BUSINESS NEWS 5/6

Touting AI as retail banking’s future

BUSINESS NEWS 5/6

More than 100 senior leaders and ­experts from Vietnam’s leading ­financial institutions last week took part in a seminar on Artificial Intelligence application in Vietnamese retail banking in Hanoi, organised by ­Trusting Social and the Vietnam Banks Association.

With the attention of leading bankers, investors, and fintech entrepreneurs, as well as the media, Trusting Social CEO Nguyen An Nguyen unveiled the latest Artificial Intelligence (AI) developments in lending and retail banking.

The spotlight of his talk included the current advancement in AI and how this technology brings new credit opportunities, better credit experiences, and drastic changes to retail banking in the country. Nguyen also shared his view on the underlying problem of in-house credit scoring methodologies, which leads to lengthy paperwork and results in unpleasant customer experiences.

After addressing the current challenges for financial institutions to reach out to the untapped billions of “financially-invisible” consumers, Nguyen laid out a new vision to leverage the power of AI for real-time credit scoring and seamless ­customer experiences.

“AI applications will pave new ways for retail banking. AI-powered banks will significantly benefit from frictionless processes without human errors. We believe AI will provide a transparent on-boarding process,” said Nguyen.

Assembled guests listened to Francois Hribovsek, head of Digital Deployment and Solutions at Visa Southeast Asia, who shared the company’s latest insights on the future of ­commerce where mobile payments are the key driver.

At the final session, audiences learned first-hand from a panel ­discussion with distinguished experts who have been pushing innovation in retail banking.

Focused topics included exploration of financial institution perspectives on the current challenges, and how financing organisations can leverage AI to reach out to the ­unbanked population while creating a compelling lending e xperience.

Trusting Social is an AI-first ­fintech company that pioneers an ­alternative credit scoring model using telecoms data and other new data sources. The group is reinventing credit scoring by combining big data technology with social, web, and mobile data.

Founded in 2013 by a group of AI, technology, and financial experts, Trusting Social now reaches out to customers all over the globe while advancing data science to deliver ­financial access for all. The company has outlined ­ambitions to build a bridge between lenders and financially-invisible ­customers not covered by credit ­bureaus.

Japanese strategic partner buys 19 per cent of Fecon shares

Raito Kogyo Group from Japan has become the strategic partner of Fecon Corporation after buying 19.5 million shares, equaling 17.17 per cent of the stakes.

Earlier in April 2019, Fecon and Raito Kogyo announced a comprehensive strategic co-operation.

Accordingly, besides buying 19 per cent of Fecon and 36 per cent of Fecon Underground Construction JSC (FCU), Raito also strengthened the development of underground works and soil improvement with advanced technology.

Otherwise, through this comprehensive co-operation, Fecon and Raito will jointly deploy new businesses using slope stabilisation technology which has already proved successful in Japan.

Previously, Fecon and Raito also jointly established Raito Fecon Innovative Geotechnical Engineering JSC (RFI) in 2016. Accordingly, Fecon and Raito Kogyo would jointly research, develop, and implement transport infrastructure projects (roads, ports, waterways), urban railway projects, and underground drainage system projects in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City as well as preventing landslides and mitigate natural disasters projects in Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries.

Raito Kogyo would provide and transfer advanced technologies that Raito is one of the leading corporations on soft soil treatment, groundwater treatment, and slipping treatment.

According to Pham Viet Khoa, chairman of Fecon’s board of directors, Vietnam and neighboring countries have many potentials for infrastructure development. The advantages of technology, branding, reputation, and national relations of Raito’s as well as Fecon's willingness to integrate will bring good competitiveness for Fecon and the co-operation between Raito and Fecon in particular.

Raito is one of the major construction corporations in Japan with 70 years of operation in the field of foundation construction. The company now employs 1,016 employees. Raito has been listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange since 1979. As of March 2018, its total consolidated net assets reached JPY58.7 billion ($536.9 million), with consolidated revenue of JPY100.1 billion ($915.5 million).

Fecon is one of the biggest underground construction contractors in Vietnam with 15 years of experience. It aims to become a leading investor and infrastructure developer in Vietnam. The enterprise currently has 17 member companies, including joint venture enterprises in Myanmar.

In 2018, Fecon recorded a total revenue of VND2.86 trillion ($124.35 million) and after-tax profit of VND252 billion ($10.96 million), up more than 42 per cent compared to 2017. The revenue growth target for 2019 is VND4.2 trillion ($182.6 million), up 47 per cent on-year.

