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H&M to source more merchandise from Bangladesh

Business Report

H&M Group CEO Karl-Johan Persson at a meeting with Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed at his secretariat office. BGMEA President Atiqul Islam was also present.

Breaking back the reservation caused to the global buyers community after the Rana Plaza collapse in which over 1200 workers perished, Swedish apparel retailer H&M now plans to increase its buying of apparels from Bangladesh as the country has significantly improved its safety and labour rights standards, the company official said.
Report said H&M Chief Executive Officer Karl Johan Persson has made the disclosure at the meeting with Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed and BGMEA president Atiqul Alam held in the city last week.
Persson said his company hoped to grow its business further in Bangladesh. He is now on a visit to Bangladesh and said he had met with suppliers, trade union leaders and different stakeholders and discussed different issues mainly related to safety and other labour standards.
He also met leaders of BGMEA (Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association) at the H&M office in Dhaka to discuss relevant issues while visiting here a couple of factories.
He said, Bangladesh has improved a lot in quality and prices, which is great, and we are looking for sustainability after a meeting with Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed at the secretariat in Dhaka.
He said he was satisfied with the present situation in the RMG sector in Bangladesh. Economic growth in the country is also impressive. A lot of improvements have taken place in the factories, which will greatly benefit the business.
However, Bangladesh needs to do more to deal with three challenges -- industrial relations, environmental issues and poor infrastructure -- for sustainable business growth, he said.
This was his first visit since the Rana Plaza building collapse. Earlier, Persson came to Dhaka in September 2012 when he announced the company's plan to double sourcing from Bangladesh and do business worth $3 billion in the next five years. H&M is the largest apparel buyer for Bangladesh, sourcing products from more than 250 factories.
H&M has six different brands and 3,300 stores across the globe. The brands are H&M, COS, Monki, Weekday, Cheap Monday and Other Stories. The company also buys garment from China, Vietnam and Cambodia.
The commerce minister, in his meeting with Persson, said the inspections by the two foreign agencies -- Accord and Alliance -- is a matter of pride for Bangladesh as they found more than 98 percent factories to be safe.
The Accord, a European sponsored platform of 186 retailers and brands, and the Alliance, a platform of 26-US based retailers and brands, shut down only three factories after inspections of nearly 1,800 factories.
“We can now proudly say that our factories are safe as the inspections were conducted by independent bodies,” said Ahmed.
He said the government has waived duties on the import of safety equipment so that the garment makers can build safe factories at cheaper costs, he added. We have also successfully addressed child labour issue as the ILO declared the country free from child labour in 1995,” Ahmed said.
Bangladesh amended the labour law, he said to allow full freedom of association by the workers and the government is now working to amend the EPZ (Export Processing Zone) law so that workers in the specialised zones can form trade unions, he said.
Fewer than 100 trade unions were allowed in Bangladesh over the last 30 years, but more than 208 unions were allowed in the last year and a half, he said referring to trade union rights in garments factories, he said.

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Business Report

H&M Group CEO Karl-Johan Persson at a meeting with Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed at his secretariat office. BGMEA President Atiqul Islam was also present.

Breaking back the reservation caused to the global buyers community after the Rana Plaza collapse in which over 1200 workers perished, Swedish apparel retailer H&M now plans to increase its buying of apparels from Bangladesh as the country has significantly improved its safety and labour rights standards, the company official said.
Report said H&M Chief Executive Officer Karl Johan Persson has made the disclosure at the meeting with Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed and BGMEA president Atiqul Alam held in the city last week.
Persson said his company hoped to grow its business further in Bangladesh. He is now on a visit to Bangladesh and said he had met with suppliers, trade union leaders and different stakeholders and discussed different issues mainly related to safety and other labour standards.
He also met leaders of BGMEA (Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association) at the H&M office in Dhaka to discuss relevant issues while visiting here a couple of factories.
He said, Bangladesh has improved a lot in quality and prices, which is great, and we are looking for sustainability after a meeting with Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed at the secretariat in Dhaka.
He said he was satisfied with the present situation in the RMG sector in Bangladesh. Economic growth in the country is also impressive. A lot of improvements have taken place in the factories, which will greatly benefit the business.
However, Bangladesh needs to do more to deal with three challenges -- industrial relations, environmental issues and poor infrastructure -- for sustainable business growth, he said.
This was his first visit since the Rana Plaza building collapse. Earlier, Persson came to Dhaka in September 2012 when he announced the company's plan to double sourcing from Bangladesh and do business worth $3 billion in the next five years. H&M is the largest apparel buyer for Bangladesh, sourcing products from more than 250 factories.
H&M has six different brands and 3,300 stores across the globe. The brands are H&M, COS, Monki, Weekday, Cheap Monday and Other Stories. The company also buys garment from China, Vietnam and Cambodia.
The commerce minister, in his meeting with Persson, said the inspections by the two foreign agencies -- Accord and Alliance -- is a matter of pride for Bangladesh as they found more than 98 percent factories to be safe.
The Accord, a European sponsored platform of 186 retailers and brands, and the Alliance, a platform of 26-US based retailers and brands, shut down only three factories after inspections of nearly 1,800 factories.
“We can now proudly say that our factories are safe as the inspections were conducted by independent bodies,” said Ahmed.
He said the government has waived duties on the import of safety equipment so that the garment makers can build safe factories at cheaper costs, he added. We have also successfully addressed child labour issue as the ILO declared the country free from child labour in 1995,” Ahmed said.
Bangladesh amended the labour law, he said to allow full freedom of association by the workers and the government is now working to amend the EPZ (Export Processing Zone) law so that workers in the specialised zones can form trade unions, he said.
Fewer than 100 trade unions were allowed in Bangladesh over the last 30 years, but more than 208 unions were allowed in the last year and a half, he said referring to trade union rights in garments factories, he said.


