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Sonali, Janata, Agrani likely to go public

The government is pressing ahead with its plan to offload shares of three state-owned commercial banks on the stock exchanges, officials said.

The authorities have started primary work on divesting the shares of Sonali, Janata and Agarani banks, aiming to give new life to the ailing capital market that needs supplies of good issues, they said.

At the same time, the government plans to divest more shares of Rupali Bank, which is now listed on the two bourses. Presently, more than 90 per cent shares of the bank is held by the government, 4.47 per cent by institutes, and only 5.34 per cent by the public.

To discuss the issue and review the economic health of the banks, finance minister AHM Mustafa Kamal has convened a meeting today (Sunday) at his secretariat office.

Governor of the central bank, chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, finance secretary, chief executives of the four state banks, chairman of the state-owned Investment Corporation of Bangladesh, and chief executive officer of the ICB Capital Management are expected to attend the meeting.

A senior official of the financial institution division told the FE that a few large commercial banks earn significant volume of profits every year.

The financial condition of these banks is comparatively good, he said.

“We are thinking about offloading some shares of these banks in the capital market,” the official said.

He said since these banks, especially Sonali Bank, rake in good profit every year, their shares will be in good demand in the stock markets.

Data show that Sonali Bank made Tk 10 billion profit in 2018, Tk 7.09 billion in 2017 and Tk 1.52 billion in 2016.

Janata Bank made a net profit of Tk 2.68 billion in 2017, but incurred a massive loss of Tk 60.63 billion in 2018.

Agrani Bank generated an operating profit of Tk 9.0 billion in 2018, compared with Tk 7.17 billion the year before.

Rupali Bank earned Tk 3.70 billion as operating profit in 2018, up from Tk 5.41 billion in 2017.

Last week, the government asked seven energy sector state-owned enterprises to complete the valuation of their assets in two months for the divestment of their shares on the bourses.

After the valuation of their assets in current prices, the government may divest 10 per cent to 25 per cent shares of these companies gradually.

The companies are: Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company Ltd, Power Grid Company of Bangladesh, North-West Power Generation Company Ltd Electricity Generation Company of Bangladesh, Ashuganj Power Station Company Ltd, B R Powergen Ltd, and Gas Transmission Company Ltd.

The Titas Gas Ltd and Power Grid are already listed with the bourses. They will divest an additional 10 per cent shares in the stock markets, according to officials.

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