The government has taken up an initiative to offload portions of its shares in multinational companies operating in Bangladesh at the local stock markets.
The Financial Institutions Division sent a letter signed by Assistant Secretary of Banking Division Md Abdul Kasim to different ministries and stakeholders on Tuesday for their opinion on how to enlist the foreign firms to the two stock exchanges in the country.
The opinions are likely to reach the Banking Division within 15 days.
After that, the Banking division will prepare a report within a week and submit it before the upcoming meeting with Finance Minister AMA Muhith.
An official of Banking Division said after the meeting, the proposals would be placed before the concerned boards of those companies through the government representatives.
The government is not able to offload shares of these multinational companies unilaterally, as it is not a majority shareholder. These companies will be asked to discuss the issues in their respective boards, the official added.
Sources in the Banking Division said: “The government will examine pros and cons of the initiative and will share it before the media after a certain time. Before going to the stock market, the assets of these companies may need to be devalued.”
The involved multinational companies include Unilever Bangladesh Ltd, British American Tobacco Company, Industrial Promotion Development Corporation, and Fisons (Bangladesh) Ltd.
Finance minister AMA Muhith said at a recent meeting that the government was considering the possibility of offloading a 10% share of Unilever Bangladesh Limited.
“The government owns 39.25% share of Unilever, but Unilever is not interested in offloading its share in the local stock market,” he said.
“Multinational companies like Unilever are also not interested to increase their share in the market, although they are making huge profits here.”
According to the Banking division, the government currently holds 51% shares of Fisons(Bangladesh) Ltd, 12.92% of Organon Bangladesh Ltd, and 0.64% of British American Tobacco Company.
It also has a 48% stake in Hoechst Bangladesh Ltd, 28.24% of Industrial Promotion Development Corporation(IPDC), 20% of Mirpur Ceramics Works Ltd, 3.79% of Reckitt Benchkiser Bangladesh Ltd, and 39.25% of Unilever Bangladesh Ltd.