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Grameenphone users hit 50 million mark

Business Report

Grameenphone has become the first operator in Bangladesh to have fifty million users beating back all others in the mobile telecom sector.
The country’s largest mobile operator, which holds a 42 percent market share of the mobile users in Bangladesh, announced the unique achievement at a press briefing held at a local hotel in the city on Tuesday.
“Today we celebrate our customers with this milestone achievement,” said the operator’s CEO Vivek Sood. He hoped the number of subscribers using internet through Grameenphone will also touch 50 million. Grameenphone’s first ever customer Laili Begum and its latest one 'Arif' were given special honours during the event.
Sood said the company started its journey 17 years ago with the pledge to provide quality service without any compromise to its customers. “I am happy to say that we have not wavered . We will ensure the best services for our customers … they remain our utmost priority.” Norway’s Telenor Group owns 55.8 percent of its shares.
“Telenor operates in 13 countries but Grameenphone has the highest number of users,” said Sood. Grameenphone has become the first operator to bring all the 64 districts under its 3G network , that being crucial to its plans to provide “Internet for all”. Its network currently operates from more than 8,600 base stations.

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Business Report

Grameenphone has become the first operator in Bangladesh to have fifty million users beating back all others in the mobile telecom sector.
The country’s largest mobile operator, which holds a 42 percent market share of the mobile users in Bangladesh, announced the unique achievement at a press briefing held at a local hotel in the city on Tuesday.
“Today we celebrate our customers with this milestone achievement,” said the operator’s CEO Vivek Sood. He hoped the number of subscribers using internet through Grameenphone will also touch 50 million. Grameenphone’s first ever customer Laili Begum and its latest one 'Arif' were given special honours during the event.
Sood said the company started its journey 17 years ago with the pledge to provide quality service without any compromise to its customers. “I am happy to say that we have not wavered . We will ensure the best services for our customers … they remain our utmost priority.” Norway’s Telenor Group owns 55.8 percent of its shares.
“Telenor operates in 13 countries but Grameenphone has the highest number of users,” said Sood. Grameenphone has become the first operator to bring all the 64 districts under its 3G network , that being crucial to its plans to provide “Internet for all”. Its network currently operates from more than 8,600 base stations.


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MTB Opens new branch at Mirsarai

Business Report

Mutual Trust Bank Limited (MTB) opened its 98th branch recently at Bhuiyan Market at Abu Torab Bazar in Mirsarai, Chittagong at a simple ceremony held at the branch premises.
Managing Director, Clifton Group, M. Jalal Uddin Chowdhury opened the branch as the Chief Guest.  MTB Deputy Managing Directors Md. Hashem Chowdhury & Md Zakir Hussain, its Group Chief Communications Officer, Sami Al Hafiz, local elite, leaders of local business associations, senior bank officials and managers of nearby MTB branches attended the program.
Speakers on the occasion appreciated MTB’s endeavor of expanding its network in the port city and hoped that the Bank will continue to provide quality services to customers.
As part of MTB’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), it offered scholarships to 30 meritorious and less privileged students of surrounding areas. An ATM outlet was also opened at the branch premises on the occasion.

