PRAN Agro Receives BDT 262 Crore Investment From Metlife Through Onshore Bond4 min read

PRAN Agro Limited (PAL), a sister concern of PRAN-RFL Group, has successfully closed a landmark BDT- 262 crore onshore bond. The eight-year tenor bond will allow PRAN Agro to finance its infrastructure expansion plans. MetLife Bangladesh is the sole investor in this bond, according to a press release.

The bond is partially guaranteed by GuarantCo. It’s a matter of great pride that PRAN Agro has been able to receive finance from MetLife without any guarantee in some portion of this bond due to its reputation for the transaction.

The proceeds from the GuarantCo guaranteed bond will enable PRAN Agro to finance the second part of PRAN Agro’s expansion plan to increase its production capacity, in response to increased demand for its products in different export markets. The project includes the construction of additional factory buildings and the purchase of machinery for five product categories i.e. noodles, confectionary, culinary, cooking oil, and bakery products.

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PRAN-RFL is one of Bangladesh’s largest corporates working in the field of agri and agro-processing. Working with 100,000 registered contract farmers and directly employing 1,45,000 people. The transaction is expected to provide around 240 new contract farmers with a reliable source of income and will create around 500 jobs at various levels of production, operations, and maintenance, of which around 60 percent will be for women.

A bond closing ceremony was held at hotel Radisson Blu in Dhaka on Thursday evening while Prof. Shibli Rubayat Ul Islam, Chairman of Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission, Dr. Duncan Overfield, Deputy Development Director, Government of UK, Ahsan Khan Chowdhury, Chairman and Chief Executive of PRAN-RFL group, Elena Butarova, Senior Vice President of MetLife and Nishant Kumar, Managing Director and Head of Asia, GuarantCo shared their valuable speech at the program.

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About the bond, Uzma Chowdhury, Director (Corporate Finance) of PRAN-RFL group, said, “There is a huge demand for agro-processed food products in foreign markets manufactured by PRAN. This finance will help us to build up the required capacity to meet the increasing demand in different export markets all over the globe.”

Ala Ahmad, Chief Executive Officer at MetLife Bangladesh, said, “MetLife Bangladesh’s total investment in the country’s financial sector exceeds BDT 17,000 crore, and we continue to seek investment opportunities that strengthen our financial business capability in serving customers and contribute to the country’s overall economic development. We are pleased to invest in this new PRAN Agro bond as part of our commitment to supporting the success of local businesses and communities.”

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Layth Al-Falaki, CEO of GuarantCo, said: “We are delighted to have closed our second transaction with PRAN Agro which will further develop the country’s bond market. In May 2021, we provided PRAN Agro with a guarantee of a BDT 2.1 billion (c. USD 25 million) onshore bond to attract domestic institutional capital from Bangladesh and support the company’s expansion plans. This was one of the first corporate bonds in the country and has proven to have had a demonstration effect that further supports the development of the debt capital markets to the benefit of the economy and the Bangladeshi people.”

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This is both GuarantCo and MetLife’s second transaction with PRAN Agro. Two years ago, with a 100 percent guarantee from GuarantCo and a subscription by MetLife Bangladesh, PRAN Agro successfully issued the first internationally guaranteed bond in Bangladesh. The bond was the first listed on the newly formed Alternative Trading Board initiated by the Dhaka Stock Exchange. This second transaction further demonstrates the viability of trading corporate bonds on the secondary market through the Alternative Trading Board. In doing so, it is expected that these instruments will be replicated in the future leading to a meaningful impact on the efficiency of the corporate bond market in Bangladesh.

Fakhrul Ahsan, Assistant General Manager (Corporate Finance) of PRAN-RFL group, Ala Ahmad, Chief Executive Officer of MetLife Bangladesh, Ala Uddin, Chief Financial Officer of MetLife Bangladesh and high officials related to the bond were also present at the program.   

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