MA Hashem: A legacy spanned from supplier to multi-industrialist
Peoples Time Desk
Partex Group owner MA Hashem started his career in 1959 by supplying tobacco leaves to companies. But when he died in 2020, Partex is now among the country's top 23 companies in terms of revenue.
Until he breathed his last Thursday, the businessman has set up more than 60 companies, including food, beverage, furniture, clothing, cotton, agricultural, maritime, plastics, real estate and cable.
More than 25,000 people are currently working in those production units built by the man hailing from Noakhali's Begumganj as a general importer. Apart from being the chairman of 63 organisations in various sectors, he was also the co-founder of two banks.
According to his colleagues, MA Hashem has climbed the ladder of success one after another by hard work, austerity and efficient management till the last day of his life.
Former General Manager of Partex Group Kazi Hassan, who had been with the company for more than two decades, told The Business Standard, "MA Hashem was a living example of punctuality, honesty and hard work. His motto was to create employment through business expansion."
In 2020, International Finance Corporation of the World Bank Group published a report on the private sector of Bangladesh. The report featured 23 business groups, including Partex of the country, based on revenue.
However, MA Hashem started his career by importing essential items like rice, salt, milk, sugar, spices and wheat after the independence of the country.
According to the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies and Firms (RJSC), MA Hashem's first company after independence was Hashem Trading Corporation.
For three decades, the company had been one of the leading importers of oil, flour, wheat, sugar and other essential commodities. However, Hashem gradually reduced his dependence on foreigners and planned to produce the items in the country.
Therefore, he moved to invest in food, beverages, edible oil, cotton, information technology and furniture manufacturing.
Previously in 1959, Partex Group began the business by tobacco sales and then switched to the trading of essential items. MA Hashem mostly attained his business success after taking over Star Particle Board in 80s since the government adopted an industrialisation policy.
After buying Star Particle Board, he established Partex Limited, Star Vegetable Oil and Rubel Steel Mills.
He also founded Partex Beverage, Danish Milk, Partex Real Estate, Amber Cotton Mills, Amber Pulp and Paper Mills in the early 90s.
He later formed Danish Distribution Network, Dhakacom, Partex Plastic Industries, Franchise Partex Beverage Limited, Partex Plastics Limited, Partex Jute Mills Limited, Partex Aviation Limited and Partex Properties Ltd.
Business foresight, market-friendly corporate strategy and modern management have played a crucial role in this success, said Kazi Hasan.
He said, "MA Hashem used to stay in the office from 9:00 am until late in the night. Besides management, he used to spend a lot of time in research."
MA Hashem is considered as one of the pioneers of private banks and insurance companies in Bangladesh. He is the founder of The City Bank Limited and United Commercial Bank Limited. He is also the founder of Janata Insurance Limited.
He developed Partex Plastic Industries during this period. Before the 8th parliamentary elections in 2001, MA Hashem joined the BNP. He became an MP from Noakhali-2 (Begumganj-Sonaimuri) constituency.
Besides business, MA Hashem was also well known for his philanthropic works. Apart from being a member of the parliament in 2001, he had set up several non-profit organisations in his name in Noakhali. These include schools, hospitals, and IBAIS University in Dhaka.
He nominated his successor before death
Kazi Hasan said that MA Hashem handed over the leadership of the business to his sons in 2010, to make them capable leading the business groups.
According to Partex website, with the passage of time and advent of business, the pioneering spirit of Partex has been showcased by family generation comprising Aziz Al-Kaiser, Aziz Al-Mahmood, Aziz Al-Masud, Showkat Aziz Russell and Rubel Aziz.
Significantly enough, Partex Star Group an offshoot of Partex Group steering business successfully with Sultana Hashem at chairperson and Aziz Al Kaiser as vice-chairman.
Partex Group, steered by Showkat Aziz Russell at the helm, operating in business sectors like communications and information technology, energy, materials, services and consumer products. The major Partex Group manufacturing units are Partex Denim, Amber Cotton Mills Limited, Partex Board Mills Limited, Partex Sugar Mills Limited, Partex Rotor Spinning Mills Limited, Partex Energy Limited and service providing companies are Partex Holdings Limited and Dhakacom Limited.