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Business Report

Mutual Trust Bank Limited (MTB) opened its 98th branch recently at Bhuiyan Market at Abu Torab Bazar in Mirsarai, Chittagong at a simple ceremony held at the branch premises.
Managing Director, Clifton Group, M. Jalal Uddin Chowdhury opened the branch as the Chief Guest.  MTB Deputy Managing Directors Md. Hashem Chowdhury & Md Zakir Hussain, its Group Chief Communications Officer, Sami Al Hafiz, local elite, leaders of local business associations, senior bank officials and managers of nearby MTB branches attended the program.
Speakers on the occasion appreciated MTB’s endeavor of expanding its network in the port city and hoped that the Bank will continue to provide quality services to customers.
As part of MTB’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), it offered scholarships to 30 meritorious and less privileged students of surrounding areas. An ATM outlet was also opened at the branch premises on the occasion.


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Bangladesh to join China-led Asian Infrastructure Bank

Business Report

Coping with unleashing changes in the global financial system, Bangladesh is scheduled to ink an agreement to join the proposed China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank on October 24, news report said quoting sources at the Ministry of Finance last week. It said a delegation of the ministry will leave Dhaka for Beijing on October 22 to join the new Bank as a member that will mainly focus on infrastructure development and connectivity within Asia.
The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is being rated as a bank equal to the standards of World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. Twenty-three countries, including the USA, Japan, Kuwait, India and South Korea, showed their interest to join the Bank. Its approved capital base has been estimated at $100 billion.
The plan of forming the bank was first announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang during their visits to southeastern Asian countries in October 2013.
The finance ministry of China in a statement in July this year said the proposed bank would have a capital of $50 billion, to be paid by its member countries. The bank would have a mandate to fund infrastructure projects in the region, complementing the work of other such entities, like the Asian Development Bank.

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Business Report

Coping with unleashing changes in the global financial system, Bangladesh is scheduled to ink an agreement to join the proposed China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank on October 24, news report said quoting sources at the Ministry of Finance last week. It said a delegation of the ministry will leave Dhaka for Beijing on October 22 to join the new Bank as a member that will mainly focus on infrastructure development and connectivity within Asia.
The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is being rated as a bank equal to the standards of World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. Twenty-three countries, including the USA, Japan, Kuwait, India and South Korea, showed their interest to join the Bank. Its approved capital base has been estimated at $100 billion.
The plan of forming the bank was first announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang during their visits to southeastern Asian countries in October 2013.
The finance ministry of China in a statement in July this year said the proposed bank would have a capital of $50 billion, to be paid by its member countries. The bank would have a mandate to fund infrastructure projects in the region, complementing the work of other such entities, like the Asian Development Bank.


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“EuroStar-2” Deep Sea Fishing Vassal launched

Business Report

A Deep Sea Fishing Vessel named “EuroStar-2” with a load capacity of 205 MT was commissioned at Chittagong port on October 12. Shahjalal Islami Bank Limited funded the construction of the ship at a cost of Tk 21,30 crore. Chairman of Board of Directors of Shahjalal Islami Bank Limited and former FBCCI chief A K Azad inaugurated the EuroStar-2 at the port jetty in presence of business men and city elite in a befitting function.
Md. Helal Uddin Chowdhury, Managing Partner of M/s. TH fishing Company, Vice-Chairman of Shahjalal Islami Bank Alhaj Mohammad Younus, Former Chairman and Director Alhaj Akkasuddin Mollah, Director Alhaj Md. Sanaullah Shahid, Managing Director Farman R Chowdhury, Additional Managing Director Masihul Huq Chowdhury and President of Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry  Mahbubul Alam were, among others present.
A K. Azad told the gathering that Shahjalal Islami Bank is working on diversifying investment at various export sectors and financial of EuroStar-2 is one such example of its contribution to the country’s export sector development.

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Business Report

A Deep Sea Fishing Vessel named “EuroStar-2” with a load capacity of 205 MT was commissioned at Chittagong port on October 12. Shahjalal Islami Bank Limited funded the construction of the ship at a cost of Tk 21,30 crore. Chairman of Board of Directors of Shahjalal Islami Bank Limited and former FBCCI chief A K Azad inaugurated the EuroStar-2 at the port jetty in presence of business men and city elite in a befitting function.
Md. Helal Uddin Chowdhury, Managing Partner of M/s. TH fishing Company, Vice-Chairman of Shahjalal Islami Bank Alhaj Mohammad Younus, Former Chairman and Director Alhaj Akkasuddin Mollah, Director Alhaj Md. Sanaullah Shahid, Managing Director Farman R Chowdhury, Additional Managing Director Masihul Huq Chowdhury and President of Chittagong Chamber of Commerce and Industry  Mahbubul Alam were, among others present.
A K. Azad told the gathering that Shahjalal Islami Bank is working on diversifying investment at various export sectors and financial of EuroStar-2 is one such example of its contribution to the country’s export sector development.


