Sunday, June 24, 2007

Life of South Asians in Dubai

Ismat left home for Dubai as her day labourer husband Helal Uddin, who had been remaining sick almost all year round, could not manage to earn enough to meet everyday expenditures. She got married when she was 14 and has been facing hardship since then.

Ismat, who had no money, had to collect 60,000 Taka to finance her trip to Dubai. Some of the money was donated by her neighbours and some of it came from personal loans. Ashraful, a manpower agent from Rampal village in Munshiganj, Bangladesh, managed a visa to Dubai for her as a domestic help.

Only after 15 days of her initiation at work as a domestic help in an eight-member family in Dubai, the housewife and three of her daughters unleashed endless torture on Ismat, even over the simplest unintended mistakes. She was never allowed to meet anyone and was kept isolated from the outside world.

The one-storey house where she used to work was in a huge compound with twelve rooms, five bathrooms, and two big balconies. As the lone domestic help everyday she had to wash all the rooms, clean all the furniture, prepare food, make tea, wash clothes, and serve every single person in the family even with glasses of water.

Ismat could never take a second's break all through the day as she used to be submerged in a pile of work. If she would be busy with a chore, someone of the family would be calling her with another chore, and quite often as she would run in a hurry from one chore to another leaving the previous one half done, she would earn bouts of beatings.

To be able to manage the work load with an intention to avoid beatings she would have to work 22 hours a day, still she would not always be able to evade the daily beatings. Sometimes she would not be allowed to sleep for two days in a row. Whenever she would try to take some rest due to debilitating exhaustion, the entire family of the employer would descend on her. Mariam, the housewife, and her three daughters used to beat her in a locked room. She used to be fed only once a day and her salary was only 8,000 Taka (equivalent in AED) a month.

Not being able to take the inhumane torture anymore, which had gone on for seven months, she at last thought of a way out and threatened to commit suicide if she was not sent back home.

The day before she was sent back, Mariam banged Ismat's head against a wall twice for delaying in ironing a garment.

The article was published in The Daily Star.
Click on the link below to be redirected to the original article.
Dubai dreams turn into nightmare.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End - Film Review

Why is this movie so long? It just dragged with unnecessary stretching of the action scenes. To make it worse the action scenes weren't as good as the previous two installments.

I don't understand why Will and Elizabeth had to get married in the middle of the war.

The movie was too long and the story was too complicated for my little brain to follow. I found it really difficult to concentrate and understand the story.

Overall rating 5 out of 10. It's the worst of the trilogy.

Looks like 2007 will be a bad year for the trilogies.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Shrek The Third: Film Review

Shrek's father in law hands over the kingdom of Far Far Away to Shrek before he passes away. Shrek shows reluctance to be the king and goes out to find the second heir to the throne prince Arthur.

In the mean time, prince Charming and his evil friends capture the kingdom of Far Far Away and keep Fiona as hostage who is pregnant.

Shrek and his friends come back with prince Arthur and defeat prince Charming with the help of Fiona and her friends.

Shrek the third lacked the funny substance and hidden morale which were the key to success for the first to installments.

An average movie with an average rating of 5 out of 10.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Dhaka Chronicle

Arrived Dhaka on 8th June at 9am. Took my dad to do his check up in BIRDEM. After the check up went to Nilkhet to buy my books for MBA. On 11th June Dad had his cataract from right eye removed at Harun Eye Foundation- the best eye hospital in Dhaka. We could see the whole operation on CCTV from the lounge.

After the surgery I had to be on the run for few days for post operative check ups and care.

Installed a CCTV system in the house on the day before I came back.

Met up with friends every evening while I was there.

Arrived back at Manchester on 18th June.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Fool and Final: Film Review

The film was supposed to be a comedy. I don't know what it turned out to be in the end. Very weak story and even weaker casting made the film a torture to watch throughout.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Kya Love Story Hain: Film Review

Kya Baakwaz love story hain!!
Ayesha Takia wants a self made man, so she rejects Tusshar Kapur and goes some newcoming actor. But in the end, she realises Tusshar's love and comes back to him. What a stupid film story which was a total waste of time. The soundtracks were quite good, though.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Financial analysis of Cookson Group plc

1. Company Overview:

Cookson Group plc is a FTSE250 company material science company operating on a worldwide basis in ceramics, electronics and precious metals.

The modern version of the company was founded by Roland Cookson which was originally founded in 18th century in Tyneside, England. Since 1949, Cookson group have grown to be a global research oriented company in its business field.

According to the company website, Cookson group’s Ceramics division is the world leader in the supply of advanced flow control refractory products and systems to the global steel industry and a leading supplier of specialist ceramics products for the glass and foundry industries. It is also a regional leader in the US, UK and Australia in the supply and installation of monolithic refractory linings. The Electronics division is a leading supplier of advanced surface treatment and plating chemicals and assembly materials to the automotive, construction and electronics markets. The Precious Metals division is a leading supplier of fabricated precious metals (primarily gold, silver and platinum) to the jewellery industry in the US, the UK, France and Spain. Products include alloy materials, semi-finished jewellery components and finished jewellery.

2. Financial Overview:

Company’s latest filed accounts are for 2006. Figures are taken from the group’s consolidated accounts. 2006 was only the second year that the Group accounts have been prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). Therefore, only 2 years of comparable financial data are available for credit analysis. For the 12 months ended in 2006, sales revenue was £1590 million, 9% up from £1457m in 2005. Profit before tax was £113.3m a 30% increase from profit before tax of 2005 of £101.1m. The trading profit went up from £124.9 million to £150.3 million. The earnings per share rose by 27% to 46.6p from 36.8p. Earning per share, together with group’s strong cash flow generation has enabled the board to recommend the shareholders a final dividend of 7.0 pence for 2006. This final dividend, together with interim dividend paid in October 2006, makes a total of 10.0 pence per ordinary share for the year. The group has also managed to reduce its net debt to £181 million, a reduction of £112 million from 2005.