Dragon Capital sold 1.7 million shares of PNJ

On May 27, Dragon Capital sold over 1.74 million shares of Phu Nhuan Jewelry JSC (PNJ), decreasing its ownership from 9.15 to 8.1 per cent, equivalent to 13.5 million PNJ shares.

After the deal, Dragon Capital holds 13.5 million PNJ shares, equal to about VND1.4 trillion ($60.87 million).

In the deal, DC Developing Markets Strategies PLC sold 750,000 shares, KB Vietnam Focus Balanced Fund sold 640,000, and Hanoi Investments Holdings Limited sold 350,160 shares of PNJ.

On May 27, PNJ share at the price of VND106,000 ($4.6). Therefore, Dragon Capital collected about VND184 billion ($8 million).

However, this was only a transaction between foreign investors as the foreign ownership ratio at PNJ remains 49 per cent.

Dragon Capital sold the shares as PNJ is preparing to close the list of shareholders on June 6 to exercise the right to receive bonus shares at the ratio of 3:1, thereby increasing its charter capital to VND2.227 trillion ($96.8 million).

In 2019, PNJ plans to reach a net revenue of nearly VND18.21 trillion ($791.65 million), up 25 per cent. The after-tax profit target is nearly VND1.12 trillion ($51.39 million), 23 per cent higher than the previous year’s result. If PNJ successfully reaches its plan for 2019, it will for the first time break the VND1 trillion ($43.48 million) threshold in after-tax profit.

The company aims to develop a minimum of 40 new independent stores, modern trade centres, and supermarkets, developing the new PNJ Next store model, and incorporating e-commerce to create a multi-channel sales model (omni chanel).

At the end of the first quarter of 2019, PNJ reported a 16 per cent increase in net revenue with VND4.784 trillion ($208 million), pre-tax profit of over VND543 billion ($23.6 million), up 29 per cent, completing 37 per cent of the annual plan. After-tax profit increased by 27.5 per cent and reached VND428.7 billion ($18.64 million).

Grab fined for VND120 million

The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) has issued a fine of VND120 million ($5,217) to Grab (Vietnam) Ltd. due to its failure to comply with regulations relating to administrative procedures on registering loans from overseas.

According to the SBV, ride hailing service provider Grab missed the deadline for submitting a dossier to adjust its existing short-term loans into the mid-term or long-term loans (the duration for the short-term loan is just one year). This violated Article 13(3b) of Circular No.03/2016/TT-NHNN dated February 26, 2016, providing several instructions on foreign exchange administration with respect to enterprise’s foreign borrowing and foreign debt repayment.

Notably, according to Article 13, the time limit for sending or submitting dossiers is a maximum 30 days starting after the date on which the agreement on the renewal of a short-term foreign loan into a mid-term or long-term loan is effected in respect of conventional loans referred to in Article 9(2) hereof.

The SBV asked Grab to pay the fine on time, otherwise the authority will apply coercive measures according to regulations.

Grab said that the firm does its utmost to comply with Vietnamese regulations, but the dossier for extending the loan was unfortunately completed behind the deadline.

“Grab will work with the SBV to deal with the incident and will pay the fine on time as well as obey other requirements from the SBV,” said the representative of Grab.

Agricultural trade surplus reaches $3.3 billion in five months

The agriculture sector gained a trade surplus of US$3.3 billion in the first five months of this year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The nation achieved an export value of $16.1 billion from agricultural, forestry and aquatic products during the period, a year-on-year increase of 1.2 per cent, including $3.6 billion in May.

The sector spent $12.8 billion on agricultural, forestry and fishery imports in the first five months, up 2.1 per cent over the same period last year. Of which, imports of fertilisers, pesticides and key agricultural products reached about $10.8 billion, up by 2.7 per cent year-on-year.

However, the key agricultural product exports were estimated at $7.7 billion, down 9.5 per cent over the same period.

The ministry said the export value of agricultural, forestry and fishery products increased again after slowing since the beginning of this year compared to 2018 due to China’s policy changes and the impact of the US-China trade war, the Vietnam News Agency reported.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong said competition had grown this year, reported baodautu.vn.

In 2018, many countries had to import rice, including China, pushing the average export price of Vietnamese rice to $436 per tonne, it's highest level ever.

Other agricultural products as well as fishery and vegetable products had faced a similar situation, he said, and many countries had applied new technologies in production to become export rather than import markets.

This had created fiercer competition in the global market, Cuong said.

According to the ministry, in the first five months of this year, rubber exports were up 2.4 per cent to $662 million, tea was up 30 per cent to $79 million and fruit and vegetables climbed 10.3 per cent to $1.8 billion.

