BUSINESS NEWS 24/5

Vietnam to hold Cashless Day

The State Bank of Vietnam has announced that June 16 will be designated as Cashless Day.

The Cashless Day will be a way to promote non-cash payments and organised by the State Bank of Vietnam, Tuoi Tre Newspaper, Vietnam E-Commerce Association and National Payment Corporation of Vietnam.

Pham Tien Dung, Director General of the Payment Department, State Bank of Vietnam, said the technology for banking activities had developed and both safety and legal framework factors met almost all requirements for cashless payments.

The National Payment Corporation of Vietnam also said its payment system can work with all banks and intermediary payment units all year round to meet demands from shoppers.

Statistics from the State Bank of Vietnam show that in the first three months of 2019, the interbank electronic payment system dealt with nearly VND21quadrillion from 37 million transactions, an increase of 17% and 23% respectively compared to the same period last year.

As of late 2018, Vietnam has a total of 18,587 ATM machines and 243,123 POS in use at supermarkets and shopping centres as well as many retail shops. These services are being expanded to hospitals, schools and other facilities. Moreover, commercial banks have opened more functions and services for bank card holders.

According to the organisers, the day will encourage more people to use e-payments. The users will be able to enjoy many promotion and discount programmes from credit facilities and intermediary payment units in June.

Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu to revoke delayed seaport projects

Authorities in the southern province of Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu will revoke investment licences from investors who are not capable of developing seaport projects in the province, according to Lê Tuấn Quốc, deputy chairman of the provincial People’s Committee.

Speaking at a meeting on seaport and internal waterway projects held in the province on Tuesday, Quốc told the provincial Department of Planning and Investment to work with investors of the projects that are proceeding slowly and re-evaluate their capacity, and report the results to the committee soon.

“The department needs to create the most favourable conditions for investors and help them complete legal procedures,” Quốc said.

There are 13 seaport projects under construction that are moving slowly. Of those, five projects have been approved for two-year extension by local authorities, which all will start operation at the end of this year and in the first quarter of next year. They are the Saigon-Việt Steel Port, Long Sơn Industrial Service Park, Cái Mép-Gemadept Terminal Link Port, Thị Vải International Port and Sao Biển International Port, according to a report from the Department of Planning and Investment.

Six other projects have not been implemented following the fixed schedule, including the Mỹ Xuân Cement Grinding Port, Mỹ Xuân Container Port, Maritime Service Tourism Base, Mỹ Xuân A2 General Port, Mỹ Xuân International General Port and Mỹ Xuân General Port.

Two other projects, which have suspended construction due to lack of money, are the Cái Mép Hạ General Cargo and Container Terminal, and Vinalines Ship Repair Plant in the south. However, investors of these project are seeking approval for extensions.

Numerous export opportunities with Malaysia

Malaysia is one of the export markets in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) holding the most potential for Vietnam, especially for agricultural products, seafood, foodstuff, and beverages, experts noted at a workshop in Ho Chi Minh City on May 22.

Nguyen Tuan, Deputy Director for the Investment & Trade Promotion Centre of HCM City (ITPC), said that economic and trade cooperation between Vietnam and Malaysia has posted growth in recent years.

Vietnam is the second biggest trade partner of Malaysia, while Malaysia is the fourth largest trade partner of Vietnam in ASEAN.

Two-way trade in 2018 reached nearly 11.5 billion USD. Vietnam exported computers, electronic products and spare parts, mobile phones, iron and steel, glass products, transport vehicles, garment-textiles, and wood and timber products to Malaysia; while importing petroleum, electronic components, plastics, chemicals, and textiles from the market.

By the end of 2018, Malaysia had 586 valid products and was the eighth biggest investor among countries and territories investing in Vietnam, with the total investment of nearly 12.5 billion USD.

Faizal Izany Mastor, Malaysian Trade Counsellor in HCM City, said Vietnam and Malaysia are important trade partners in ASEAN.

He suggested the two countries enhance trade promotion activities to realise the bilateral trade target of 15 billion USD in 2020.

