Bangladesh bourse sells stake to China, rejects India bid

Dhaka (AFP) –


Bangladesh's main stock exchange signed an agreement Monday selling a quarter of the bourse to a Chinese consortium, an official said, formally rejecting a rival bid from regional ally India.

Officials from the Shenzhen Stock Exchange and Shanghai Stock Exchange inked the deal to acquire 25 percent of the Dhaka Stock Exchange's (DSE) 1.8 billion shares, the bourse's spokesman Shafiqur Rahman told AFP.

"The finance minister was the chief guest at the signing ceremony," he said.

The Chinese consortium offered 21 taka ($0.25) per share, around $122 million, during the tender process and pledged additional technical support worth nearly $37 million.

The National Stock Exchange of India made a lower offer of 15 taka per share.

Local media reported that the Mumbai-based NSE tried to pressure the Dhaka bourse into accepting its bid.

Speculation mounted after Bangladesh's securities regulator asked the bourse to reconsider its decision to approve the Chinese offer over that of its powerful neighbour India.

The intervention by the Bangladesh Securities and Exchange Commission earned a sharp rebuke from corruption watchdog Transparency International.

The DSE approved the Chinese offer for a second time in February. The securities regulator eventually accepted the proposal.

DSE Chairman Abul Hashem said the Chinese bid was selected after "rigorous scrutiny".

"Our focus was a long-term strategic relationship for a sustainable development of our capital market. After a rigorous scrutiny, we selected the Consortium of Shenzhen and Shanghai Stock Exchange," he said.