Biman negotiates for costly $338m loan from StanChartShakhawat Hossain
Cash strapped Bangladesh Biman is negotiating with an international commercial bank for a $ 338 million loan at high interest rate to clear delivery payment for two Boeing aircraft.
Civil aviation and tourism ministry officials told New Age on Thursday that the Biman was negotiating with the Standard Chartered Bank for the proposed loan.
Biman had requested Bangladesh Bank for arranging the loan. But the central bank advised Biman to arrange the loan by itself, they said.
Mizanur Rahman, joint secretary of the ministry, said Biman has already sought approval from the hard term loan committee, headed by finance minister AMA Muhith, for finalising the deal with the bank.
State-owned Biman needed the approval by the committee as the loan is a commercial one, he said.
He, however, did not disclose the interest rate of the proposed single biggest commercial loan by any public entity.
Bangladesh Petroleum Corporation took $300 million loan twice—first in 2003-2004 when the oil price soared to $56 per barrel from $23 in quick succession and same amount in 2008 when the fuel oil price surged to record $146 per barrel—on commercial interest rate from Standard Chartered Bank.
Biman officials said two new Boeing-737-300ER aircraft are expected to join its fleet in next March.
Biman signed a contract with U.S. aircraft manufacturer, the Boeing Company, to purchase eight aircraft at a cost of more than $1.0 billion or Tk 8,728 crore in 2008. Two aircraft had already been added to the Biman’s fleet in October and November 2011.
Apart from procuring the eight Boeings, Biman later ordered for another two Boeing-737-800 aircraft.
Biman incurred losses of Tk 200 crore in 2012-13 after Tk 600 crore losses in 2011-12. It projected that the loss might come down to Tk 80 crore in the current fiscal.
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