British International Investment's loan will be used to import machinery for the company's new factory in the Danga Industrial Park, the company said in a statement.
REL, a unit of the PRAN-RFL group, hopes to increase its refrigerator manufacturing capacity and assembly line of small appliances such as rice cookers and blenders with the funds. It will also help create at least 600 jobs, 40 per cent of which are expected to be semi-skilled workers, according to the company.
The loan marks BII’s first investment under the '2X Challenge' in Bangladesh, owing to the role of women in the company's leadership and its initiative to advance quality employment opportunities for women within its workforce.
The 2X Challenge is an initiative launched by the development finance institutions of the G7 to mobilise capital to support increased economic empowerment for women in emerging economies.
“I am thrilled that we are deepening our partnership with the PRAN-RFL group through this loan. This latest investment in REL demonstrates BII’s commitment to continuing to back the growth of an ambitious partner that is making strong strides toward accelerating productivity in the country and creating inclusive economic opportunities in form of jobs for women and semi-skilled," said M Rehan Rashid, the BII's country director for Bangladesh.
Ahsan Khan Chowdhury, CEO of PRAN-RFL Group, said the facility will help boost local manufacturing and cater to the increasing demand for electronics products among the fast-growing and urbanising middle-income segment of Bangladesh.
Lauding the initiative, British High Commissioner to Bangladesh Robert Chatterton Dickson said the investment recognises PRAN-RFL’s efforts to increase women’s employment.
“BII is central to the UK’s new international development strategy and it is delivering honest and reliable investment that creates jobs and supports economic development in Bangladesh,” he added.