Industry Report: Large companies, especially top business conglomerates, hold a strong economic power over the nation. These private business groups address many economic challenges like the issue of export diversification, productivity enhancement, and expansion of industry to create more jobs for the people of Bangladesh. In the 2017-18 fiscal year, Bangladesh saw its highest-ever GDP growth of 7.86 percent. And this growth was possible due to the fast industrial expansion and business opportunities availability.
The top business corporates not only play the prime role to gear up economic activities of the country but they also represent the country in abroad, building the exports and image.
Founded in 1940 by late Sheikh Akijuddin, Akij Group is one of the largest industrial conglomerates in Bangladesh. In 2009, Akij contributed 2% of the country’s total budget and became Bangladesh’s largest taxpayer. With over 70,000 employers, they are serving both local and international markets with their quality products. Akij Group has its expertise in several industries, including tobacco, food and beverage, cement, ceramics, textiles, pharmaceuticals, consumer products, real estate, dairy IT, gas-station and many more. Akij Group has 24 major manufacturing companies of which Akij Biri Factory Ltd, Akij Plastics Limited, and Akij Cement Company Ltd are some of the most renowned corporates in the country.
Bashundhara Group, initially started as a real estate business by venture under the name “East-West Development Company” (EWPD). The journey of Bashundhara Group started in 1987, and Ahmed Akbar Sobhanis the founder. After the successful operation of EWPD, Bashundhara started to expand and invest in various potential fields, including the manufacturing, trading industry and service company. They work with over 20 major concern companies that include East-West Property Development, Bashundhara Cement Industries Limited, East West Media Group, Social Islami Bank Limited, Bashundhara Kings, Rangpur Riders, and Bashundhara City shopping mall. They have employed about 100,000 people in their different plants.
- Beximco Group
Beximco Group is a diversified industrial conglomerate that’s also a well-reputed multinational company in Bangladesh. The Beximco Group was founded in 1970 by two brothers – Ahmed SohailFaisur Rahman and ASF Rahman. Beximco is one of South Asia’s major vertically integrated textile and apparel companies, and it’s the first-ever Bangladeshi company that got featured on the London Stock Exchange. Modern textile, pharmaceuticals, ceramics, and information technology are some of the areas of expertise of the company. They have over 60,000 employees, and they export its goods to 103 countries.
Beximco Group has several sister concerns companies in 8 different segments:Beximco Pharmaceutical Ltd, Beximco Computers Ltd, Beximco Foods Ltd, Beximco Holdings Ltd, Beximco Engineering Ltd, Shinepukur Holdings Ltd, Padma Textile Mills, Beximco Textile Ltd, Beximco Apparels Ltd are some of the well-known companies among them. Besides, BEXIMCO’s pharmaceutical alone exports products to 45 countries.
- S Alam Group
S. Alam Group, another Bangladeshi industrial and commercial conglomerate, was founded by Mohammed Saiful AlamMasud in 1985. S Alam Group works in the following segments: C.I Sheets, Color coated Iron sheet, Cement, Vegetable oil, C.R Coil, Soya Seed extraction, Public Transport, Gas Refueling Station, P.P Woven Bags, Agro farms, Natural gas, heavy oil, furnace oil and power plant, Real Estate, Hotels & Resorts, Imports and Trading of commercial items, bank and financial institutions, life and non-life insurance companies, etc.S Alam Group focuses on specialist investment in big power projects under joint ventures and independent involvement in economic structural development, among many other entities.
Moreover, S Alam Soya Seed Extraction Plant Ltd, Alam Vegetable Oil Limited, Alam Super Edible Oil Limited, Alam Refined Sugar Industries Ltd, S Alam Steel Ltd, S Alam Cement Ltd, and S Alam Power Plant Ltd are some of the main concerns of S Alam Group.
- City Group
The journey of City Group started with City Oil Mills Ltd which was a mustard oil company venture founded by Fazlur Rahman in 1972. With more than 10,000 employees, their business now covers consumer products, foods, steel, printing & packaging, shipping, power & energy, shares & securities, insurance, media, and healthcare. City Group has 40 subsidiary companies under its wing and among them, City Oils Mils, CSI Power and Energy Ltd, City Fiber Ltd, City Sugar Industry Limited, Somoy Media Limited, and City Re-rolling Mills Limited are pretty well known.
Initially, Walton started its journey as a local business conglomerate under the name R. B. Group founded by SM Nazrul Islam in 1977. After his demise, Walton has become a company of five brothers. They started to produce and market electrical and electronics, automobiles, smartphones, and other home appliances under the name “Walton” in 2000. This is how Walton Group came into being. Walton Group has one of the largest well-equipped R & D facilities in the world. With over 20,000 employees the company has 22 varieties of production bases on 680+ acres of land.
It has established itself as the biggest tech giant in Bangladesh. Walton occupies 66% market share of the refrigerator, 50% share of the television market, and 33% share of the air conditioner market. Walton Group has 8 sister concerns including Walton Hi-Tech Industries Limited, Walton Micro-Tech Corporation, Walton Digi-Tech Industries Limited, and Walton Motors. This company is now valued at US$ 4.5 billion, with yearly revenue of roughly US$ 1 billion.
- Abul Khair Group
Abul Khair Group is one of the billion-dollar selling companies in Bangladesh which was founded by Late Abul Khair in 1953 at Chattagram. Their first venture was in tobacco production, but now they sell various types of products like iron sheets, deformed bars, cement, cigarettes, condensed milk, milk powder, paper and the list go on and on. There are around 45,000 employees that work with his company all over the world. Abul Khair Group has many subsidiary companies. Among them, Abul Khair Steel Mills Ltd, Abul Khair Tobacco Ltd, Abul Khair Condensed Milk Ltd, Abul Khair Industries Ltd, and Abul Khair Sheets Ltd are the most recognized ones.
