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The Financial Express

Divestment of shares: BSEC sits with top executives of seven SoEs next week

MOHAMMAD MUFAZZAL | Published: February 11, 2020 10:46:23 | Updated: February 12, 2020 11:04:20


Divestment of shares: BSEC sits with top executives of seven SoEs next week

The securities regulator has stepped up its efforts to facilitate the process of divesting the shares of some selected state-owned enterprises (SoEs) in a bid to revamp the country's stock market.

As part of the move, the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission (BSEC) will sit with top executives of seven SoEs next week to evaluate their requirements and preparations in this regard.

"We have decided to hold a meeting with top executives of these SoEs to assess their conditions regarding offloading of shares in the stock market," a senior BSEC official told the FE on Monday.

The BSEC will go through the checklist to know as to whether and how much these SoEs are prepared to offload their shares in the stock market, he added.

The BSEC's move came after the finance minister held a meeting with top officials of seven SoEs recently.

In the meeting, finance minister AHM Mustafa Kamal asked seven SoEs to complete the valuation of their assets within two months for the divestment of their shares in the bourses.

The Ministry of Finance (MoF) has already dispatched the minutes of its recent meeting, asking them to take necessary steps for offloading their shares in the stock market.

"In the minutes, we have advised non-listed SoEs to offload at least 25 per cent of their shares while listed SoEs will offload 10 per cent shares," said a MoF official.

The SoEs which will offload shares are: Titas Gas Transmission and Distribution Company, Poer Grid Company of Bangladesh, North-West Power Generation Company, Electricity Generation Company of Bangladesh, Ashuganj Power Station Company, BR Powergen and Gas Transmission Company.

However, officials of the selected seven state-owned enterprises (SoEs) said they are waiting for the minutes of the meeting which asked them to complete their asset valuation process required to offload their shares in the capital market.

"We have yet to receive the minutes of the meeting which took the decision to offload more shares of our company," said a senior official of Titas Gas.

After getting the minutes, he said, their board will discuss the issue at its meeting and decide on the number of shares to be offloaded.

Mohammad Abul Mansur, company secretary at Ashuganj Power Station Company, said they are yet to 'fix the way' of offloading shares.

"We will sit with the ministry to determine the number of shares to be offloaded in the market. We will also seek help from the securities regulator to overcome barriers, if any," Mr. Mansur said.

The number of shares to be offloaded will depend on 'absorbing capacity' of the market, he added.

Usually, the state-owned Investment Corporation of Bangladesh (ICB) acts as an issue manager for offloading shares of SoEs.

Seven SoEs can choose any issue manager to accelerate the process of divesting their shares in the capital market.

Of the seven selected companies, Titas Gas Transmission & Distribution Company and Power Grid Company of Bangladesh are already listed on the stock exchanges. These two companies have been asked to offload at least 10 per cent shares.

The rest of SoEs such as North-West Power Generation Company, Electricity Generation Company of Bangladesh, Ashuganj Power Station Company, B-R Powergen and Gas Transmission Company have been asked to complete the process of offloading 10-25 per cent of their stakes.

The managing director of Electricity Generation Company of Bangladesh Engineer Arun Kumar Saha said it is difficult for them to complete the valuation of their company within the stipulated time.

"We have no way but to comply with the directives of the government. We are now waiting for the minutes of the meeting that asked us to complete valuation within two months," Mr. Shaha said.

The officials of the securities regulator said they are ready to help seven SoEs complete the process of offloading their shares.

Meanwhile, the government has initiated the process of offloading 25 per cent shares of three state-owned banks -- Bangladesh Development Bank Ltd (BDBL), Agrani Bank Limited and Janata Bank Limited.

The finance minister held a meeting with the stakeholders concerned at his secretariat office on Sunday.

The government has set a deadline until September next for listing of three state-owned banks on the bourses as well as offloading more shares of another listed state-owned bank, Rupali Bank.

mufazzal.fe@gmail.com

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