Some commodities, however, suffered a drop in export value such as pepper (down 26 per cent), cashew nuts (down 21 per cent), coffee (down 10 per cent) and rice (down 15 per cent) despite increased export volume.

Cashews surged 7.9 per cent in export volume but was down 14.9 per cent in value to $1.2 billion, and pepper increased 33.2 per cent in export volume but fell 2.4 per cent in value to $372 million.

Seafood exports were estimated at $3.15 billion, down slightly from the same period last year, including $795 million from tra fish exports and $1.1 billion from shrimp exports.

Forest product exports maintained high growth at 19.6 per cent to $4.3 billion.

According to the ministry, the results of agricultural production in the first five months showed that there were many difficulties in implementing the sector’s growth target this year, especially with the spread of African swine fever.

Petrol prices drop in latest review

The retail prices of oil and petrol were adjusted down from 3pm last Saturday following a decision by the ministries of Finance, and Industry and Trade.

The two ministries review fuel prices every 15 days to adjust domestic prices in accordance with swings in the global market.

Accordingly, the retail price of bio-fuel E5 RON 92 has been reduced by VND269 per litre to a maximum level of VND20,219 (US$0.87) per litre, while the ceiling price of RON95-III was cut by VND380 per litre to VND21,219 ($0.91).

Meanwhile, the ceiling prices of diesel 0.05S and kerosene dropped by VND220 and VND197 per litre to VND17,394 ($0.75) and VND16,225 ($0.7) per litre, respectively. Mazut 180CST 3.5S will be sold at no more than VND15,354 ($0.66), down VND182 per kilogramme.

Vinalines buys backs 75% stake in central port

State-owned Vietnam National Shipping Lines (Vinalines) has paid VND415 billion (US$17.8 million) to reacquire a 75 per cent stake in Quy Nhon Port JSC, which it had sold illegally to Hop Thanh Investment & Mineral JSC without the Government’s approval.

Vietnam Depository Centre has recorded the transfer of ownership to Vinalines. The shipping group will take over the port management from this month.

“Vinalines has paid VND415 billion, equal to the amount that Hop Thanh spent to buy a 75 per cent stake in Quy Nhon Port from Vinalines,” Tran Tuan Hai, head of Vinalines’ communication division, told Giao Thong (Transportation) newspaper.

Hai said the money Hop Thanh had invested in the port after the share purchase would be calculated through an independent asset valuation process.

Vinalines has also arranged personnel in Quy Nhon Port’s management board and would take over control of the port in its annual shareholders’ meeting at the end of this month, he added.

Quy Nhon Port, located in Binh Dinh Province, is a major port in the central coast with a storage network of nearly 21,000sq.m of warehouses and 48,000sq.m for containers. Last year, a record eight million tonnes of goods passed through the port.

In 2013, the port was transformed into a joint stock company with charter capital of more than VND404 billion, of which Vinalines owned more than 75 per cent stake.

Vinalines was reported to sell these stakes to private company Hop Thanh Investment & Mineral JSC which had no prior experience in operating a port for lower market price during 2013-15.

Last September, the Government Inspectorate concluded the deal violated the law as the Ministry of Transport authorised the sale without the approval of the Prime Minister. The inspectors requested Vinalines to recover the stakes sold to Hop Thanh.

Vinalines reported net revenue of VND2.9 trillion ($124 million) in the first quarter of this year, down 10 per cent year on year.

Trà Vinh Province expects mud crab output to increase this year

The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Trà Vinh is entering the mud crab harvest season and its Fisheries Sub-department expects the output to increase sharply this since the farming area has expanded.

In the province, one of the delta’s largest mud crab producers, farmers breed the crustacean mostly in Châu Thành, Cầu Ngang, Duyên Hải, and Trà Cú districts and Duyên Hải Town.

Authorities have told farmers that the period for releasing shrimp and mud crab fry for breeding in the 2018 – 19 season was from December last year to September this year.

Nguyễn Văn Cần, who has a 0.3ha pond in Châu Thành’s Long Hòa Commune, said the weather was hot at the beginning of the year and agricultural authorities told farmers to begin the year’s first shrimp crop late, and so many switched to breeding mud crabs.

Though their prices are not high unlike during last Tết (Lunar New Year) farmers are still earning reasonably from it, he said.

His family harvested more than 300kg of crab after four months of breeding and earned nearly VNĐ30 million (US$1,280), he said.

Traders now pay VNĐ280,000 – 300,000 ($12 - 13) per kilogramme if they are of a size where 2 – 4 comprise a kilogramme and VNĐ130,000 – 150,000 ($5 - 6) if they are smaller.

The prices were down VNĐ20,000 - 50,000 in May.

