fivehundred magazine > > Focus on… Doing business in a post-COVID-19 world, Tanjib Alam and Associates

Focus on… Doing business in a post-COVID-19 world, Tanjib Alam and Associates

Introduction:

The ongoing sprawl of Covid-19 in human lives has significantly impacted the fates and fortunes of people as well as business entities in the doldrums. As a law firm with foresight, we have been advising our clients on the probable legal challenges that might arise due to the pandemic so that our clients can always stand a step ahead of its competitors despite the tremble Covid-19 has presented.

What trends are law firms seeing?

Owing to the changes brought by the pandemic, most of the hearings of cases are being conducted virtually ever since the Supreme Court of Bangladesh made the facility available for lawyers. Hence, law firms are seeing a shift of trend towards a more tech-based practice both in the courtrooms as well as clients conferencing. Being a top tech savvy law firm in Bangladesh, Tanjib Alam and Associates adjusted to the “new normal” quite comfortably, while majority of the law firms and their lawyers are still struggling with this shift.  In advising our clients, we hold most of the meetings virtually through the use of Zoom, Google Hangouts, Teams while maintaining communication over telephone or WhatsApp.

At the very beginning of the pandemic, Tanjib Alam and Associates was prompt in anticipating a standstill in nationwide financial activities, factories and offices. Considering the unprecedented challenge for its corporate clients, the firm, on its own motion, provided legal advice on several cost cutting measures to secure survival during the pandemic and its aftermath.

How have governments reacted to protect businesses whilst encouraging investment?

As the pandemic was rolling out and businesses started suffering, the Government of Bangladesh was poised to take several initiatives to help combat the health and economic crisis that was sweeping across the nation. In response to the dire situation, it announced a fund of approximately US$500 million to facilitate payment of wages of workers in export oriented industries. It further announced a stimulus package covering equivalent of US$ 3.6 billion to be provided to affected industries and service sector organizations as working capital through banks at low-interest rate where the government and the affected industry would equally split the payment of interest rate. Another package pertaining to small and medium enterprises (SMEs), including cottage industries, would provide equivalent to US$ 2.4 billion as working capital to the SMEs.  As soon as these packages had been announced, our firm commenced in-depth analysis in order to advise its clients without any undue delay. Resultantly, many of our clients has been able to successfully avail the benefits of these packages, whereas many of their competitors could not, due to lack of prompt and authentic legal advice.

In addition, a number of initiatives have been taken by the government to promote further investment in Bangladesh by offering convenient business environment. These initiatives include reduction of time needed to obtain electricity, trade license, TIN number, land registry, mutation, Customs clearance and VAT registration for businesses, all doable virtually. The Government is also in its advanced stage in bringing reform in the Companies Act to further ease of doing business, these reforms include single member company, buying back own shares, minority protection regime in line with advanced legal system. Owing to all these positive steps, it is seen that the surging ratio of investment in Bangladesh has not been impacted in the Covid-19 emergence.

What risk mitigation factors can be advised and what technology is available to assist in-house and directors?

In house counsels have long been accustomed to have vis a vis meeting with their legal counsel as well as government and regulatory authorities. Due to the emergence of the pandemic, the roles of the in-house counsels have changed to many extents. While it is possible to attend meetings virtually with the external legal counsels, the same might be challenging with a government agency or regulatory authority. Although some of the government departments in Bangladesh have taken initiatives to offer virtual services, thanks to them, majority of the departments are yet to facilitate this service. As a result, in house counsels would have to take the burden of moving physically amidst the pandemic in order to submit documents for regulatory compliances and to receive approvals or permissions. It is pertinent to note that one of the most significant risk mitigating factors for in-house counsels is to make sure that all the agreements their business is entering into is thoroughly reviewed and vetted so that the business is well aware of the obligations it is imposing on itself and the rights it is entitled to. Although this is a timeless piece of general advice to the in-house counsels, its applicability and significance is now greater than ever. In addition, businesses should always explore and investigate any change of payment terms requested by the counterparty due to the restriction on movement. Further, it is advisable to in-house counsels not to reduce salaries of the employees, temporary layoffs or terminate an employee unless it is certain that such actions are in compliance with the provisions in the Bangladesh Labour Act, 2006 and Bangladesh Labour Rules, 2015. Non-complaint actions against employees may lead to unwanted litigation, that would cost the business more than it would save from the action impugned.Tanjib Alam and Associates has acted as counsel in the acquisition by Alipay of some of the shares of bKash Limited. It involved drafting and reviewing of legal documents throughout all stages until closing of the transaction and advising bKash Limited on relevant legal issues.

Links to Press Coverage:

The firm has acted as counsel for DSE in the acquisition by Shanghai and Shenzhen Stock Exchanges of some of the DSE shares. It involved drafting of relevant legal documents and advising DSE on relevant legal issues.

The firm acted as local counsel on behalf Grameenphone Limited (one of the leading telecommunication companies in Bangladesh) during acquisition of Grameenphone IT Limited by Accenture by purchasing 51% shares of Grameenphone IT Limited. The firm’s role was advising on issues relating to Bangladesh law, review documents from a Bangladesh law perspective as well as preparing corporate documents for effecting the transaction.