In addition to the above information, few recent changes have taken place in the Group. Two Assembly Materials factories of Cookson Group plc will be closed and will be relocated to Mexico due to a cost cutting operation. In the chemistry sector in Europe, facilities are being consolidated by closing factories in Spain and Italy and production in Germany and Netherlands will be expanded to support the growth. The buy-out of former 49% J V Partners in chemistry sector’s China business has been completed, which will also support the growth in the important market. The non-core Florida based PVC cements business was sold in December 2006.

3. Analysis of financial position and performance:

Liquidity Ratios:
The liquidity ratios mainly comprise of two ratios, the quick ratio and current ratio. The liquidity ratios look at business risk. The stronger a company from a financial point of view, the less risky it is. (Weygandt, 2007)

The quick ratio (also known as Acid Test) compares cash minus inventories to the financial liabilities they expect to incur within a year’s time. The quick ratio for the company in 2006 is 1.04:1. The quick ratio in 2005 was 1.32:1. As we can see, the quick ratio for 2006 is very close 1.

The current ratio compares current liabilities to cash in hand now plus other inflows including accounts receivable. The current ratio of 2006 is 1.45:1; in 2005 the current ratio was 1.86:1. The current ratio for 2006 is lower than the ratio of 2005; it is below the arguably standard for current ratio which is 2.

Profitability ratios:

The profitability ratios measure the income or overall success of a company for a given period of time. Profit/loss affects the company’s ability to obtain debt and equity financing. (Weygandt, 2007)

Return on equity (ROE) shows how much profit a company earned in comparison to the total amount of shareholder equity and reserve found on the balance sheet. ROE for the group for 2006 was 13.68; in 2005 the return on equity was negative.

Return on capital employed (ROCE) is used to measure the returns that a company is generating from its capital employed. It is used as a measure for comparing the performance between businesses and for assessing whether a business generates enough returns to pay for its cost of capital. Return on capital employed for the group in 2006 was 15.91 and for 2005, it was 10.01.

The gross profit margin measures the percent of revenue left after paying all direct production expenses. In 2006, the Gross profit margin for the group was 27.89%; in 2005 it was 27.80%.

The net profit margin is a measure of percentage of each pound of sales that results in net income. The net profit margin was 6.83 in 2006 and 4.80 in 2005.

The profitability on both gross profit and net profit has improved.

The asset turnover ratio measures how efficiently a company uses its assets to generate sales. The asset turnover ratio for the company was 1.27 in 2006 and was 1.13. This means, in 2005, Cookson Group plc generated £1.13 for every £1 it invested which went up to £1.27 per pound invested in 2006.

Capital Structure:

Gearing or leverage is a very important ratio which illustrates the long-term funding provided internally by shareholders to that contributed externally by lenders. Gearing ratio provides some indication of the company’s ability to withstand loses without hampering the interests of creditors. Gearing ratio for 2006 was 84% and for 2005, it was 137.5%. A ratio of 84% means that creditors provided 84% of Group’s total assets. The standard gearing ratio for a company should be around 50% to be deemed as financially healthy. Although Group is improving, it’s still behind the standard.

Interest coverage provides an indication of the company’s ability to meet interest payment as they come due. Interest coverage for the company in 2006 was 5.01 and in 2005, it was 3.50. This means for the as of 2006, group’s interest is covered for 5 payments.


Appendix

Current Assets-Inventories

Quick ratio = ------------------------------

Current liabilities

607.5-171.2

2006 -------------

418.5

=1.04

630.4-179.6

2005 -----------------

339.1

= 1.32

Current Assets

Current ratio =---------------------

Current Liabilities

607.5

2006 ----------

418.5

=1.45

630.4

2005 --------------

339.1

= 1.86

Profit after tax

Return on Equity = ------------------------------x100

Share capital+ reserves

66.4

2006 ---------- x100

484.2

=13.68%

(7.6)

2005 ------------- x100

461.7

= (1.64)

Profit before income and tax

Return on capital employed: ----------------------------------x100

Equity+ Long term debt

113.5+28.3

2006 --------------- x100

484.2 + 407

=15.91

78.5+31.3

2005 ----------------- x100

461.7+634.9

=10.01

Sales-Cost of sales

Gross Profit Margin:---------------------x100

Sales

1661.4-1198.2

2006 ------------------ x100

1661.4

=27.89%

1634.6-1180.2

2005 ---------------- x100

1634.6

=27.80%

Net profit

Net Profit Margin: --------------x100

Sales

113.5

2006 ----------- x100

1661.4

=6.83

78.5

2005 ------------- x100

1634.6

=4.80

Sales

Asset Turnover: ------------

Assets

1661.4

2006 ------------

1309.7

=1.27

1634.6

2005 -----------

1435.7

=1.13

Long term debt

Gearing ratio:----------------------x100

Equity

407

2006 --------------x100

484.2

=84%

634.9

2005 --------------x100

461.7

=137.5%

Profit before income and tax

Interest Cover: ---------------------------------

Interest expense

113.5+28.3

2006 -----------

28.3

=5.01

78.5+31.3

2005 -------------

31.3

=3.50


Thursday, June 07, 2007

At Manchester airport

I am at the Manchester airport departure lounge, waiting for the boarding. I think the flight is delayed by one hour, so I might miss the connecting flight from Dubai...
I am using my T-mobile USB modem to surf internet now..it's great!!!