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Friday, April 3, 2009

S.Alam Buys Out Leasing Firm

S Alam Group has acquired majority stakes of Oman Bangladesh Leasing and Finance Ltd (OBLFL), a non-banking financial institution (NBFI), in a bid to gain a foothold in the country's financial market, people close to the development said.

“It will increase our presence in the financial sector. We hope the company will perform better in the days to come under the leadership of our chairman,” Subrata Bhowmick, senior general manger (Finance) of S Alam Group, told The Daily Star yesterday.

He said around 97 percent shares of OBLFL have been acquired by the group.

However the official declined to disclose the buyout amount.

The remaining shares of the financial institution are owned by business entities such as National Life Insurance Company Ltd.

The share transfer agreement was signed on Tuesday at the OBLFL head office in Dhaka where the former sponsors of OBLFL and its immediate past chairman Mohammad Nurul Haque and S Alam Group's Chairman and Managing Director Md Saiful Alam Masud, among others, were present.

Following the share transfer deal, a board meeting elected Saiful Alam Masud, also the chairman of First Security Islami Bank, as the chairman of the finical institution, said a statement.

S Alam Group with an annual turnover of more than Tk3,000 crore moved to acquire Oman Bangladesh Leasing after it had taken over First Security Bank couple of years ago.

Officials expect that the experience of running the bank will give the conglomerate, best known for its transport business, a leverage to handle the financial institution efficiently.

Before the takeover by S Alam Group, Oman Bangladesh Leasing brought changes in ownership in two times in 2000 and 2003.

The financial institution, formerly known as Bahrain Bangladesh Finance and Investment Company Ltd, launched operation in 1996 with a paid up capital of Tk2.50 crore, according to Year Book 2007 of Bangladesh Leasing & Finance Companies Association.

In 2000 Muscat Finance Company (MFC) Ltd, Oman, along with a group of investors -- mainly banks and financial institutions -- took over the company with 70.59 percent shareholdings and increased its paid up capital to Tk8.5 crore.

MFC in 2003 withdrew itself from the company and the entire shares were held by the local shareholders. Local sponsors again increased its paid up capital to Tk15.75 crore last year.

Officials said the company's immediate past owner Nurul Haque and his family transferred the ownership being unable to run it as a viable company.

However despite repeated attempts, none of the former owners was found for comments.

At the end of 2007, total assets of Oman Bangladesh Leasing stood at worth Tk1,54.57 crore with more than 30 percent of its investment channelling to transport and automobile sectors followed by textile.

The company's net asset value per share grew to Tk1,545 at the end of 2007 from Tk1,031 a year ago, while its earning per share tripled to Tk15.26.

The Daily Star



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