Beximco gets all-clear

Tue, Nov 3, 2009

Dhaka Nov 3 (bdnews24.com)—The central bank has told a parliamentary committee that all companies of the Beximco Group, one of Bangladesh's biggest business conglomerates, have been off the list of loan defaulters since the quarter ending in June.

On Nov 1, the Bangladesh Bank wrote back to the finance ministry committee to say none of the many companies of the Group, according to the June quarterly and Sept monthly database for this year, had had any loans classified.

The Group has bounced back spectacularly since the release of Salman Rahman late last year from detention by the military-installed emergency government.

After years of stagnation and poor growth, the Group is believed to have repaid in less than a year bank loans worth hundreds of crore of takas through adjustments such as offloading hemorrhaging concerns.

The central bank letter, obtained by bdnews24.com, was in response to an Oct 15 letter from A H M Mustafa Kamal, MP.

Kamal, the finance committee chief, told bdnews24.com that he had asked the Bangladesh Bank to furnish him with debt details of the Beximco companies. "The data the central bank has sent clearly show none of the Beximco companies are defaulting any more," Kamal said.

The Bank letter to the MP read: "According to the latest Credit Information Bureau (CIB) database updated by banks and financial institutions, the June 2009 quarterly and Sept 2009 monthly credit information reports show that all concerned Beximco companies are free from any loan default."

On July 5, the finance minister, A M A Muhith, caused a furore by publishing a list of 2196 defaulting companies in parliament.

These companies, including several Beximco ones topping the list, together had a commercial bank debt of nearly Tk 15,500 crore.

Days later, on July 9, the minister clarified that his list, which made big headlines in the papers, had been based on months-old data. Muhith also admitted the publication of the flawed list caused damage to these companies' brands and promised updated information soon.

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