Zukarnine Shaz Zainal Abidin, a representative from Halal Internationl Selagor, said one of the fields that Vietnam and Malaysia could promote cooperation is developing the production of food and beverages to meet Halal requirements.

It is expected that by 2030, the scale of the global Halal industry will be worth up to 30.6 trillion USD, including 1.1 trillion USD in the Asia-Pacific, of which Malaysia will hold some 228.5 billion USD.

Vietnamese farm produce and seafood products (excluding pork) are able to meet the Muslim food standards, he said, adding that when Vietnamese products receive Halal certification, they could be exported to Malaysia, as well as the global Muslim market with population projected at 2.7 billion people in 2020.

He suggested Vietnamese firms carefully study the Malaysian market and develop international marketing skills.

Dato’ Teng Chang Kim, member of the Executive Board of Selagor state, held that the cooperation opportunities between Vietnamese and Malaysian small- and medium-sized enterprises are huge. While Vietnam has good export ability, Malaysia has advantages to develop services supporting import-export, marketing, and distribution of products.

Vietnamese export firms could coordinate with Malaysian service companies to promote the distribution of goods to the regional market, he said.

Vietnamese –made commodities make up 80 percent of domestic market

Vietnamese –made commodities make up 80 percent of domestic market, the Ministry of Industry and Trade yesterday announced at the ten-year anniversary of Vietnamese use Vietnamese-made goods campaign at the Cultural Friendship Palace in Hanoi.

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai said that after ten years, the campaign has established credibility with majority of Vietnamese consumers.

So far, Vietnamese –made commodities have made up roughly 80 percent in domestic market.

Some production sectors have increased consumption in the local market by applying technologies. Total retail and service growth of Vietnamese goods from 2009 has been 10 percent annually.

The rate of Vietnamese goods in supermarkets such as Co.opmart, Satra, Vissan, Vinmart is high.

Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue and representatives from Vietnam central fatherland front committee, ministries and enterprises attended the event.

Real Estate Forum 2019 held in Hanoi

In 2019, in the context of abundant capital, rising numbers of domestic and foreign investors, and good growth prospects in the residential market, only reputable investors deploying quality projects will gain market share, the Real Estate Forum 2019 with the theme “Real Estate Investment Trends in 2019” held on May 16 in Hanoi heard.

Mr. Hoang Quang Phong, Deputy Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), said that investment opportunities in the real estate sector are booming, so in 2020 investors and real estate developers also need to be careful of the risks that may be encountered, especially the risk of climate change, rapid behavioral change, and political risk. “In the context of fierce competition, developers need to know more about segments and have a more global perspective to determine the direction of investment,” he added.

Mr. Matthew Powell, Director of Savills Hanoi, said that real estate is generally the biggest asset reserve channel with a value 3.5-times the total global GDP.

According to Savills’ figures, the total real estate value worldwide as at the end of 2017 stood at $280.6 trillion, with about 78 per cent of value coming from residential real estate. Meanwhile, the total value of all the gold in the world was only about $7.7 trillion and total global GDP was about $78.3 trillion, or 30 per cent of the value of real estate.

“Stocks and gold increased faster than real estate, but the development of emerging economies was synonymous with increased capital value, and real estate was considered a safe capital investment channel,” Mr. Powell noted.

Mr. Nguyen Tran Nam, Chairman of the Vietnam Real Estate Association (VnREA), believes that the greatest advantage for Vietnam’s real estate market is the huge demand and liquidity. “Our market will be very healthy, as urbanization will remain commonplace in the medium and long terms,” he added. “According to calculations, an average of 1 million people a year move from rural areas to urban areas and people like to save money to buy houses. This is a huge opportunity for the market.”

From a State management perspective, Mr. Nguyen Manh Khoi, Deputy Director of the Housing and Real Estate Market Management Agency at the Ministry of Construction (MoC), said that mechanisms relating to real estate all stem from the practical situation, including forecasts. “State agencies have been more aggressive in managing real estate investments, so businesses have worked effectively,” he said. “Supply is also more diverse compared to 2017 and 2018, when only high-end real estate was the focus of investment, leading to fears of a real estate bubble emerging.”