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Accord finishes initial factory inspection

Business Report

Accord has so far inspected 1106 factories and detected 80,000 safety issues. It has also finalised over 400 Corrective Action Plans(CAP), in which brands are required to provide funds for factory remediation, reports bdnews24.com last week
It quoted Brad Loewen, the Accord’s Chief Safety Inspector as saying that they have found safety hazards in all factories and the safety shortcoming ranged from minor to significant. He also laid stress on implementing Corrective Action Plan to make all factories accident proof.
Accord found serious structural flaws in 17 buildings and requested Bangladesh government to evacuate those buildings temporarily.
Accord is also training workers and owners since July this year to involve them in  implementation of key Accord provisions. Unlike North American clothing brands’ group Alliance, the Europe based Accord does not provide wages to workers temporarily laid-off because of factory remediation. Besides training of workers, Accord now closely monitors the implementation of CAPs.
Its Executive Director, International Operations Alan Roberts said, “The next phase of the Accord will focus on implementation and monitoring of the CAPs and rolling out the training and worker participation program.”

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Business Report

Accord has so far inspected 1106 factories and detected 80,000 safety issues. It has also finalised over 400 Corrective Action Plans(CAP), in which brands are required to provide funds for factory remediation, reports bdnews24.com last week
It quoted Brad Loewen, the Accord’s Chief Safety Inspector as saying that they have found safety hazards in all factories and the safety shortcoming ranged from minor to significant. He also laid stress on implementing Corrective Action Plan to make all factories accident proof.
Accord found serious structural flaws in 17 buildings and requested Bangladesh government to evacuate those buildings temporarily.
Accord is also training workers and owners since July this year to involve them in  implementation of key Accord provisions. Unlike North American clothing brands’ group Alliance, the Europe based Accord does not provide wages to workers temporarily laid-off because of factory remediation. Besides training of workers, Accord now closely monitors the implementation of CAPs.
Its Executive Director, International Operations Alan Roberts said, “The next phase of the Accord will focus on implementation and monitoring of the CAPs and rolling out the training and worker participation program.”


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Acme Laboratories to float IPO in stock market

Business Report

Acme Laboratories will float IPO to raise funds from the market to finance its three new projects. The company plans to offer shares worth Tk 50 million to potential investors, the company’s Managing Director Mizanur Rahman Sinha told a press briefing at Acme’s Dhamrai factory on Saturday.
He said the company, now 60 years old, was worth Tk 23 billion. Md Fayekuzzaman, nominated director at Acme Laboratories and Managing Director of Investment Corp of Bangladesh (ICB) was also present. “Companies with good capital are needed for developing the stock market. ICB Capital Management Ltd has decided to be the lead manager for Acme’s public issue and will ensure it is listed on the stock market,” he said.
Acme has raked in profit worth Tk 894 million in 2014, Sinha said. Its per share earnings was Tk 5.65 and Net Asset Value (NAV) per share stood at Tk 66.16. Acme is among the three companies just behind the market leader Square Pharmaceuticals in sale of medicines in Bangladesh, Chief Financial Officer Jahangir Alam claimed. He said it controls 8 percent of the domestic market share and exports 70 types of drugs to 20 countries.
“Compared to last year, our sales have gone up by 15 percent until June, 2014. We export five percent of the total sale,” he said.

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Business Report

Acme Laboratories will float IPO to raise funds from the market to finance its three new projects. The company plans to offer shares worth Tk 50 million to potential investors, the company’s Managing Director Mizanur Rahman Sinha told a press briefing at Acme’s Dhamrai factory on Saturday.
He said the company, now 60 years old, was worth Tk 23 billion. Md Fayekuzzaman, nominated director at Acme Laboratories and Managing Director of Investment Corp of Bangladesh (ICB) was also present. “Companies with good capital are needed for developing the stock market. ICB Capital Management Ltd has decided to be the lead manager for Acme’s public issue and will ensure it is listed on the stock market,” he said.
Acme has raked in profit worth Tk 894 million in 2014, Sinha said. Its per share earnings was Tk 5.65 and Net Asset Value (NAV) per share stood at Tk 66.16. Acme is among the three companies just behind the market leader Square Pharmaceuticals in sale of medicines in Bangladesh, Chief Financial Officer Jahangir Alam claimed. He said it controls 8 percent of the domestic market share and exports 70 types of drugs to 20 countries.
“Compared to last year, our sales have gone up by 15 percent until June, 2014. We export five percent of the total sale,” he said.