Huỳnh Thị Nhị, who has a mud crab wholesale shop in Long Hòa, said prices are down because this is the peak harvest season in the year’s first crop.

Besides, demand has fallen after the Reunification Day (April 30) holidays, she said.

The province’s mud crabs are sold locally and in other localities, especially HCM City, and are even exported.

In recent years province authorities have encouraged white-legged shrimp and black-tiger shrimp farmers in coastal areas to switch to one mud crab and two shrimp crops a year to spread the risk.

Mud crabs are easy to breed, get few diseases and feed on small fish, shrimp and mussels.

The province has the advantage of having huge numbers of mud crab fry in the wild. They are mostly caught in mangrove forests in Cầu Ngang, Châu Thành and Duyên Hải districts.

Farmers are raising them on more than 7,000ha now, according to the sub-department.

On average there are 13,000ha and an output of 1,400 tonnes during the year.

Almost a third is bred under the intensive farming model and the rest under the extensive farming model, according to the sub-department.

Bà Rịa-Vũng Tàu to speed up key projects

Authorities in the southern coastal province of Bà Rịa – Vũng Tàu are working with local departments to speed up implementation of 34 key projects.

Of the projects, 16 are public-invested and 18 are seeking funds from private sources and others, according to a report from the provincial People’s Committee.

The projects include ports, cultural parks, airports, roads, inspection centres, tourism services, and urban area works.

Speaking at a meeting on Monday, Lê Tuấn Quốc, deputy chairman of the People’s Committee, said: "Land clearance should be completed so that projects can maintain their schedules."

The Department of Planning and Investment and other authorities will also resolve problems for investors, who have been urged to speed up their work.

For projects not under the province's jurisdiction, the province will ask for guidance from ministries, he said.

The public-invested projects include Phước An Bridge, a road connecting Long Sơn and Cái Mép, the 991B Road, the dredging of Bến Đình canal, Biên Hòa - Đồng Nai Expressway, Cỏ Ống Airport in Côn Đảo Island District, Gò Găng Airport, a specialised inspection centre in Cái Mép - Thị Vải port, Bàu Sen Park, Bàu Trũng Cultural Park, Lam Sơn shooting range in Phú Mỹ town, and many others.

The investors of these projects include the province’s Department of Transportation, Department of Construction, Department of Natural Resources and Environment, and the people's committees of Long Điền District and Vũng Tàu city.

Other projects include urban development and housing, land projects in Safari Park and Vũng Tàu Paradise Tourism Complex, Sài Gòn Atlantis Resort and Recreation Complex, Nghinh Phong Cape, An Hải project in Côn Đảo, and a specialised airport.

Some of these are expected to start construction this year to 2021, while others have received capital, made detailed plans and called for investment.

Lê Hoàng Hải, director of the Department of Planning and Investment, said that some investors were interested in Dinh Moutain, Biên Hòa–Vũng Tàu Expressway, Bà Rịa City’s southwest region, land at Safari Park, electrification projects, and the Cái Mép Hạ logistics centre.

However, difficulties in land clearance and lack of capital have been obstacles for these projects, he said.

Apparel maker Vinatex promotes trade in Canada

General Director of the Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex) Le Tien Truong has said Vinatex will promote trade in Canada to tap opportunities brought by the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

In the first five months of this year, the firm’s exports to Canada hit nearly 900 million USD, or 6 percent of Canada’s apparel imports. It hopes to earn about 1.5- 1.7 billion USD in Canada this year, taking more than 12 percent of market share.

Recently, Vinatex and its affiliates held a trade exchange, the second of its kind, with Canadian apparel importers and distributors.

Apart from clothing products, they also introduced knitted fabrics by domestic firms such as Dong Xuan, Hanosimex, Dong Phuong and Lien Phuong.

Truong said following the event, Canadian partners will sign more contracts because they value made-in-Vietnam textile and garment products.

Economic, trade promotion seminars held in Italian cities

The European Union – Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) will open up opportunities for Italian firms, especially- small and medium-sized ones, heard recent bilateral economic and trade promotion seminars held in Parma and Piacenza cities, the Italian northern region of Emilia – Romagna.

The events, held late last month, attracted representatives of industry federations of the two cities and from firms operating in food, cosmetics and logistics.

Speaking at the events, Vietnamese Ambassador to Italy Nguyen Thi Bich Hue introduced Vietnam’s potential for businesses.

She pledged that the Vietnamese Government will help Italian companies do business in Vietnam.

 

Delegates hailed the Vietnamese market with a population of nearly 100 million people, rising consumption, average annual economic growth of 6 percent, and quality and low-cost workforce.

