For the first time since being listed with the capital market in 2008, the company failed to pay any dividend to shareholders
FAS Finance and Investment Ltd posted a Tk151 crore loss for the year that ended on 31 December 2019.
Its net assets also fell by 84% to Tk29 crore during that year.
According to the company's financial disclosure, following this trend, for the first time since being listed with the capital market in 2008, the company could not pay any dividend to shareholders.
During the first three quarters of the same year, however, the company posted Tk2.28 crore net profit and Tk204 crore net asset value.
Zahid Mahmud, company secretary of FAS Finance, told The Business Standard, "As directed by the Bangladesh Bank, we kept appropriate provisions against bad loans and other liabilities, which is why we faced such a big loss in the last year."
A senior company official said they had faced several major debt scandals last year, and Prashanta Kumar (PK) Halder's debt scandal was especially responsible for the huge loss.
Sources said the company was run by Nitol Niloy Group. Abdul Matlub Ahmad, former president of FBCCI and chairman of Nitol Niloy Gropu, and his family administered different activities of FAS Finance as nominated directors.
According to sources, corporate practice in FAS Finance had been sound till 2012. However, after that, Abdul Matlub Ahmad and his family members began veering away from this company. Finally, they sold all company shares in 2014.
P&L International Ltd, Reptile Farm Ltd and Nikita & Company Ltd, allegedly responsible for the downfall of the company, started buying FAS Finance shares.
In an interesting turn of events, P&L and Reptile Farm are owned by PK Halder, now fugitive in a case filed by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC).
A Bangladesh Bank investigation found that Halder had siphoned off Tk1,329 crore, after taking a series of loans under different names between 2015 and 2017.
PK Halder is the sole beneficiary of Tk1,181 crore, 66% of the company's total loan and investments during the first three quarters of last year.
MA Hafeez, proprietor of Nikita & Company and former President of Bangladesh Merchant Bankers Association, also served as Chairman of FAS Finance.
Sources alleged that PK Halder and his accomplices took command of the company board in 2014, triggering a series of bad loans that ultimately paved the way for the company's downfall.
Meanwhile, Nikita & Company washed their hands off FAS Finance, selling all of its shares between 2017 and 2018.
As of 30 September 2020, P&L International and Reptile Farm hold 5.37% and 7.83% shares of FAS Finance respectively.
PK Halder and his accomplices also grabbed International Leasing, People Leasing and Bangladesh Industrial Finance Company (BIFC). Among these, People Leasing is currently being abolished, International Leasing posted Tk2,800 crore loss last year, while BIFC has not yet published its financial report.
The allegation of embezzlement against PK Halder surfaced following the launch of ACC's inquiry last year into the wealth amassed by illegal casino owners.
He was the Deputy Managing Director of Industrial and Infrastructure Development Finance Company (IIDFC) in 2008. With 10 years of banking experience under his belt, he joined Reliance Finance as its Managing Director in 2009. He became Managing Director of the NRB Global Bank in July 2015.
On 8 January this year, the ACC filed a case against Halder for amassing properties worth around Tk274.91 crore from unknown sources.
Later, on 21 January, in response to a petition filed by several investors over the siphoning off of Tk3,500 crore, the High Court ordered relevant authorities to freeze the bank accounts and seize the passports of 19 accused, including Halder.
However, Halder fled to Canada in October last year.
As of the end of September last year, FAS Finance's total borrowing and deposits from various banks, financial institutions and individuals stood at Tk1,558 crore. Also, as of September 2019, the company had disbursed Tk1,780 crore in loans, advance payments, and leases.
The paid-up capital of FAS Finance is Tk149.07 crore. Of the total shares, company sponsors and directors hold 13.20%, institutional investors hold 16.23% and general investors hold 70.57%.
Its share price was Tk5.50 each at the end of last Thursday's trading session at the Dhaka Stock Exchange (DSE), while its face value per share was Tk10.