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Moyeedul Islam is no more

Holiday Report

Mr Moyee-dul Islam, a life time chairman of United Insurance Company from 1989 and Vice-President of Diabetic Association of Bangladesh died on October 11 at the age of 92 in the city.
He was a charming personality and served the society in various capacity as a college teacher from undivided Bengal to be the first ever Bengali instructor at Kakul Military academy and later Vice president of Fauzderhat Cadet College. 
During Bangladesh time he served as the chairman of Bangladesh Public Service Commission, He also served as the Managing Director of Pakistan Insurance Corporation and later as Managing Director of Jiban Bima Corporation of Bangladesh. He also played important role in reforming the country’s education system and later became associated as a sponsor director to set up United Leasing in the insurance sector.
Moyedul Islam also served as the chairman of Bangladesh Time Trust from 1983 to 88 and ensured the publication of the daily. At his old age he however became confined to running the banner of Bangladesh diabetic movement and with the United Insurance.
He breathed his last at BIRDEM hospital which served over the years on voluntary basis. Friends well wishers and many business and charitable organizations he had served during his life time have condoned his death and prayed for the salvation of the departed soul.

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Holiday Report

Mr Moyee-dul Islam, a life time chairman of United Insurance Company from 1989 and Vice-President of Diabetic Association of Bangladesh died on October 11 at the age of 92 in the city.
He was a charming personality and served the society in various capacity as a college teacher from undivided Bengal to be the first ever Bengali instructor at Kakul Military academy and later Vice president of Fauzderhat Cadet College. 
During Bangladesh time he served as the chairman of Bangladesh Public Service Commission, He also served as the Managing Director of Pakistan Insurance Corporation and later as Managing Director of Jiban Bima Corporation of Bangladesh. He also played important role in reforming the country’s education system and later became associated as a sponsor director to set up United Leasing in the insurance sector.
Moyedul Islam also served as the chairman of Bangladesh Time Trust from 1983 to 88 and ensured the publication of the daily. At his old age he however became confined to running the banner of Bangladesh diabetic movement and with the United Insurance.
He breathed his last at BIRDEM hospital which served over the years on voluntary basis. Friends well wishers and many business and charitable organizations he had served during his life time have condoned his death and prayed for the salvation of the departed soul.


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Islami Bank Panchbibi branch opens

Business Report

Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited opened its 287th branch at Panchbibi, Joypurhat on October 15. Md. Shahiduzzaman Sarker MP and Whip of the Parliament inaugurated the branch as the chief guest.
Presided over by the Managing Director of the Bank Mohammad Abdul Mannan the program was addressed by Director of the Bank Humayun Bokhteyar ACPA, FCA, and General Manager of Bangladesh Bank, Bogra branch Monoj Kanti Boiragi,  spoke on the occasion.
Abdul Hakim Mondol, President, Joypurhat Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Abdul Aziz Molla, Mayor, Joypurhat Municipality, Mostafizar Rahman, Chairman, Panchbibi Upazila and Rafiqul Islam, Upazila Nirbahi Officer of Panchbibi and  Md. Mosharraf Hossain, Executive Vice President and head of Bogra Zone of the Bank also spoke, among others on the occasion.

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Business Report

Islami Bank Bangladesh Limited opened its 287th branch at Panchbibi, Joypurhat on October 15. Md. Shahiduzzaman Sarker MP and Whip of the Parliament inaugurated the branch as the chief guest.
Presided over by the Managing Director of the Bank Mohammad Abdul Mannan the program was addressed by Director of the Bank Humayun Bokhteyar ACPA, FCA, and General Manager of Bangladesh Bank, Bogra branch Monoj Kanti Boiragi,  spoke on the occasion.
Abdul Hakim Mondol, President, Joypurhat Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Abdul Aziz Molla, Mayor, Joypurhat Municipality, Mostafizar Rahman, Chairman, Panchbibi Upazila and Rafiqul Islam, Upazila Nirbahi Officer of Panchbibi and  Md. Mosharraf Hossain, Executive Vice President and head of Bogra Zone of the Bank also spoke, among others on the occasion.


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