Apart from the above, The firm has acted as the lead drafting lawyer of loan and security documentations for numerous cross border syndication financing involving eminent foreign agencies such as CDB, ADB, IDB, DEG, FMO extending credit facilities to local companies. Besides drafting, the Firm has also been engaged as consultant in lending transactions involving various foreign banks and institutional investors. Some of the cross border transaction where the Firm has been involved include syndicated financing by HSBC, London to AbulKhair Steel Melting Limited, Bangladesh, financing by Mashreq Bank, Dubai to a local power project, financing by IFC as well as Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to a local mobile banking company, syndicated financing to Regent Power by local banks as well as foreign institutional investors etc. The Firm has experience in advising both the investors/lenders and borrowers.

Key Client List:

Tanjib Alam and Associates have advised the following notable clients in present and past: 

Energy

Bangladesh Petroleum Exploration and Production Company Limited (BAPEX)

Paschimanchal Gas Company Limited

Maddhapara Granite Mining Company Ltd.

Padma Oil Company Limited

Jamuna Oil Company Limited

United Power Generation and Distribution Company Limited (UPGD)

Dutch-Bangla Power Company Limited

Desh Energy Limited

Northern Power Generation Limited

Precision Energy Limited

Khulna Power Company limited

Orion Power Meghnaghat Ltd.

Regent Energy and Power Ltd.

Energypac Electronics Ltd.

 

Telecommunication

Robi Axiata Limited

Airtel Bangladesh limited

GrameenPhone Limited

Huawei Technologies Ltd.

Banglatel Limited

Voice Tel Limited

Summit Communications

DBL Telecom

AK Khan Telecom Limited

 

Financial Institutions

Dutch Bangla Bank Limited

Infrastructure Development Company limited (IDCOL)

Prime Bank Limited

Jamuna Bank Limited

Shahjalal Islami Bank Ltd.

Al-Arafah Islami Bank Ltd.

Republic Insurance Ltd.

Citi Bank NA

Lanka Bangla Finance Ltd.

Trust Bank Ltd.

Eastern Bank Limited

Meghna Bank Limited

Jamuna Bank Limited

Shahjalal Islami Bank Ltd.

City Brokerage Ltd.

 

Securities and Stock Market

Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission

Dhaka Stock Exchange Limited

Chittagong Stock Exchange Limited

 

Pharmaceuticals

Novartis Bangladesh Limited

Glaxo Smith Kline Bangladesh Limited

Sanofi Aventis Bangladesh Limited

Team Pharmaceuticals Limited

Zuellig Pharma Ltd.

Ad Din Pharmaceuticals Ltd.

Bangladesh Chemist and Druggist Shomity

 

Infrastructure and development

Chittagong Port Authority

Shimizu Corporation

Sena Hotel Developments Limited

United Property Solutions Limited

Ananta Properties Limited

Atal Properties Limited

Confidence Group

A.K. Khan & Co. Ltd

Shanta Properties Limited

Rupayan Land Development Ltd.

Joytun Developers Ltd.

Partex Builders Ltd.

STS Holdins Limited

 

Customs

Abul Khair Group

Robi Axiata Limited

Airtel Bangladesh limited

GrameenPhone Limited

Avery Dennison

KDS Group

Partex Star Group

Butterfly Manufacturing Limited

Cosco Shipping Limited

Hapag-Lloyd

Elitehitech Industries Limited

IRIS Corporation Berhad

 

Shipping and Logistics

COSCO Container Lines Co. Ltd.

Orient Overseas Container Lines Ltd (OOCL).

Hapag – Lloyd.

China Shipping Container Lines Co. Ltd.

Maersk Bangladesh Limited

Damco Bangladesh Limited

NYK Shipping Limited

DHL Global Forwarding Bangladesh Limited

SG Logistics Limited

M/S Continental Traders

Coast to Coast P & I Services Ltd.

Panocean Limited

GMS Inc.

Kuehne + Nagel Ltd, Bangladesh

 

Textile and Spinning

Ambar Rotor Spinning Mills

Kader Synthetic Spinning Mills Limited

Cotton Group

Anlima Textiles Ltd

 

Garments and Apparels

Avery Dennison

Lidl

Okaidi

Palmal Group of Companies

BHT Group of Companies

Matin Spinning Mills Limited

DBL Group

KDS Group

Flemingo Fashions Limited

Sung Kwang Apparels Limited

Consumer Knitex Ltd.

YKK Bangladesh Ltd.

 

Private Equity

Brummer and Partners Limited

Frontier Fund Maritius Limited

 

Media and Technology

BBC (Bangladesh) Limited

BBC Worldwide Services

Disney Channel

Jadoo Media Limited

Star India Limited

Somoy Media Limited

Prothom Alo (Mediastar Ltd.)

 

Industry and Manufacturing

The Coca-Cola Inc.

International Beverage Bangladesh Limited

Partex Beverage Limited

Partex Star Group

BSRM Group

Seven Circle (Bangladesh) Limited

Coats Bangladesh Limited

Berger Paints Bangladesh Ltd.

Juki Singapore Pte Ltd.

Abul Khair Group

 

Retail and Consumer Goods

Procter & Gamble

Marico Bangladesh Ltd.

Rahimafrooz Ltd.

Danish Foods Limited

 

Institutions and Public departments

Banabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU)

Bangladesh Medical and Dental Council (BM&DC)

Gulshan Club Ltd.

IBIAS University

National Board of Revenue, Bangladesh

Civil Aviation Authority, Bangladesh

 

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