A total 14 national and international companies still in the race to acquire the mills
As many as 12 out of 26 state-run jute mills that have been closed are set to reopen soon under the management of local and international private companies.
Officials of the Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) said they had finalized the leasing process and sent it to the Ministry of Jute and Textiles for approval.
According to the officials, 11 local companies, two Indian companies and one company from the UK are bidding to acquire the 12 jute mills.
Speaking to Dhaka Tribune on Wednesday, Jute Ministry Additional Secretary Mohammad Abul Kalam said: “We are evaluating the offer from interested companies. The leasing process is at the final stage”
The government decided to shut down production in 25 state-owned jute mills operated by the BJMC on July 1 last year, while another mill had been closed earlier.
The BJMC then decided to lease 17 of the 26 closed jute mills and called for Expressions of Interest (EOIs) in April this year, following which several local and foreign companies submitted lease applications.
Who is getting the BJMC mills?
In Chittagong division, the BJMC wanted to lease five jute mills and received lease offers for four. There were no offers for MM Jute Mill.
Mimu Jute Mills and Saad Musa Fabrics are bidding for Hafiz Jute Mill; Bay group is bidding for Gul Ahmed Jute mill; Unitex is bidding for KFD Mill; and Bay group, Saad Musa Fabrics and Creation Private Limited are bidding for RR Jute Mill.
In Dhaka division, the BJMC wanted to lease four jute mills and received offers for three. UMC jute mill in Narsingdi did not receive any offers.
Unitex, Bay group, Alpast Company Limited, Pran Food and Creation Private Limited are bidding for Bangladesh Jute Mill; Afzal Fiber is bidding for Rajshahi Jute Mill; and Jute Republic from the UK and Afzal Fibre are bidding for Jatio Jute Mill.
However, Pran was marked as non-responsive in the evaluation process, according to officials.
In Khulna division, the BJMC wanted to lease eight jute mills and received offers for five mills. Platinum Jubilee Jute Mill, Khalishpur Jute Mills Limited and Star Jute Mill did not get any offers.
However, Mimu Jute Mills is bidding for Crescent Jute Mill; Purobi Trading Creation Private limited, Mohon Jute and Pacific Jute are bidding for Eastern Jute Mill; Omar and Brothers, Mohon Jute, Pacific Jute and Belfast are bidding for Daulatpur Jute Mill; Bay Group, Mohon Jute, and Pacific Jute are bidding for Jessore Jute Mill; and Purobi Trading, Mohon Jute and Pacific Jute are bidding for Carpeting Jute Mill.
Among the companies, Mohon Jute and Pacific Jute are from India.
When contacted, Md Abdur Rouf, chairman of the BJMC, said: "We have got a total of 59 offers against 15 mills. The evaluation report has been submitted to the Jute Ministry.
“After getting approval from an inter-ministerial meeting, we will send the offer letters to the companies that gave us the best offers,” he added.
The BJMC chairman also said: “When we decided to lease the jute mills, many of us thought we would not get offers, but we have got offers from some big private companies of Bangladesh and also from the UK and India.”
He added that the BJMC was hoping to lease a mill to the company from the UK, as it was best qualified to run one.
When will these mills reopen?
According to the BJMC chairman, the mills can resume operations after the winning companies receive their offer letters and submit two years’ rent to the BJMC.
“I do not think it will take much time because some of the companies that are eligible are already doing business in jute and they know the process. The BJMC will also monitor their activities. Initially, mills will be leased for 20 years,” said Abdur Rouf.