledged a multi-million dollar line of credit for Fiji's struggling sugar industry, once worked by thousands of indentured labourers from India under appalling conditions. Sugar was the mainstay of the island economy under British colonial rule before falling into disarray during decades of political upheaval and racial tension between the descendants of early cane field workers and indigenous Fijians. India will provide a $70 million line of credit to build a co-generation power plant at...

Published Date: November 20, 2014
Bangladesh envoy meets US Congresswoman

Bangladesh has been implementing the commitments it made to all partners, including the EU and USA, to ensure the workers' rights and safety in the garment sector, Ambassador Mohammad Ziauddin said. “The government and the people in Bangladesh are committed to sustaining the changes to make the garment sector clean, dignified and productive and thus offering a win-win proposition for all,” said Ziauddin, Bangladesh ambassador to the US. Significant progress has already been made in the garment sector, the envoy said...

Published Date: November 20, 2014
Despite tourism boom, Greek recovery hampered by exports

Despite tourism boom, Greek recovery hampered by exports

The Greek economy may be basking in the glow of a record summer tourism season, but it is just one bright spot in a fragile recovery overshadowed by weak exports, economists say. After six years of recession, Greece got an economic boost from the May through September tourist season, welcoming more than 20 million...

Published Date: November 20, 2014
Quantum aims to build up foothold

Quantum aims to build up foothold

Quantum Consumer Solutions, a leading market research company, aims to more than double its earnings in Bangladesh in the next three years by conducting lots of qualitative studies, two senior officials of the company said yesterday. The Mumbai-based company wants to increase its annual revenue in Bangladesh to Tk 10 crore by 2017 from...

Published Date: November 20, 2014
Australia PM warns global climate deal must not hit economy

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Wednesday backed an "effective" climate pact being struck at global talks in France next year, but warned it could not come at the expense of the economy or jobs. French President Francois Hollande, on a state visit to Australia, also laid out his aim of seeking the worldwide, binding agreement in Paris after world leaders failed to agree new curbs in Copenhagen in 2009. "Yes, each country has to do its bit to tackle the...

Published Date: November 20, 2014
Under Modi, Israel and India forge deeper business ties

Under Modi, Israel and India forge deeper business ties

At the UN General Assembly in New York last September, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu set aside time for a critical meeting. But it wasn't President Barack Obama he was keen to see. It was Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Since Modi came to power in May, ties between Israel and India have been...

Published Date: November 20, 2014
Risky rewards for China's overseas investment boom

Risky rewards for China's overseas investment boom

China's inexorable economic rise is set to see it become a net global investor after decades of Western money flowing into the country, but analysts warn the change offers risks as well as profits. Chinese oil behemoth CNOOC's $15 billion acquisition of Canada's Nexen, completed last year, was just a fraction of the $625...

Published Date: November 20, 2014
Facebook launches tech news page

Facebook on Tuesday launched FB Techwire, billed as a showplace for technology talk shared by influential sources. "The goal of FB Techwire is to aid in the discovery of original content including breaking news, first-person analysis, photos and videos for journalists that care about and cover tech," Facebook said in an email to AFP. "With every breaking tech story, debate, launch or event we will find, verify and share the most relevant and high-value content to the tech community on Facebook...

Published Date: November 20, 2014
Energy giant Shell wins major India tax case

Anglo-dutch energy giant Royal Dutch Shell has won a lengthy court battle against Indian tax authorities, marking a significant victory for multinationals involved in taxation wrangles in the country. The Bombay High Court ruled in favour of Shell, whose Indian unit had been accused of under-pricing shares issued to its parent firm by about 180-billion rupees ($3 billion). The company had challenged a demand by Indian authorities for tax on the interest that would have been earned. The judges on Tuesday quashed...

Published Date: November 19, 2014
Join hands to plug loopholes in global financial system

Join hands to plug loopholes in global financial system

The developing and least-developed countries, including Bangladesh, should raise voices to plug the loopholes in the global financial system that cause economic crises, a Greek economist said yesterday. “We need more voices, collective actions on the part of developing countries,” Louka T Katseli, a professor of economics at the National Kapodistrian University of Athens,...

Published Date: November 19, 2014
Non-leather footwear: new export hope

Non-leather footwear: new export hope

Bangladesh is emerging as a leading supplier of non-leather footwear for low prices and good quality, according to industry people. The country is now supplying sports shoes, sandals, flip-flops and boots to a number of leading global retailers including H&M, Decathlon, Kappa, Skechers, Fila and Puma. Non-leather footwear exports stood at $171.57 million last fiscal year, which was 13.3 percent of the leather industry's total exports that year, according to Export Promotion Bureau. During the July-October period this year, exports of such footwear rose 11.47 percent year-on-year to $58.40 million.    An increased number of global retailers are sourcing artificial leather items from Bangladesh due to a rise in production costs in China,...

