Vol. 5 Num 1119 Tue. July 24, 2007  
Front Page

Biman turns public limited company

Bangladesh Biman finally turned into a public limited company (PLC) yesterday, starting anew its journey with the name Biman Bangladesh Airlines Ltd.

Under the Company Act, Biman will now run independently and take its own decisions including procurement of new aircraft, Biman high officials told The Daily Star yesterday.

However, Biman would initially be a fully government-owned company and its board of directors comprises six government officials -- secretaries of the Cabinet Division and ministries of energy, commerce, finance, civil aviation, foreign affairs.

The six secretaries and a joint secretary to the civil aviation ministry have been made the seven shareholders of the national flag carrier corporation turned PLC, Biman sources said.

Under the PLC arrangement, the cabinet secretary will be the first chairman of Biman Bangladesh Airlines Ltd and the present Biman managing director (MD) is its chief executive officer as well as MD.

The government will gradually offload up to 49 per cent of the shares of the airline to the private sector, holding 51 per cent shares in its own hands, Communications Adviser Maj Gen MA Matin earlier said.

With registration with the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies and Firms as Biman Bangladesh Airlines Ltd, Bangladesh Biman corporation yesterday completed its final formalities to turn into a PLC.

It is now the largest PLC in the country with the authorised capital of Tk 15,000 crore divided into one hundred and fifty crore ordinary shares of Tk 100 each

The present caretaker government took the initiative to turn Biman, a massive losing concern, into PLC to make it a healthy and profitable commercial venture.

Dr Mahfuzul Haq, registrar of Joint Stock Companies and Firms, yesterday transferred the certificate of incorporation and certificate for commencement of business to Biman MD Dr MA Momen at the Joint Stock Company office at Dilkusha in the capital.

Biman Bangladesh Airlines Ltd will acquire all moveable and immoveable assets of Bangladesh Biman through vendors agreement.

Biman's paid up capital has been fixed at Tk 700 while seven shareholders would get an ownership share worth Tk 100 each and rest of the shares would remain to the civil aviation authorities.

"After turning Bangladesh Biman corporation into a public limited company, our main task is to run Biman commercially," the Biman MD told reporters.

"We will also go for offloading of Biman shares," he said adding, "As Biman is a losing concern at present, no one will show interest to buy Biman's share."

"Collecting new generation aircraft through purchase or lease will be our main aim to make Biman a profitable and competitive organisation. An operator will also be appointed to run it efficiently," said a high official of Biman.

Before starting its journey as a PLC, Biman trimmed 1,877 staffs and employees of various levels under the Voluntary Retirement Scheme, reducing its manpower to 2,923.

Earlier on July 14, the Council of Advisers in its regular weekly meeting approved legal instruments for commercialisation of the national airlines by transforming it into a company and waived restrictions on hiring foreign aircraft for export-import trade.

President Iajuddin Ahmed on July 11 promulgated the Bangladesh Biman Corporation (Amendment) Ordinance to pave the way for turning the national flag carrier into a public limited company.

Meanwhile, the amount of projected loss of Biman in 2006 is about Tk 700 crore, said a Biman official.

Biman presently owns 11 aircraft -- four DC10-30s, four F-28s, and three A310-300s. Production of DC10-30s and F-28s has been discontinued as they are no longer viable in business.