StartupCity.vn finds success

Three years after getting underway, StartupCity.vn, initiated by Hanoi authorities, has seen remarkable progress in attracting more than 300 parties and dozens of large investment funds, the Vietnam Blockchain Startup 2019 forum held in the capital on May 19 heard.

Many have found success since joining the project, but greater efforts will be needed in order to grow from a “startup city” to a “startup country”.

Mr. Nguyen Anh Tuan, Secretary of the Ho Chi Minh Communist Youth Union, said a larger ecosystem is needed to resolve issues surrounding mechanisms and the implementation and control of security relating to the operation of technology and tech startups, in particular mechanisms for those who wish to raise funds from the community (including financial and non-financial resources).

Mr. Tran Quang Hung, an advisor to StartupCity.vn, said that in addition to creating a favorable startup environment, promoting breakthrough technologies such as blockchain would be a positive step forward for the startup ecosystem. “Blockchain technology has been applied to industries such as transportation, technology, and retail,” he added. “Many large enterprises have captured this trend and applied this technology, including bank regulators and financial institutions in the US. In about three to five years, blockchain technology will be implemented in many other different fields.”

The StartupCity.vn portal was built with the aim of creating an online platform to connect startup business opportunities in a simple and systematic manner. The portal also serves as a useful tool for investors seeking investment opportunities in Vietnam.

Through StartupCity, startups can present their projects and call for investment while exploring new business opportunities and following technology trends and issues of concern.

The portal, which is automated and free of charge, has been developed under the guidance of experts from Israel, a country famed for its successful startup nation model.

Vietnam Blockchain Startup 2019 was organized by VCC Exchange, a digital asset trading platform, with the Hanoi Youth Union as co-host. It attracted more than 600 participants, including famous startups and international investment funds such as Signum Capital, Axiom Associates, Golden Gate Ventures, Bittrex, Kyber Network, Tomochain, SotaTek, Aelf, Sparrow Exchange, Infinity Blockchain Ventures, and Asia Blockchain Review.

Program for Sustainable Enterprises 2019 kicks off

The Evaluation and Announcement Program for Sustainable Enterprises 2019 in Vietnam was kicked off by the Vietnam Business Council for Sustainable Development (VBCSD) at the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) on May 21 in Hanoi.

After three years (2016-2018), the program has encouraged Vietnam’s business community to conduct corporate governance towards sustainable development, especially as the domestic economy is being influenced by digital transformation in Industry 4.0.

The program has received recognition from the government, ministries, and agencies, while receiving the active participation of the business community.

With cooperation from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs, and the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor, and with active support from leading experts in sustainable development, in addition to evaluating and announcing those businesses pursuing and implementing outstanding sustainability strategies, the program also aims to strengthen exchanges and cooperation in sustainable development among businesses and stakeholders, helping to raise awareness about the importance and benefits of sustainable development.

The top 100 were selected from 500 firms participating in the VBCSD’s program ranking the most sustainable businesses based on their corporate sustainability index (CSI). The CSI development group, set up by VBCSD, comprises experts from government agencies, domestic and international non-government organizations, VBCSD members, and independent experts, with the purpose of developing and supporting the application of CSI in Vietnam.

Launched in 2015, the CSI had 131 indicators for enterprises to assess their economic, social, and environmental aspects. In 2019, the CSI was cut from 131 to 98 indicators, of which 90 per cent are legal compliance indicators. Indicators are also grouped more scientifically, updated to meet international practices and domestic laws and to be suitable for more purposes.

VCCI’s General Secretary Nguyen Quang Vinh said that the 2019 version of the CSI is fuller and richer in terms of content, making it useful for all business administrators and investors. The CSI is also the basis for businesses to begin moving towards sustainable development strategies. “It also is the criteria for detailed evaluations of the effectiveness of sustainable development for enterprises,” he added. “At the same time, it is a complete and reliable report for investors on the potential of businesses.”

