Vol. 5 Num 1022 Tue. April 17, 2007  
Front Page

Shipping corporation to go public
To offload Tk 63cr shares for investors

The ailing public sector Bangladesh Shipping Corporation (BSC) is going to float shares for general investors through the stock exchanges.

A board meeting of the corporation yesterday agreed in principle for offloading shares worth Tk 62.74 crore for general investors through the stock exchanges, sources said.

The meeting chaired by Shipping Adviser MA Matin asked the corporation to start the process of offloading the BSC's own portion of equity.

The government's equity in the BSC is Tk 267.26 crore, of which Tk 62.74 crore is BSC's own, sources said. The board meeting decided to transfer the BSC's portion of equity into shares and float through the stock exchanges.

A director of Dhaka Stock Exchange who was also present at the meeting informed the meeting that the demand of shares in the market is very high and BSC shares would get positive response from the investors.

The board meeting decided to procure at least one ship for replacing one or more old ones.

To lessen the cost, a second-hand ship would be bought but that ship must have at least 15-16 years life and the meeting asked the BSC officials to submit an analytical report on the life of the ship that would be procured before taking decision in this regard.

The shipping adviser also asked the BSC authority to submit a report within two weeks about the present condition of all the ships belonging to the corporation.

Shipping Secretary Sheikh Enayetullah and Managing Director of BSC Azizul Hasan were present at the meeting at the conference room of the Ministry of Shipping.

As the conditions of most of the 13 cargo ships in the BSC fleet are very poor, the corporation has to spend several crore taka every year for repairing those age-old ships, sources said.

During the fiscal year 2005-06, the corporation spent Tk 8 crore for repairing purposes and Tk 4 crore for dry dock expenses.

A recent government investigation committee found that Banglar Gourab, a ship belonging to the corporation, incurred a loss of Tk 7 crore only in 10 months as it needed engine repair many times and remained idle for several months.

The ship has remained stuck up in an Indian port for several months due to engine failure. The corporation formed a technical committee to assess whether it would be economically viable to bring the ship back home or declare it abandoned there forever.

Of the other 12 ships in the BSC fleet, six ships were given on charter to the private operators. Two ships are used for transporting export items from Bangladesh to Pakistan while four age-old ships are in dilapidated conditions.

The BSC has shown a net profit of Tk 30.8 crore in its balance sheet for the fiscal year 2005-06 while the corporation has Tk 295.46 crore long-term liabilities, sources said.