Thukten Zangpo

Of the 19 companies listed with the Royal Securities Exchange of Bhutan (RSEB), only five declared dividends for 2021.

The Bhutan Carbide and Chemicals Limited declared 110 percent dividends during its annual general meeting held on May 16 this year after two years.

While Druk Wang Alloys Limited (DWAL) declared a dividend of 35 percent, Bhutan Ferro Alloys Limited (BFAL) declared a 300 percent dividend on February 24. Druk Ferro Alloys Limited (DFAL) also declared an interim dividend of 30 percent during June closing last year. The State Trading Corporation of Bhutan declared a dividend of 25 percent on April 15.

Compared to 2020, the dividends declared by the companies in 2021 were better. In 2020, only DWAL and DFAL declared dividends of 65 percent and 6.5 percent respectively.

An official from the RSEB said that a 100 percent dividend is equivalent to Nu 10 per share.

Observers said that despite the pandemic, the companies dealing with the export of ferrosilicon were doing well. However, the increasing price of raw materials, inadequate supply of labourers, and competitive markets in India were some of the challenges the companies pointed out.

The price of ferrosilicon that fetched Nu 325,000 per metric tonne in mid-2020 was reduced to Nu 130,000 to Nu 150,000 today.

According to the National Statistics Bureau, the import prices of goods were 18.05 percent higher in 2021 over the figure in the same quarter of the previous year.

“The ferrous product was the main contributor to the increase in metal and metal articles while an increase in fuel prices led to the increase for the mineral group,” it stated.

Bhutan imported Nu 6.5 billion (B) worth of base metals and articles of base metal in 2021.

Meanwhile, the export prices of goods increased by 27.26 percent in 2021 compared to the previous year.

Ninety percent of the increase in export prices was dictated by the price of ferrosilicon.

According to the report, the ferrosilicon price increased by 123 percent in December last year, the highest since 2014. Similarly, the export prices for chemicals, plastics, textile, and apparel group recorded the second-highest increase by 41.96 percent.

Ferrosilicon is still the top commodity Bhutan exported in 2021 with Nu 15.28B.