Transcom - Excellence and ethics sustain Bangladesh’s leading business house -stated by Newsweek
Transcom - Excellence and ethics sustain Bangladesh's leading business house Bangladesh's economic track record is impressive, to say the least, and over the past decade it has consistently been one of the world's fastest-growing economies. Real GDP growth averaged 6.8% between 2010 and 2019, supported by favorable demographics, a powerhouse manufacturing industry, and stable macroeconomic conditions. The IMF projects GDP growth will hit 6.6% in 2022, and exceed pre-pandemic levels by 2023 to reach 7.1%. The country's economic rebound will be one of the strongest and most sustained in the world.
The country's rapidly-expanding industrial and consumer bases are the driving force behind this growth, and they will continue to play a pivotal role in future economic recovery and development. The evidence is in the data: according to the World Bank, manufacturing's GDP contribution more than tripled over the previous decade, from $18.6 billion in 2010 to $57.3 billion in 2020. Annual household spending rose from $258 billion to $582 billion over the same period. And for leading domestic conglomerate Transcom, this is only the beginning
Transcom's origins date back to 1885, when the company was originally active in the tea and jute industries. Its modern iteration was established in 1973, and today Transcom is active across a broad spectrum of economic sectors, including health care, fast-moving consumer goods, food and beverage, media, electronics, logistics, and distribution. Transcom is one of the largest, most diversified, and fastest-growing conglomerates in the country, which Group CEO Simeen Rahman attributed to its core values: ethics, quality, trust, and sustainable business.
A milestone that encapsulates who we are as a group was when in 2012, our Founder-Chairman, Latifur Rahman, was given the Oslo Business for Peace Award - which is the most celebrated recognition in the global business community - for ethically building this conglomerate while also creating value for society. That is where our strength comes from, and this is the legacy our Chairman left us. Along with these values, we have a clear direction of being formidable players in every industry, and of course, quality must never be compromised".
FOLLOWING THROUGH ON THESE VALUES AND DELIVERING THE BEST RESULTS HAS MADE TRANSCOM THE PARTNER OF CHOICE FOR INTERNATIONAL BRANDS EXPANDING THEIR PRESENCE IN BANGLADESH.
In 2000, for example, Transcom took over the Pepsi beverages franchise in Bangladesh, taking control of managing and manufacturing of PepsiCo's Bangladesh business, at which time Pepsi had a limited presence in the country. Under Transcom's ownership, Pepsi became the dominant beverage business in Bangladesh, with the largest single market share. Transcom has since received accolades such as the International Bottler of the Year in 2009 and 2016 from Pepsi, for being the best partner in its entire global network.
Today, Transcom's portfolio of international partnerships extends across some of the biggest and best blue chips in the world. The group manufactures appliances and white goods for Whirlpool, cosmetics for L'Oreal, and acts as the local partner for others including Frito-Lays, KFC, Pizza Hut, Abbott, and Mars among others.
Pharmaceuticals is another strength, after the group acquired the multinational SmithKline & French’s Bangladesh operations in 1990, renaming the company as Eskayef Pharmaceuticals Ltd. Since then, Eskayef has risen to become a dominant force in the Bangladeshi pharmaceutical market. The group has also been a dedicated distributor for Novo Nordisk, a major multinational pharmaceutical company, since 2008. In 2012 Eskayef began manufacturing life-saving insulin vials for the firm, and in 2017 Eskayef got into an agreement with Novo Nordisk to manufacture its cutting-edge modern penfill insulin becoming the first such company in the world to do so as a manufacturing partner to Novo Nordisk.
“As for global standards, it is important to note that Eskayef Pharmaceuticals has received all the necessary international regulatory approvals from the most stringent bodies in the world, such as the US FDA, UK MHRA, European Medicines Agency, Brazil Anvisa, TGA Australia, South Africa SAHPRA to name a few. Eskayef's quality is right up there with international standards, whilst implementing global best practices. Our standards are identical to any manufacturer's in the US or Europe, we have the same accreditations and quality standards,” added Rahman.
