Most listed multinational companies operating businesses in Bangladesh failed to meet their growth targets in sales – in the July-September period of this year – as the pandemic-hit economy has not completely rebounded.
Twelve multinational companies from different sectors are listed on the country's capital market.
Among them, 58% of companies that are engaged in the shoe, cigarette, ceramic, health drink, telecom and industrial gas businesses are witnessing a drop in sales due to the adverse impacts of the novel coronavirus.
However 42% of the multinational companies that manufacture Parachute coconut oil, paint, cement, Dettol, Harpic, and home electronics have reported growth in their business.
The listed multinational companies suffered a drastic fall in sales owing to the 66-day general holiday put in place in March to curb the novel coronavirus pandemic but they recovered over the July-September quarter.
Despite the recovery, the companies have not registered growth this quarter similar to that of the same period in the previous year.
Top officials of these companies said it will take time for everything to return to normal – until the novel coronavirus vaccine arrives.
According to the financial statements of these companies, Bata Shoe, British American Tobacco, GlaxoSmith (owned by Unilever), Grameen Phone, Linde, and RAK Ceramics did not achieve year-on-year quarterly sales growth.
A senior officer of Bata Shoe said that although no lockdown is in place at present, there is still fear among the people.
He added, "That is why we have not achieved the sales target."
"The novel coronavirus has changed the spending behaviour of people. People are now spending more on daily essentials, instead of buying other products. It will take a long time to return to normalcy," he continued.
Meanwhile, Berger Paints, LafargeHolcim, Marico, Reckitt Benckiser, and Singer have posted year-on-year quarterly sales growth amid the pandemic.
Khandker Abu Jafar, company secretary of Berger, said the firm has recovered its business in the post-lockdown period, which had fallen drastically in the April-June quarter of this year.
"Now the business environment in the country has been stabilised. Therefore, we are trying to achieve the annual sales target," he added.
In a media release, LafargeHolcim said, during the quarter, it enhanced its focus on supply chain management and contract negotiations plus improved production efficiencies – this helped the company post such growth.
The recent initiatives by the government, coupled with improvements in remittance inflow, will help the resurgence of rural demand. Additionally, government impetus on infrastructure will play a strong role in driving the demand for cement, the media statement said.
In the company's annual report, Marico Bangladesh Managing Director Ashish Goupal said initially the company faced challenges on account of disruptions to the supply chain, logistics and movement of goods during the Covid-19 outbreak.
"However, with the excellent support of the ministries of commerce, local administration and law enforcement we were able to tide over the situation and continue the supply of essential products to consumers," he continued.