About Us

Business Research International Corporation Inc. (BRIC) is a Panamanian registered investment company for a family office registered in 1987. The company since then has been engaged in primarily Public Equity investments across multiple industries across multiple markets.
BRIC actively seeks Private Equity and Venture Capital investment opportunities.

It’s current global portfolio holdings are valued approximately at $200mn BRIC’s Bangladesh investments include a 21.8% stake in Renata Ltd., a listed company (DSE: RENATA, Mcap:≈$863M), one of the largest pharmaceutical / diversified industries companies in Bangladesh, formerly Pfizer Laboratories (Bangladesh) Ltd. BRIC also owns a 15% stake in a leading outsourcing company called BGLOBAL and a 10% stake in DIRECT FRESH a food distribution, agro and grocery e-commerce company.

BRIC’s banking relationships include such preeminent Swiss bankers as Julius Bär and Pictet. BRIC’s accounting and AUDIT firm is KPMG Bangladesh (Rahman Rahman Haque)
VISION : BRIC has always succeeded by taking a longer horizon and perspective on investments . The focus going forward is to seek out investment opportunities that will help the economy, benefit individuals at the ‘Bottom of the Pyramid’ and have positive returns both economically and socially. BRIC in 2017 has decided to diversify and invest in renewable energy starting in Bangladesh, a market it is familiar with but will look seriously at other opportunities in different markets. It’s diversification strategy entails investment and management in the following business ventures:

  • Emerging Market Private Equity Opportunities
  • Investment in renewable energy opportunities
  • Co-Investment in Infrastructure Investments with strategic partners
  • Investment in listed Equities and Bonds

Bangladesh Overview

Densely populated country of 165 million world’s # 7 by population but # 94 by landmass
Formerly part of India; culturally similar, with intertwined economies and harmonious political relations
A vibrant, two party democracy
Resilient, consistent 6-8% GDP growth
Moderate Islamic country, geographically and culturally distant from trouble spots (Pakistan, Middle East, etc)
Large infrastructure investment opportunities facilitated by FDI-friendly investment policies
Healthy financial position bolstered by remittances from large Diaspora
Rising domestic liquidity and confidence, reflected in buoyant property and capital markets

Founders and Managing Partner

IFTEKHAR-KARIM

AMBASSADOR IFTEKHAR KARIM

Founder and Senior Managing Partner

MK

MISHAL KARIM

Managing Partner

 

Iftekhar Karim


Iftekhar Karim, ex international banker and at age 37 retired from his professional banking career and became the youngest full secretary Ambassador appointed in 1985 by the Government of Bangladesh. After his stint in the foreign service concluded he decided to look at investing in Bangladesh the country of his birth. In 1993, the Government of Bangladesh introduced a series of new rules and regulations that stopped companies from repatriating profits via over invoicing. Many multinationals decided to exit the market at that stage including the pharmaceutical companies Bristol Myers Squibb [BMS] and Pfizer Inc. IK purchased BMS outright and secured himself a 26% stake in Pfizer Bangladesh that was subsequently renamed RENATA LIMITED.

IK sold BMS to the TRANSCOM group in 2001 and the BMS factory is now the factory for ESKAYEF, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in Bangladesh. IK sold BMS for approximately twelve times what the company was bought for eight years earlier. The below $700,000 investment to acquire a 26% stake to buy the Pfizer factory in Bangladesh, today renamed RENATA made by IK in 1993 is currently worth just under $183,000,000 which is 261 X return in 24 years. This is after partially exiting almost $12,000,000 in the last seven years taking the groups holding in the company to 21.8% as it currently stands.

IK is a conservative investor and believes in investing based on strong fundamentals and a longer term perspective. He rarely looks for quick return opportunities and is risk averse in general. He has more of a wealth preservation mind set but will not fail to act if there is a business opportunity that promises a good risk versus reward ratio.

In 2017, IK working closely with his son, Mishal is planning to pursue Private Equity opportunities, especially focusing on Renewable Energy investment opportunities.

Mishal Karim


In 2005, he co-founded BGLOBAL, a company focused on developing outsourced web applications primarily from the United States with business partner Samuel Dumont Bretzfield. Samuel relocated with his wife to Bangladesh to take on the role as CEO of BGLOBAL. He remained in Bangladesh for the next 12 years to build the company in to one of the leading technology firms in the country boasting marquee customers such as HBO, DISNEY, TECH DATA, PROLEXIC to name just a few.

Almost eight years later the duo again founded together their second venture together, DIRECT FRESH LIMITED. DIRECT FRESH introduced the ‘farm to table’ ideology to Bangladesh and is engaged in food retailing through it’s ecommerce platform, food distribution, import, export and food supply to large institutions, hotels, restaurants and hospitals. Over the next four years Direct Fresh grew significantly and in 2016 closed a successful SERIES A round to grow the company. DIRECT FRESH is set for rapid growth in the next few years and is expected to earn a valuation of USD $10 million by Q2 2018 when the next funding round is meant to take place.

MK subsequently invested in the restaurant business and other food related business and established a boutique marketing agency, called SPACE DAWG to handle marketing for the group and all in-house projects in 2016. He is currently set to open three more restaurants by Q2 2017 and is aggressively growing his Food & Beverage company, FAT DUCK LIMITED

Other Relevant Information


In Asia and especially in Bangladesh, who you are and which family you hail from goes a long way to establish credibility. Mishal Karim is the eldest grandson of iconic politician Late Humayun Rasheed Choudhury [HRC]. HRC as a young officer of the foreign service of Bangladesh was posted to the then Pakistani High Commission in India. When the West Pakistan and East Pakistan engaged in the liberation war, HRC defected and became the Head of the liberation movement in India. In this role, he developed a special relationship with Indra Gandhi, the Indian Prime Minister at the time. It was HRC that travelled across India with the Gandhi family to raise domestic awareness in India and support for the liberation war being fought in what is now Bangladesh. The objective was simple, get India to intervene against Pakistan and help liberate Bangladesh, which as well know is exactly what happened.

HRC was then posted to Germany as Ambassador after the war during which time Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, father of the nation, was shot and killed with most of his family members and a new Military regime was established. HRC http://www.thedailystar.net/august-15-bangabandhus-daughters-37158C heroically helped the two surviving daughters of Sheikh Hasina, the current honorable Prime Minister of Bangladesh and Sheikh Rehana, her younger sister. He was recalled and was meant to be released from his duties for doing so and apparently on the army ‘kill’ list but was saved by yet another Military Coup. HRC leveraged his relationship with Indira Gandhi and assisted securing asylum for the last of the Sheikh family in India.

HRC went on to taking on key roles in the Foreign Service including becoming the Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the United States during the tenure of his career. Subsequently, he became the Foreign Secretary of Bangladesh and ended his stint in the Government as the most illustrious Foreign Minister Bangladesh will ever see because during his tenure as Foreign Minister he also was chosen to be 41st President of the United Nations General Assembly.

HRC temporarily retired but when Sheikh Hasina wanted to contest democratic elections she came back to HRC and made him Speaker of Parliament for the first Awami League Government under her rule. To conclude, although Mishal Karim is not engaged in politics directly, he has access and favor at the highest level, making him a good partner for any ventures or projects involving the Government of Bangladesh. More information about HRC can be found here https://goo.gl/tDerT9

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