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 State shares fail to float One company comes in three years

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Posts : 78
Join date : 2010-05-30

PostSubject: State shares fail to float One company comes in three years   Sun Jul 04, 2010 1:08 am


Sajjadur Rahman

The government has failed to bring a single company to stockmarket in the last one and a half years although it announced plans to list 26 state-owned enterprises by June.

The finance ministry in January set individual deadlines -- from three to six months -- for 26 government organisations to offload shares to increase the availability of quality shares on the market.

Finance ministry officials have put the blame on the respective ministries that own the enterprises.

However, 26 private companies were listed in the last one and a half years -- 19 last year and seven this year. The last state enterprise to join the market was Titas Gas in 2008 when another 14 private companies also debuted.

“Officials of the respective ministries are reluctant to offload shares and hinder the listing process. They (officials) work as directors on the boards of these companies and enjoy huge benefits,” said a top finance ministry official.

“We'll soon inform the finance minister of the issue,” he said, requesting not to be named.

Stockmarket experts said the government should do everything to list state enterprises to avoid market volatility.

The investors now face a severe shortage of securities. Fewer than 450 securities are listed on the two bourses: Dhaka and Chittagong. More than 25 lakh investors who trade on Dhaka Stock Exchange often invest in bubble and low-quality shares finding no option.

Demand for new stocks is increasing fast and it is reflected when an IPO is floated.

Market capitalisation reached Tk 270,074 crore on June 30 this year from just Tk 124,134 crore a year ago.

Hasan Imam, managing director of Race Asset Management, said the market needs more stocks, particularly of state-owned enterprises, so the investors do not go for speculative shares.

He said the government owns some of the large businesses such as banks, shipping and energy companies and airlines that need to get listed in the market.

“It's better to bring such a few big enterprises in the market than listing 100 of small ones,” said Imam.

Earlier last year the finance ministry reviewed the status of 32 state-owned companies, and later in January selected 26 enterprises for listing.

Of the 26 state enterprises, 12 are of the power, energy and mineral resources ministry. The remaining 14 fall under industries ministry, bridge division, civil aviation and tourism ministry, post and telecommunication ministry, health and family welfare ministry and shipping ministry.
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