SKIOLD & Sao Mai Group to build paddy storage and rice mill plant

SKIOLD A/S, based in Denmark, and Vietnam’s Sao Mai Group signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on May 21 to build a large modern paddy storage and rice mill plant using advanced international technologies.

SKIOLD will consult, design, and provide complete modern technology solutions and equipment to the Sao Mai Group’s rice mill.

Sao Mai hopes to start the project in October, which includes facilities and solutions for the intake of fresh paddy, and the pre-cleaning, drying, cleaning, storing, and processing of rice, with a capacity of nearly 1.3 million tons of paddy per year.

On an area of 22 ha, Sao Mai will utilize 100 per cent of by-products from the rice milling process (rice bran, broken rice, rice husk) for its subsidiary companies to produce aquatic feed (Sao Mai Super Feed) and provide rice husk for broilers and bio-organic fertilizer sources.

The final rice product lines will supply domestic and international markets, doubling profits in the national agriculture industry.

The plant will be located in the “capital” of raw paddy materials - the Mekong Delta - and contribute to the consumption of all rice sources while creating jobs for many local workers, saving costs, and improving living standard among farmers. These advantages will support the rice mill in ensuring food security and satisfying 12 sustainable production targets.

SKIOLD and Sao Mai will work together in building a strategic vision to expand the market and take the “Made in Sao Mai - Vietnam” rice brand to the world.

Its CEO Mr. Hansen said it is an honor to sign the MoU with the Sao Mai Group. “We look forward to working together to develop this modern paddy rice project,” he added. “Our advanced technologies and extensive know-how will increase efficiency in the logistics chain, reduce waste, and enhance food safety.”

SKIOLD also offers solutions in value chains for farmers to increase efficiency in the logistics chain, exploit markets, and consult food producing businesses on sustainable development. It established a subsidiary in Ho Chi Minh City in 2015, setting the foundation for growth in market share in Asia. It has also provided solutions for Vietnamese groups such as Vinamilk, Hoa Phat Group, CP Vietnam, and TH Truemilk.

SKIOLD A/S is a technology and solutions provider for the agricultural industry. The company’s main activities focus on FEED - animal feed production equipment, SEED & GRAIN - seed and grain handling equipment, and PIG and POULTRY - pig and poultry farm equipment, in Denmark, Europe, Asia, and Oceania.

EFG Hermes teams up with Asia Commercial Bank Securities of Vietnam

EFG Hermes, a leading financial services corporation in frontier emerging markets, signed a partnership agreement with Asia Commercial Bank Securities (ACBS) of Vietnam, allowing the company's clients to receive on-ground access and intelligence to trade on some of Asia's most compelling capital markets.

"This partnership will provide our clients access to the Hanoi Stock Exchange, Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange, and the UPCOM using ACBS' platform, while expanding our Vietnamese research offering under our own brand name," said EFG Hermes.

“We are intensifying our involvement in Vietnam at a highly opportune moment,” said Kato Mukuru, head of Frontier Markets Research at EFG Hermes. “The country’s dynamic export-oriented manufacturing sector is seeing considerable gains as more multinationals seek to relocate production away from China and to Vietnam.

This continuing shift comes against a backdrop of exchange rate stability and consistently rapid economic growth, which registered 6.79 per cent in the first quarter of 2019, Vietnam’s second-strongest first-quarter growth rate since 2009. Vietnam is seeing remarkable growth in exports, manufacturing, and foreign investment, while domestic demand remains robust as the middle class forms an ever-larger share of its 95 million-strong population.”

"Through our partnership with ACBS, one of the country's leading brokerage providers, EFG Hermes is now the first Frontier Emerging Markets (FEM) investment bank to establish an on-the-ground presence in Vietnam," the company added.