- Pran-RFL Group
Pran-RFL Group, one of the biggest agro-food producers in Bangladesh, was founded by Retired Major General Amzad Khan, and the company has been in the market since 1981. Judging from the name, the company is classified into two categories: “PRAN” and “RFL.” Pran now works with food and beverage items that are exported to over 138 countries throughout the world. 80,000 direct employers and 200,000 indirect employees manage the corporate operations. RFL began its journey by manufacturing Cast Iron (CI) products in 1980 and became one of the largest PVC manufacturing plants in Asia.
Companies like Pran Foods Ltd, Rangpur Foundry Ltd, RFL Pipe and Fittings, and Regal Furniture are all subsidiaries of Pran-RFL Group. The organization primarily works with food, agro, agro utilities, kitchen utilities, building materials, light engineering, PVC fittings, and industrial items.
- Meghna Group
Meghna Group of Industries (MGI) founded by Mostofa Kamal can be traced back to 1976, when it used to operate under the name of Kamal Trading Company. Mostofa Kamal started by importing some commodities on a limited scale and then established Meghna Vegetable Oil Industries Ltd in 1989. Meghna Group of Industries has been manufacturing and marketing various fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) & commodities. Today, Meghna Group has 36 manufacturing units with more than 35,000 employees.
The turnover of the group surpassed $2 billion last year, and now its annual turnover is approximately $2.5 billion. Meghna’s industrial units cover fast-moving consumer goods, cement, commodities, chemicals, seed crushing, fish and poultry feed, power generation, salt, bottled water, media, bank and industrial products.
- Square Group
We have another top pharmaceutical conglomerate to mention in this list, Square Group. It was founded by late Samson H Chowdhury and his 3 friends in 1958. However, this private firm went public in 1991. From health, textiles, and agro vet products, to consumer products, Square Group is successfully manufacturing high-quality products in all these segments. There are many subsidiary companies under the square group, and among them, Square Pharmaceuticals Ltd, Square Hospitals Ltd, and Square Food & Beverage Limited are the most popular ones. They have 28,000 employees working for them all around the world.
Other Notable Mentions
Transcom Group started its operation in Bangladesh in 1985 as a tea company. Gradually they shifted to high-tech production, worldwide trade, and distribution. The businesses cover segments like beverages, pharmaceuticals, newspapers, radio channels, electronics, foods, etc. TRANSCOM has risen to become Bangladesh’s largest media company in recent years. With more than 20,000 employees Transcom Group is one of the oldest groups of companies in Bangladesh and making its mark in 54 countries. They have many sister concern companies including Transcom Electronics Ltd, Transcom Foods Ltd, Transcom Beverages Ltd, Transcom Mobile Ltd, Tea & Rubber Farms, and many more.
Mohammed Abu Tayab and Mohammed Abul Kalam co-founded TK Group in 1972. They started their journey in commodity trading and gradually launched new ventures in the manufacturing and marketing of consumer and industrial products. TK Group is the largest producer of edible oil products in the country. They cover segments like steel, shipbuilding, pulp and paper, plastics, cement, and textiles. TK Group has around 20 major concern companies under their wing. This organization has received several national and international awards. In 2019, it received “Standard Chartered Trade Awards.” Bangladesh is home to a number of huge conglomerates with extensive holdings in a variety of industries.
And some of these companies have already established themselves as global corporations over the world, representing Bangladesh. Undoubtedly these multi-industry companies benefit the country and its citizens by organizing numerous social events and providing jobs and revenue for the country.
Started as Jamuna Electric Manufacturing Co. Ltd, now Jamuna Group is one of Bangladesh’s leading electrical accessory and fittings manufacturers. It was founded in 1974 by late Nurul Islam Babul, a Bangladeshi pioneer industrialist and politician. It has built a lot of successful businesses in a variety of industries including garments & textiles, print & electronic media, consumer products, leathers, chemicals, electronics, engineering, beverage, real estate, housing, etc. They have more than 20 concern companies under the Jamuna Group umbrella.
ACI Group Limited
Let’s talk about another leading conglomerate in Bangladesh, ACI Group Limited. ACI, the “Advanced Chemical Industries,” is founded by M Anis UdDawla in 1968 in East Pakistan. Pharmaceuticals, consumer brands, and agribusiness are the major segments that ACI operates.With over 8,384 employees, ACI is producing and markets almost everything a consumer needs in their daily life. They are trading 5000 patent products in 10 countries across 3 continents. The products include antiseptics, kitchen care, fabric care, surface care, foods, female hygiene, men’s grooming, baby care, agri-machinery, and many more. The list of ACI’s sister concern companies is long and among them, ACI Consumer Brands, ACI Motors Limited, ACI Fertilizer, ACI Pharmaceuticals, and ACI Salt Ltd are the most popular ones.
Navana Group was founded by late Alhaji Jahurul Islam in 1964. But initially, it started as a construction company, Bengal Development Corporation, in 1953. In 1996, after the death of Alhaji Jahurul Islam, his brother Shafiul Islam Kamal formed a distinct company by integrating Navana Limited and Aftab Automobiles Limited into the fold. Very quickly they expanded their business and now they’re working in more than 15 industries like construction & real estate business, product & project marketing, international trading, distributions, etc.
Navana Group has more than 20 concern companies under the umbrella. Among them, Navana Construction Limited, Navana Limited, Navana Automobiles Limited, Aftab Automobiles Limited, Navana Logistic Limited, Navana CNG Limited, NavanaRealestate Limited, Navana Electronics, Navana Furniture Limited, and Navana Food Limited are the most popular ones. There are 5,500 employees across 27 distinct business units to handle.
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