Published Date: November 19, 2014
Tourism adds Tk 16,409cr to GDP: study

The country's tourism sector directly accounts for 1.56 percent or Tk 16,409 crore of economic output, said a new study, highlighting the enormous potential the sector holds in accelerating development and social prosperity. As a direct contribution, the sector makes up 1.64 percent of total gross value added (GVA), according to the study commissioned by the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics. However, the sector would account for 6.25 percent of GDP and 6.57 percent of the GVA if the contribution of the...

Published Date: November 19, 2014
Khan Brothers flies high on debut despite dismal profit

Share prices of Khan Brothers PP Woven Bag Industries soared by eight times on its trading debut at the stock exchanges yesterday, although the company's net profit declined in the first quarter. Listed with a face value of Tk 10 each, Khan Brothers' share prices ranged between Tk 47 and Tk 80, before closing the day at Tk 76.6 on the Dhaka Stock Exchange. However, the company's net profit fell 9.54 percent to Tk 2.18 crore in the first quarter to...

Published Date: November 19, 2014
Shahjibazar goes to spot market

Shahjibazar Power's share trade will be relegated to the spot market from the public market today. This means that investors will now have to pay cash for the company's share transactions and have a settlement period of just one day. Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) took the decision yesterday, after looking into the unusual price hike of Shahjibazar shares recently. The power company's share prices rose 828 percent to Tk 338.8 since its listing on the stockmarket on July 15. The BSEC...

Published Date: November 19, 2014
Office space to beef up factory inspections on way

The government yesterday approved a project for setting up offices for the Department of Inspection for Factories and Establishment in nine districts and modernising the state-run factory inspection authority.   The government will spend an estimated Tk 72.5 crore for the project, which would be implemented by the labour and employment ministry. Under the project, offices of the factory inspection will be erected in Gazipur, Narayanganj, Barisal, Moulvibazar, Rangpur, Mymensingh, Faridpur and Comilla districts. At present, the department's activities are constrained by...

Published Date: November 19, 2014
Wartsila plans big in Bangladesh

Wartsila Bangladesh plans to increase its business operation in the country in the next 15 years. The Finland-based energy solution provider is also set to contribute to generating 500 MW power. Bangladesh offers huge investment opportunities as an emerging market, said Bjorn Rosengren, president and CEO of Wartsila Corporation, who is now visiting the country. Rosengren put forward a set of his company's future plan at a press briefing at Radisson hotel in the city recently. “Currently, our company makes up 5 percent...

Published Date: November 19, 2014
Import of Canadian agro-products rising

Agri-commodity imports from Canada are gradually increasing for production of high-quality grains in the North American country. Bangladeshi companies are increasing imports of Canadian agricultural items like wheat and lentils due to the supreme quality of the products, said Canadian High Commissioner Heather Cruden. “Canada is a leader in innovation in agricultural commodities, which is also a benefit for Bangladesh,” she added.   Bangladesh imported agricultural products worth CAD $528 million in 2013, an increase of 54 percent over the previous year,...

Published Date: November 19, 2014
Titan top boss in town

Titan top boss in town

Bhaskar Bhat, managing director of Titan Company Ltd, has arrived in Dhaka recently to attend the re-launching of Titan products at Bashundhara City in the capital today. Ghulam Mostafa, managing director of Kallol Group, will accompany Bhat during his visit to a number of outlets of Time Zone, authorised retail store of Titan watches and pens. Kallol Group owns Time Zone, the company said in a statement yesterday.

Published Date: November 19, 2014
Indian retailers hobble online as e-commerce firms race ahead

Indian retailers hobble online as e-commerce firms race ahead

The head of Future Group, one of India's largest and most established retailers, admits he can't keep up with web sites like Snapdeal and Flipkart when it comes to spending money to entice shoppers to buy online. Private investors have poured $2.3 billion into India's e-commerce companies so far this year, according to consulting...

Published Date: November 19, 2014
G20's new growth plans long in the tooth

As leaders of the world's 20 most powerful nations congratulate themselves on plans to boost economic growth, a closer look at their 800-plus policy proposals reveals a catalogue of measures that are either old, vague or unlikely to be implemented. Australia, the hosts of the Group of 20 meeting, claimed credit for a year-long effort to get members to adopt "extra" reforms that would add $2 trillion to the world economy and create millions of new jobs. Prime Minister Tony...