Commenting on the new partnership, Trinh Thanh Can, chief executive officer of ABCS, said: "ABCS will work to ensure that this mutually-beneficial partnership allows us to leverage EFG Hermes’ institutional heft, global network of clients, and capability to create lasting value, while furthering the institutionalisation of Vietnam’s capital markets.”

EFG Hermes provides a wide range of financial services – including traditional investment banking products and newly-launched non-bank financial services ranging from securities brokerage, research, asset management, private equity, financial leasing, factoring, micro-finance, and consumer finance.

 

The firm, which has on-ground presence in 12 countries across four continents, is a consistent leader of top MENA exchanges and one of the leading firms in Pakistan, Kenya, and Nigeria.

MobiFone completes full divestment of TPBank

After two failures, MobiFone has successfully sold all of its shares in Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPBank – TPB on HSX), collecting more than VND153 billion ($6.65 million).

Accordingly, MobiFone sold 7.11 million TPBank shares at the price of VND21,350 ($0.93) per share between April 11 and May 10.

MobiFone divested from TPBank to restructure its capital and focus on productionand its major business sectors, reducing most of its investment in other companies and organisations.

MobiFone had offered its TPBank holdings for sale twice but failed. At the second time, according to MobiFone, the main reason was that on December 17, 2018, the adjusted market price of TPB was lower than the starting price offered when TPBank pays dividend shares.

According to the financial report of TPBank, by the end of the first quarter of 2019, the bank’s total operating income reached VND1.89 trillion ($82.1 million), an increase of nearly VND700 billion ($30.4 million) compared to the first quarter of 2018. In particular, pre-tax profit reached VND853 billion, up 66 per cent ($37.1 million) over the same period.

As of the end of this March, TPBank’s total assets reached nearly VND140 trillion ($6.1 billion), nearly 3 per cent higher than the end of 2018. Owner’s equity reached VND11.3 trillion ($491.3 million). In addition, the capital adequacy ratio (CAR) was consistently over 10 per cent, meeting Basel II standards.

On the stock market, after the divestment of MobiFone, the TPB stock has increased continuously for five sessions. On May 20, the stock closed at VND23,850 ($1.03) per share, bringing the market capitalisation to about VND20.2 trillion ($878.3 million).

Impacts certain from new draft regulation

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It was recently proposed in the draft to replace Circular No.36/2014/TT-NHNN that risk weights for real estate mortgages with a principal balance of VND3 billion ($130,430) and above should be tripled from 50 per cent to 150 per cent. The proposal, which would cause a large impact, shook Vietnam’s property market and its participants, said Do Thi Thu Hang Director, Research & Consultancy Savills Hanoi.

According to Hang, the VND3 billion threshold put the majority of residential products under its influence. At current pricing, there is hardly any of these products below that cost, with the exception of projects in suburban areas where the demand is limited.

Meanwhile, typical prices for Grade B and Grade A condominiums in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City start from VND3 billion. According to Savills Research & Consultancy, these two segments account for a large share of apartment sales in the two cities. Grade B condos have always taken up over 50 per cent of the existing total stock in Hanoi. Although Grade B stock is also significant in Ho Chi Minh City, there are more condos under VND3 billion in the southern city than the capital, due to a larger Grade C share.

As such, the extent to which the market is affected by increasing lending risks is different between two cities. Ho Chi Minh City has more premium products than Hanoi, and the increase of lending risks is taking its toll the in Grade A apartments in Ho Chi Minh City.

In other markets out with these two cities, the resort segment is on the list for adjustment. Standard products under VND3 billion are recommended as a trendsetter for better market control.

However, it should be noticed that once this draft is approved, it will affect the overall market.

An advantage of tightening real estate loans is the decreased dependence of borrowers on the loans as well as on banks. However, individual buyers will face difficulties in accessing capital for housing products.

Normally, individual buyers tend to have two main capital-raising channels when it comes to home loans: from family and banks, which offered defined conveniences and benefits. Today, there are more capital-raising channels of choice for individual buyers; however, they are not available all the time, and thus the tightening on real estate loans will affect the market growth.