BUSINESS DIVERSIFICATION AND TOP-QUALITY MANUFACTURING HAVE HELPED THE GROUP EXPAND ITS PRESENCE BEYOND BANGLADESH, AND TRANSCOM, THROUGH ESKAYEF, NOW MAINTAINS A PRESENCE IN 67 COUNTRIES.
Domestically, Transcom Group has built deep trust with its local partners and banks, ensuring smooth operations and reliability. It has maintained a platinum credit rating as a result, with credit exposure equivalent to just one-third of revenue - a unique position for a group of its size. Transcom is also tax compliant, and its fiscal responsibility has earned it preferential rates from the financial sector - a sure sign that it is safe and solvent.
“During the pandemic. we had a clear mission to stand by humanity: Eskayef launched the first generic in the world for the three most effective anti-viral drugs shortly after emergency approvals by the global regulatory authorities. They were Remdesivir, Molnupiravir, and Nirmatrelvir co-packaged with Ritonavir. This was not only for Bangladesh; we exported these anti-COVID drugs to 49 countries, and supported patients all over the globe.”
Beyond industry and manufacturing, the group also has an established presence in media, and owns two major newspapers, Prothom Alo founded in 1998 and The Daily Star founded in 1991. It is the largest media house in the country, and lest media house in the country and once again, it is doing business the right way: Transcom's media arm is entirely independent editorially, a rarity for the region.
THE CEO SEES TECHNOLOGY AS CRUCIAL TO THE GROUP'S FUTURE GROWTH, AND TRANSCOM HAS INVESTED HEAVILY IN TECHNOLOGY TO MAINTAIN A COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE.
Digital development and artificial intelligence are crucial components of its business strategy, she revealed:
“In our media business for example, we're seeing that the readership is shifting from print to digital, and we're investing in technology.
digital, and we're investing in technology. We're doing the same in pharmaceutical products by working with more complex formulations such as biologicals, and in our beverage division, we are working with cutting-edge Al based solutions to understand the situation in every store, track our competitors, and build a road map of how to strengthen our position even further."
As she looks to the future, Rahman has three key objectives: achieve exponential growth in its existing industries, expand Transcom further globally through Eskayef Pharmaceuticals, and focus on technology as the next big growth area.
Expansion in existing industries is a natural first step, and Bangladesh has much to offer, Rahman explained: the country's large, growing, and increasingly aspirational consumer base has created billions of dollars of untapped opportunity in existing and emerging markets. Transcom has already proven itself as a reliable and ethical business partner, and the CEO is ready to take the next step.
"I see tremendous growth prospects in industries where we're operating and where we plan to operate, due to all the good macroeconomic factors: we have a rapidly growing GDP, we have great per capita income which is now higher than our neighbouring countries, we're a growing and young population. We have a very aspirational consumer base; 57% of our people are less than 25 years of age, and we have a 74% literacy-rate. All of these factors suggest a very bright future," she said.
The second priority, global expansion will be through taking Transcom's Eskayef Pharmaceuticals expansion across the world. As the pandemic demonstrated, Transcom's pharmaceuticals division holds particularly high potential for future growth, and the group plans to leverage investment in this sphere with plans to develop injectables and other complex molecules for the most potential global markets. Top international scientists and professionals, who are a part of Eskayef's team, are already working towards this target.
Finally, emerging industries hold considerably high potential for future expansion. To that end, Transcom is currently interested in new partnerships and joint ventures in the high-tech sphere, particularly in manufacturing core components such as semiconductors and microchips. As always, Transcom's core values will provide the guiding light for the next growth phase.
“I believe it should be a marriage of expertise from both sides: we bring to the table the know-how and help on the ground here in Bangladesh, along with our existing expertise in manufacturing quality high-tech products. The partners bring in the understanding of how to approach their industry and deep technical expertise. We are looking for the right partners to join us from anywhere in the world. What we want is someone reliable; we want to pick the right partner who matches our ethics, values and mindset,” Rahman concluded.