Vol. 5 Num 1127 Wed. August 01, 2007  

Biman starts journey as public limited company
Agreement with govt signed

Biman Bangladesh Airlines yesterday started its journey anew as a public limited company (PLC) named Biman Bangladesh Airlines Ltd with the signing of an agreement between Biman and the government.

"Biman will now run independently and Biman board will take decisions on its own," Communications Adviser Maj Gen (retd) MA Matin told newsmen at the agreement signing ceremony at the civil aviation and tourism ministry.

It is now the largest PLC in the country with an authorised capital of Tk 15,000 crore divided into 150 crore ordinary shares of Tk 100 each.

The new PLC has acquired all movable and immovable assets and liabilities (about Tk 2,000 crore) of Biman Bangladesh Airlines through yesterday's agreement.

Fakhrul Alam, joint secretary to the civil aviation and tourism ministry, and Dr MA Momen, managing director (MD) of Biman, signed the agreement.

Earlier on July 23, Biman had applied to the office of the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies and Firms to be registered as Biman Bangladesh Airlines Ltd.

"Biman has entered a new era with its conversion into a PLC… From now on, it will not remain a part of the government as it was in the past," the communications adviser said.

An operator will be appointed to run Biman efficiently and tender would be floated for this within three months, Matin said.

Replying a question, he said, "Biman's present bad shape is due to government control over it."

On purchase of new aircraft, he said, "Biman board will take decision in this regard." He however added, "It is not possible to buy new aircraft now because it takes a couple of years to get a new one."

Asked about offloading of Biman shares, the adviser said, " Biman board will decide on this after an operator is appointed."

He mentioned that the government will gradually offload up to 49 per cent shares of the airlines to the private sector and retain 51 per cent shares.

The Biman board of directors now comprise secretaries of the Cabinet Division and the ministries of energy, commerce, finance, civil aviation, foreign affairs. The six secretaries and a joint secretary to the civil aviation ministry have been made seven shareholders of the new PLC.

Under the PLC arrangement, the cabinet secretary is the first chairman of the PLC and the present MD of Biman is its CEO as well as MD.

The present caretaker government took the initiative to turn Biman, a huge loss-making concern, into a PLC to make it a healthy commercial venture.