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Bangladesh liberalizes outward investment at last

After decades trapped at home, companies are eager to expand abroad

Workers assemble medicine packaging at Incepta Pharmaceuticals in Dhaka. Many Bangladeshi companies have longed to expand abroad.   © Getty Images

DHAKA Until recently, outward investment was something corporate Bangladesh could only dream about. But a loosening of government controls has prompted a raft of proposals for overseas expansion as companies seek to diversify their earnings.

In October, Bangladesh's cabinet gave permission to Akij Group, a conglomerate, to buy Robin Resources, a Malaysian fiberboard and composites maker, for $80 million. Akij, which has interests in those sectors as well as in food and beverage, tobacco, cement, jute and textiles, was allowed to transfer $20 million to Malaysia to partially finance the acquisition, with the balance to be paid through offshore borrowings.

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