Fortune Shoes Makes More Profits From Risky Stock Investments

Fortune Shoes made more money from its stock market investments than its core shoe business in the first half of the current fiscal year.

Moreover, most of the investments she has made have been in risky stocks, which have already doubled or tripled in recent months.

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This has led financial analysts to warn investors that they should be careful before investing in the publicly listed shoemaker as its earnings could plunge at any time with the fall of the shares where the company has poured its funds.

During the July-December 2021-22 period, Fortune Shoes profit more than tripled to Tk 32 crore, year-on-year.

According to his financial statements, he recorded a pre-tax profit of Tk 18 crore on his footwear business, while Tk 19.39 crore came from investing in the stock market.

Investment income was nil in the first half of the previous year.

An investment banker says that when listed companies were involved in stock trading in the past, many of them collapsed, so they should focus on their own business.

The Fortune Shoes portfolio appears to be intent on manipulation, he said. “If not, why has so much money been invested in stocks that frequently go up and down?

“Most of these stocks have risen abnormally in the recent past.”

Fortune Shoes pumped over Tk 44 crore in the stock market. Almost all of the fund was invested in Sonali Paper, Genex Infosys, Bangladesh National Insurance and Asia Insurance.

Over the past eight months, Sonali Paper stocks jumped 267% to 724 Tk, Genex Infosys by 160% to 159 Tk, Bangladesh National Insurance by 529% to 106 Tk and Asia Insurance by 464% to reach 97 Tk. DSE data showed.

“If listed companies invest in the stock market, sometimes they may be involved in insider trading, so the Bangladesh Securities Commission (BSEC) should look into the matter,” the investment banker added.

“We are doing well in our footwear operation. And we have invested in the stock market to get a good return,” said Riaz Uddin Bhuiya, Secretary General of Fortune Shoes.

The company’s operating profit from footwear operations rose 54% to Tk 18 crore in the first half compared to the same period a year ago, according to the financial statements.

“If we can generate a good return by investing in the stock market, our shareholders will surely be happy,” he said.

Responding to the risky choice of stocks, Bhuiya says that a separate department handles them and made the investment decision considering them as good choices.

“Banks and non-banking financial institutions are also investing in these stocks. The stocks have obtained BSEC approval. What is the problem if an investment is made in these stocks?”

A senior BSEC official says any listed company can invest in the stock market.

“We will keep an eye on whether this is insider trading or manipulation.”

Fortune Shoes closed down 3.65% at 134.50 Tk on the Dhaka Stock Exchange on Thursday.

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