For developers, it will surely affect the return on investment time as lending restrictions might cause the demand to fall as buyers endure difficulties in accessing loans. This, in turn, lengthens their return on the investment period.

Under these circumstances, developers will take a number of measures such as restricting the development size or offering incentives for purchasers, perhaps in the form of more flexible payment progress. In some ways, this will result in lower-than-expected revenue, hence diminished supply for the market. With the realisation of the proposed regulation, market performance is expected to reduce.

Binh Thuan looks for solar solutions

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In an attempt to prevent solar power investors from exiting the province, Binh Thuan authorities have requested that solar power projects enjoy an identical feed-in tariff rate nationwide rather than the location-based rate set to be implemented from July 2019.

The move is one of the key recommendations from the Binh Thuan People’s Committee, and will be reflected upon at the seventh session of the 14th National Assembly scheduled to take place from May 20 to June 13, 2019.

“According to the latest draft from the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), the calculation that the feed-in tariff (FiT) for solar projects depend on the potential of solar radiation is not yet grounded,” noted a Binh Thuan document. “It is necessary to calculate more economic and technical effects such as local socio-economic development, reducing investment costs of power and grid, and operating costs.”

The document went on to suggest that the FiT should be the same for solar project regardless of location.

Under the MoIT’s third draft of the decision of the prime minister on the mechanism for encouraging the development of solar power projects in Vietnam, a new FiT programme would be provided for an additional two years from July 2019 through to the end of June 2021 for solar power projects in the country.

The draft decision proposes ­varying levels of tariffs ­according to location and technology, classified by four different irradiance regions of Vietnam and involving four different solar power ­technologies. Specifically, it provides for a wide range of tariffs which vary in the range from 6.67 cents per kilowatt hour (kWh) to 10.87 cents per kWh. Under that, the six provinces of Ninh Thuan, Binh Thuan, Khanh Hoa, Dak Lak, Gia Lai, and Phu Yen are placed into a new group of irradiance zonal classifications known as Zone 4, which will see the lowest tariff rates, ranging from 6.67 to 7.89 US cents per kWh depending on solar technologies, with some exceptions in Ninh Thuan (see box).

A solar farm developer in Binh Thuan who declined to be named said, “Many projects are racing to power and operate commercially before June 30 to enjoy a preferential price of 9.35 US cent per kWh. After this time, with the electricity price that the MoIT has drafted, especially the FIT in Binh Thuan and Ninh Thuan, I think that many businesses will no longer be interested in investing.”

Previously, Binh Thuan asked that the deadline be extended to the end of 2020 for solar investors to enjoy 9.35 US cents, instead of June 30. It has been difficult for solar power projects in the province to be completed and generate power before the June 30 deadline as many of them are located in areas of national titanium reserves and must wait for approval from the prime minister before implementation.

Binh Thuan’s solar development planning scheme towards 2020 has been waiting for MoIT approval. Some 90 solar projects were registered in the province with the total output of 5,341 megawatt peak (MWp), covering total area of 6,720 hectares, and having the total capital of VND137.2 trillion ($5.97 billion). Of them, 28 projects with the total capacity of 1,475MWp were added to the national and provincial power plan. Twenty-three projects were granted investment certificates, and investors pledged to start construction by the end of 2018 and generate power before June 30, 2019.

Saigon among top 50 cities in the world for coworking growth

A recent report ranks Ho Chi Minh City 41st among world’s 50 fastest growing coworking markets in the world.

Every 47.5 days, a new coworking space opens in Vietnam’s southern metropolis, according to the 2019 Global Coworking Growth Study recently published by CoworkingResources, a global information
hub for modern workspaces.

The report is based on research that tracked all coworking space openings for 10 months, from June 2018 to April 2019. It ranks major cities around the world based on the number of days between new
space openings.

London topped the list, with a coworking space springing up in the U.K. capital every five days, followed by New York (7.5 days), Toronto in Canada (13 days), Austin (15 days) and Denver (16.8 days), both in
the U.S.

