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ABG strikes deal with CSE on strategic partnership

Bashundhara’s sister concern to acquire 25pc stake

FE REPORT | November 21, 2022 12:00:00

ABG Ltd., a sister concern of Bashundhara Group signed a partnership deal with Chittagong Stock Exchange (CSE) at a ceremony held at a hotel in the port city of Chattogram on Sunday

ABG Ltd., a sister concern of Bashundhara Group, is set to become a key strategic partner of the Chittagong Stock Exchange (CSE) by acquiring 25-per cent stake of the bourse.

A partnership deal was signed between two sides on Sunday at a ceremony held at a hotel in the port city of Chittagong.

Md. Ghulam Faruque, the CSE's managing director (current charge), and Sayem Sobhan, managing director of ABG Ltd., signed the contract on behalf of their respective organisations.

Land Minister Saifuzzaman Chowdhury attended the programme as chief guest while Salman F Rahman, private industry and investment adviser to the Prime Minister, were present as guest of honour, a release said.

Rezaul Karim Chowdhury, mayor of Chittagong City Corporation, Barrister Mohibul Hasan Chowdhury Nowfel, deputy minister for Education, Prof. Shibli Rubayat Ul Islam, chairman of the securities regulator, and Ahmed Akbar Sobhan, chairman of Bashundhara Group, attended the programme as special guests.

The CSE chairman Asif Ibrahim chaired the programme.

As per the agreement, the ABG Ltd. will purchase 25 per cent stake of the port city bourse CSE at a price of Tk 15 per share totalling Tk 2.40 billion.

The land minister Saifuzzaman Chowdhury, MP said the partnership marked the entry of Bashundhara Group into the capital market.

"The main focus of the Bashundhara Group will be on building a commodity exchange and I think a new horizon will be opened through this strategic partnership," the minister said.

In his speech, Salman F Rahman, private industry and investment adviser to Prime Minister, said the country's tax to GDP ratio is very low.

"Nevertheless, the country has been able to ensure economic growth. The lack of sufficient institutional investors is a big weakness of the country's market," Mr. Rahmna said.

He said infrastructure development has been ensured but people who need to take the opportunity are not coming here.

"Bashundhara Group has come forward and other entrepreneurs should also come forward," Mr. Rahman said.

The BSEC Chairman Prof. Shibli Rubayat Ul Islam said the country's economy is performing well but the ultimate goal will not be ensured without proper management of products.

"We did not have a commodity exchange and now that void will be fulfilled at the CSE's initiative," Mr. Islam said.

He said a missing link will be established in the stock exchange through the CSE's strategic partner. The supply chains will work rationally through the commodity exchange," the BSEC chairman expressed the hope.

Ahmed Akbar Sobhan, chairman of Bashundhara Group, said the country is facing negative campaigns.

"Negative campaigns are responsible behind all crises including the shortage of dollar. The dollar crisis is being addressed through the initiative of the central bank," Mr. Sobhan said.

He said the country could become self-dependent through the local investments.

"Sometime we have executed some brave decisions and now the Bashundhara is going to have a gold refinery."

He said the capital market will see a daily turnover of Tk 100 billion if the confidence is restored and entrepreneurs play the supportive roles.

The deputy minister for education Mohibul Hasan Chowdhury Nowfel said the listing of multinational companies is very important as such companies are taking away profits without sharing their profits with the local people.

"MNCs should be listed through legal framework. The post-listing surveillance should also be enhanced," Mr. Nowfel felt.

On September 28, 2022 the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) approved the CSE's proposal of selling of a 25 per cent share to ABG Ltd., a sister concern of Bashundhara Group, as a strategic investor.

As per the demutualisation act, 40 per cent shares of the CSE were credited to the members' accounts, while the remaining 60 per cent were kept in a blocked account.

Of the 60 per cent, 25 per cent has been sold the strategic partner ABG Ltd and the remaining 35 per cent would be offered through the initial public offering (IPO).

Both the Dhaka and Chittagong Stock Exchange completed demutualisation process in November, 2013.

Earlier, a Chinese consortium comprising Shenzhen Stock Exchange and Shanghai Stock Exchange joined the Dhaka bourse as its strategic shareholder purchasing 25 per cent shares at a price of Tk 9.47 billion.

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