Gachihata Aquaculture Farms Ltd, delisted from the stock exchanges, looks to resume operation with bank support in the next three years.
It was listed on the bourses in 1998, but 11 years later it was delisted for failing to run operational activities and issue dividends since 2002. Maj Md Akhtaruzzaman (Retd), former BNP leader and member of parliament, is the chairman and managing director of the company.
Now, the company's shares are traded in the Over The Counter (OTC) market. The price of each share was Tk33.50 on Thursday.
A senior officer of the agricultural farm said the company had taken out a loan of Tk15.24 crore from the state-run Agrani Bank to import raw materials and machinery for business expansion in 2000.
But it failed to do so for a lack of effort from the management and owners, and in consequence failed to pay back the loan in time. As a result, the company became a loan defaulter in 2002. Agrani Bank charged the farm Tk132 crore in interest against the principal amount until 30 June 2020.
An Agrani Bank official said the lender had issued an auction notice to recover the money, but the company filed a writ petition with the High Court seeking exemption from paying the interest amount.
At the end of last year, the HC passed an order in favour of the company.
Now, the National Bank acquired the loan from Agrani Bank, having assets of the company mortgaged for three years.
The company will have to pay off the loan within the time, said National Bank officials.
The chairman of Gachihata Aquaculture Farms told The Business Standard that, "As a publicly listed company, we want to come back to business for our shareholders. National Bank will help us run the business properly. And also, thanks to Agrani Bank for the exemption from interest payment."
The farm has huge assets, some of which need to be sold for repayment. Then the National Bank will provide a loan as working capital. "I hope the company will go into operation in full swing in the next three years," Akhtaruzzaman said.
The company's assets, such as land and ponds, were valued at Tk560 crore in an audited report of the fiscal year 2019-20.
Using the assets, the company can produce more than 10,000 tonnes of fish, high quality paddy, jute and vegetable seeds, Akhtaruzzaman said.
It can also grow palm trees for oil and produce biogas and fertilisers and set up solar power stations, he added.
Gachihata's paid-up capital is Tk20.70 crore. Sponsors and directors hold 25.86% of the company's shares, institutional investors 18.12% and general investors 56.02%.