The top 10 was dominated by seven American cities, reflecting the wide popularity of the coworking space concept in almost every city in the U.S.

The report says Vietnam came in 31st among top 50 global economies with the highest growth in per capita coworking space numbers.

Luxembourg, Singapore and Ireland were the top three countries, with the first chalking up 8.5 new spaces annually for every 1,000,000 inhabitants, almost double the following two.

Vietnam has seen the coworking space market expand in recent years. Major local operators like Toong, UP, Circo and Dreamplex are all expanding at an accelerated rate, and the number of smaller
operators with just one venue is also increasing.

As of April last year, there were 23 coworking operators in Vietnam managing a total of 34 spaces, according to real estate consultants CBRE.

Nguyen Hong Hai, CEO of office rental service Pax Sky, said coworking spaces are now popular because the supply of office space in HCMC’s central districts fails to meet demand of the rising number of entrepreneurs choosing to base themselves in the city.

Hai told VnExpress that grade A office space in the city costs $50-60 per square meter plus taxes a month, and grade B office space, $22-30.

But occupancy rates of over 95 percent mean customers have to wait for a long time to find a good place, he said.

There is still a lot of untapped potential in the coworking industry in HCMC because of its very vibrant entrepreneurship scene, he added.

Vietnamese brands to go on show during Hanoi exhibition

Hanoi’s Department of Industry and Trade are set to organise an exhibition to introduce Vietnamese branded products across 40 pavilions in Ly Thai To flower garden in Hanoi’s downtown on May
25-26.

The event will mark 10 years since the start of the Vietnamese people using Vietnamese goods campaign.

Details of the exhibition were unveiled during a meeting of the Hanoi Party Committee's Commission of Communication and Education on May 21.

At the meeting, Nguyen Anh Tuan, vice chairman of Vietnam Fatherland Front said industrial and agricultural products will be on display at the event, in addition to handicrafts, garments and textiles, consumer goods, household utensils, and tourism products.

A section of the exhibition is to be set up specifically to introduce Hanoians to the achievements and landmarks attained during the 10 years since the start of the Vietnamese people using Vietnamese goods campaign

Tuan noted that over the past ten years, the campaign has helped raise consumers’ awareness about purchasing Vietnamese goods, facilitate the development of Vietnamese businesses, and contribute to
the city’s economic development and stability.

He also underscored the importance of spreading more information to consumers about high quality Vietnamese goods and the fight against counterfeit products.

He noted that the city plans to accelerate the development of infrastructure to assist businesses in introducing their goods to both urban and rural areas, removing hurdles for businesses, and boosting
industrial and trade development within the city.

Securities firm to raise capital for brokerage activities

Vietnam Investment Securities Company (IVS) may sell an additional 35.35 million shares to enlarge its capital as the firm wants to be more active on the Vietnamese equity market.

The company plans to sell shares at VND10,800 (US$0.46) per share, valuing the deal at nearly VND381.8 billion ($16.4 million).

Its charter capital will rise to VND693.5 billion from the current VND340 billion if the deal is successful.

The targeted buyer is the Hong Kong-based securities brokerage house Guotai Junan International Holdings Limited, a member of Guotai Junan Securities Co Ltd.

If successful, the Hong Kong firm will own nearly 51 per cent of IVS capital and the shares will be restricted from trading for one year from the issuance date.

IVS is asking for shareholders’ approval for the deal. Feedback is being collected between May 20 and 29.

IVS has 34 million shares listed on the Ha Noi Stock Exchange with code IVS.

The company's shares dipped 4.1 per cent on Tuesday to end at VND9,400 per share.

CMSC to receive more than $109 million dividend from petroleum group

The Committee for Management of State Capital at Enterprises (CMSC) will receive a cash dividend of VND2.55 trillion (US$109 million) from the Viet Nam National Petroleum Group (PLX) for its performance
in 2018.

The figure is equivalent to a dividend rate of 26 per cent, meaning each shareholder with one share will receive VND2,600. The deadline for the registration to receive the dividend is May 31. They payouts will
take place on July 23.

