Asian Tiger Capital Partners will launch a $100 – $200 million private equity fund to invest in Bangladesh this September, with the UK company claiming that foreign direct investment in the country could increase tenfold to around $7 billion by 2015.

The announcement was made as Asian Tiger unveiled its first research report on the Bangladeshi economy, focusing on 14 investment sectors ranging from agriculture to power and pharmaceuticals.

The fund, which will be aimed at general investment, will be followed by a separate stock market equity fund and an infrastructure fund.

The group hopes to raise money primarily from global investment institutions and non-resident Bangladeshis (NRBs).

Ifty Islam, Managing Partner of Asian Tiger, said Bangladesh offered real opportunities at a time when, due to the American subprime crisis, global investors, especially in the Middle East with excess petro-currency surpluses, are looking for alternatives to the US and Europe to invest in.

Bangladesh doesn’t need to have a begging bowl to get investors to come here,” said Ifty, a former Managing Director at Citigroup in New York, who has also held senior positions at Deutsche Bank and Merrill Lynch.

If Vietnam could increase FDI from $ 2 billion in 2000 to $ 20 billion in 2007, then why should Bangladesh not be able to follow suit, he said.

He said the 140-page report titled ‘Bangladesh: Growth, Investment, Opportunity’ will be distributed to several thousand global investors. “We want to give people better information, to try and get global financial institutions to focus on Bangladesh.”

“We want the top global investors and multinationals to see Bangladesh as Asia’s next great untapped investment opportunity,” he said.

Ifty also said in the next phase Asian Tiger will publish separate reports on each of the 14 investment sectors with much more details and analysis.

Speaking at the launch of the report, British High Commissioner in Dhaka, Anwar Choudhury, said the report will help build the country’s image.

“Bangladesh is often talked about as becoming an Asian Tiger, but the missing link is how this will be achieved,” he said. The report and the expereince of NRB’s such as Ifty Islam would help set Bangladesh on the ‘Tiger path,’ he added.

“I hope the government will distribute the report to all its embassies across the world,” he said.

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