Local excellence set within the framework of a would-be global development programme that a) is still evolving and b) whose ultimate ambition remains nebulous, is not easy to achieve. But get the right institution, staffed by a group of experienced managers with ambition, capital, gumption and the spirit of adventure, and it can be done. For proof, look at the example set by Green Delta Capital, a seven-year-old boutique investment bank located in the Bangladesh capital Dhaka. Overseen by chief executive and managing director Rafiqul Islam, GDC has grown steadily, structuring and arranging, since 2011, $750 million-worth of onshore transactions and helping Bangladesh firms raise $88 million-worth of fresh equity.
But the advisory firm, part owned by the private-sector arm of the World Bank, has raised the bar over the last year, forging working partnerships with two Beijing-based investment banks, Zenith Capital and Panda New Capital, expressly to facilitate BRI projects, with a focus on BRI-related projects in Bangladesh, China and southeast Asia.
In May, it was mandated as lead arranger and adviser to Akij Group, helping the Bangladesh conglomerate to buy Malaysia’s Robin Resources for $78 million. The deal created a regional champion that will source wood and board materials locally and from China, finish them in Malaysia, and then export them to more than 60 countries along the New Silk Road, from Singapore and the UAE, to India and the UK.
GDC was instrumental in helping to raise $40 million in April, to complete the construction of a 35-megawatt solar park west of Dhaka, to be co-owned by local construction firm Spectra Engineers and China Shunfeng Investment, with Wuxi-based solar photovoltaic maker Suntech chosen as the EPC contractor.