The state ownership in PLX was transferred from the Ministry of Industry and Trade to CMSC last November.

Nguyen Hoang Anh, chairman of the CMSC, said Petrolimex was still one of the largest contributors to the committee and the State budget. In 2018, Petrolimex paid taxes of VND38.2 trillion ($1.64 billion) to
the State budget.

In previous years, PLX maintained a cash dividend rate of 30 per cent and is one of the few State-owned corporations that pays large cash dividends.

At present, CMSC owns 83.85 per cent stake in Petrolimex but will reduce its capital in PLX to 51 per cent from 2019-20.

A major shareholder of PLX, JX Nippon Oil & Enegry Viet Nam, said it was willing to raise its ownership in PLX from 8.84 per cent to 20 per cent.

In the first quarter of 2019, PLX earned nearly VND1.3 trillion in after-tax profit, up 29 per cent over the same period last year and fulfilling 30 per cent of the yearly plan.

IFAD celebrates 25 years in Vietnam

The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) celebrated its 25th year of partnership with Vietnam on May 22 in Hanoi.

IFAD has financed 15 rural development projects in Vietnam with total investment of $565.4 million over the course of the 25 years, of which it contributed $377.5 million. These projects have directly benefited more than 748,470 rural households in eleven provinces in the country.

“We are celebrating the solid and fruitful partnership between IFAD and Vietnam this year,” said Mr. Donal Brown, Associate Vice-President of IFAD. “Vietnam has made impressive leaps forward in transforming its economy in a very short time-span, growing from a mere $230 GDP per capita in 1985 to $2,340 in 2017, or $600 when corrected for purchasing power. This growth has also been generally inclusive, with poverty decreasing from 60 per cent of the total population in the mid-80s to less than 10 per cent in 2016.”

He added that IFAD has worked side-by-side with the government and development partners to support and contribute to Vietnam’s poverty eradication efforts.

In rural areas, home to over 70 per cent of the population, poverty eradication efforts need to be strengthened. IFAD’s current strategy aims at developing pro-poor market-led innovations, deepening institutional and policy reform at the provincial level, building capacity among poor farm households, and adapting to the effects of climate change.

“Our program in Vietnam is not only about finance, rural transformation, and innovation,” said Mr. Thomas Rath, Vietnam Country Director of IFAD. “It is also about people. IFAD is a people-centered organization. We invest in rural people while focusing on activities that have the greatest impact on residual poverty in rural areas. I must sincerely acknowledge the good work of hundreds of partner organizations, thousands of change agents, and rural champions; those that have journeyed with us and been part of our important history.”

Despite Vietnam’s impressive progress in transforming its economy in a very short time, there remains work to be done. Poverty gains in rural areas are fragile, with poor and extremely poor people concentrated in ethnic minority groups, often residing in mountainous areas.

“Vietnam and its people attach importance to and cherish the cooperation with IFAD,” said Deputy Minister of Finance Huynh Quang Hai. “We are willing to continue our contribution to efforts with IFAD to eliminate poverty and accelerate agricultural development. Based on our initial joint success, it is very important for Vietnam to replicate and scale up interventions, models, and practices that have proven effective and impactful in the eleven provinces. It is equally important to encourage more women to join the development process and ensure that no one is left behind.”

Vietnam has now become a hub for foreign investment and manufacturing in Southeast Asia, but still has a predominantly rural population with a vibrant agriculture sector, where small holders represent the majority, contribute to sustained growth, and provide much of the rural employment and raw materials for agro-businesses. IFAD is fully committed to continuing its partnership with Vietnam in support of its quest to reduce poverty in all its dimensions and to fulfill the United Nations’ 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, in particular Goal 1: No Poverty.

IFAD is an international financial institution and specialized United Nations agency based in Rome - the UN’s food and agriculture hub. It invests in rural people, empowering them to reduce poverty, increase food security, improve nutrition, and strengthen resilience.

 
 
 
 
 
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