Fortune Shoes Limited has secured final approval for the lease of a state-owned jute mill but the listed footwear exporter made no disclosure to its shareholders about its participation in the tender bid.
According to market insiders, listed firms usually publish such information as price-sensitive information (PSI).
The footwear manufacturer took part in an international tender of the Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) – a body which supervises state-run jute mills – and has been selected by the evaluation committee for the lease of Platinum Jute Mill.
It says, not Fortune Shoes but a company belonging to the group will invest in the mill. Tenders were submitted in the name of Fortune Shoes only for the convenience of the tender process.
At the beginning of this year, the BJMC floated an international tender to lease out 13 state-owned jute mills to the private sector.
In response to the tender, 18 local and foreign firms, including Fortune Shoes submitted primary and final proposals for the lease of the jute mills.
According to the BJMC, Fortune Shoes submitted tender bids for the lease of Daulatpur Jute Mill and Platinum Jute Mill.
Two Indian companies also filed tenders for the lease of these mills but were not finalised by the corporation's evaluation committee.
Contacted, Riaz Uddin Bhuiya, company secretary of Fortune Shoes, said, "Basically, tenders were submitted in the name of Fortune Shoes to facilitate participation in the tender. However, the group has decided to open a new company and invest in the mill."
"We participated in the tender using the name of Fortune Shoes because it was not possible to open a company before finalisation of the lease. We have informed the BJMC that after finalisation of the lease, a company belonging to the group will invest in the jute mill," he added.
Fortune Shoes started its footwear business in Chattogram in 2010. Going forward, it moved its operations to Barishal and built a factory there at the Bangladesh Small Cottage Industries Corporation (BSCIC) Industrial Estate. This 100% export-oriented company has also set up a factory in Dhaka.
However, for the first time, this Barishal-based Fortune Group is entering the jute business, taking part in the BJMC tender to lease the government jute mill.
The company will manufacture a diverse range of products for export and sales in the local market.
In 2015, Fortune Shoes Limited raised capital selling company shares in the country's stock market.
Fortune Shoes owns Premier Footwear and MJ Industries, its sister concerns.
It has nine production lines, and its current capacity is 35,500 pairs of shoes per day.
In fiscal 2020-21, its revenue increased by 18% to Tk1440.40 crore, and net profit after tax by 109% to Tk24.55 crore.