Once the EVFTA takes effect, it will remove 99 percent of tariff lines, thus benefiting Italian enterprises and positively impacting bilateral trade and investment ties, they said.

They suggested Vietnam serve as a bridge for European and Italian goods to enter other ASEAN markets.

Representatives from the Vietnam Trade Office answered questions raised by participants.

While in the two cities, the Vietnamese delegation had working sessions with local authorities and visited several firms operating in Vietnam such as Davines, Cosmoproject and Piacentina.

Currently, the relationship between Binh Duong and Emilia – Romagna region is considered a model of Vietnam – Italy inter-regional cooperation.

With contributions by Parma and Piacenza, Emilia – Romagna region accounts for more than half of Italy’s exports to Vietnam.

14 deals signed at forum on developing Vietnam sea brands in Bac Lieu

A recent forum on developing Vietnam’s sea brands held in the southern coastal province of Bac Lieu ended with the signing of 14 investment deals in the province.

The forum was held on June 1 on the occasion of the launch of the National Seas and Islands Week in Bac Lieu.

In the presence of Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung and Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Tran Hong Ha, Bac Lieu leaders granted investment licences to investors in the Dong Hai 2 wind power plant, several hi-tech shrimp farms and the Dong Nam yarn factory.

Director of Bac Lieu’s Department of Planning and Investment Tran Thanh Tam said the province’s efforts to improve the business environment have turned Bac Lieu into an attractive destination for investors.

He cited statistics that the province’s investment promotion conference in 2018 ended with investment commitments worth more than 110 trillion VND (nearly 4.72 billion USD).

Bac Lieu has so far granted investment licences and approval of investment proposals for 123 projects with capital totalling over 1.67 billion USD. The marine economic sector alone attracted 17 projects with a combined 24.4 trillion VND. Seven other projects are in the process of research and survey, six of which have total committed capital of nearly 140 trillion VND.

Investment projects have contributed to driving Bac Lieu’s development towards becoming a hub of hi-tech shrimp farming and renewable energy of not only the region but also the country, the director said.

Hanoi’s economy continues to grow

Hanoi’s economy continue to grow in the first five months of this year, reported Director of the municipal Department of Planning and Investment Nguyen Manh Quyen at a recent conference held by the municipal People’s Committee.

In his report at the May 30 meeting, Quyen further said the city’s industrial production index rose 7.08 percent and the consumer price index jumped 4.1 percent during the period.

Exports hit 5.85 billion USD, up 6.8 percent annually. Tourist arrivals in the city rose by 9.5 percent to 11.75 million, while thetotal revenue was estimated at 109.62 trillion VND (4.76 billion USD) or 41.7 percent of the yearly estimate compared to 38.2 percent during the same period last year.

Director of the municipal Department of Agriculture and Rural Development Chu Phu My said more than 15,500 local households reported African swine fever outbreaks, with the total cost to fight the disease estimated at 200 billion VND.

In the near future, the sector will enhance inspections to mitigate the spread of the disease, he said.

Director of the municipal Construction Department Le Van Duc said plans to cope with natural disasters during the coming rainy season have been devised.

As for key tasks for June, the municipal People’s Committee will continue fulfilling 76 tasks and solutions under its Action Programme No.12/Ctr-UBND launched early this year and prepare for the mid-year meeting of the municipal People’s Council.

The city will also follow Directive No.07/CT-UBND dated April 19, 2019 on removing difficulties in production and trade, as well as fighting epidemic diseases, especially African swine fever.

Further attention will be paid to market research and forecast, especially US –China trade war developments, to boost exports and attract foreign direct investment.

Also in June, the Hanoi 2019 – Investment and Development Cooperation conference will be held to improve the business climate and beef up trade, investment and tourism.

Hanoi will also step up the progress of clean water supply and solid waste treatment projects, upgrade rivers, expand services on the one-stop shop portal and pay attention to preventive medicine.

Vietwater 2019 to come to Ha Noi

An international exhibition on water supply and sewerage (Vietwater 2019) is slated to be held at the International Exhibition Centre in Ha Noi from June 24-26.

The exhibition was announced at a press conference held in the capital city late last week by the Viet Nam Water Supply and Sewerage Association (VWSA).

The event will have the participation of more than 200 exhibitors from 30 nations and territories such as Japan, South Korea, Thailand and China. It will introduce new waste treatment technology with the hope of bringing more high-tech equipment from other countries to customers.

Nguyen Hong Tien, Vice President of VWSA, described water management as an urgent issue in urban areas.

He said rapid economic growth required coherent development of the scale and quality of the wastewater treatment system.

VNDS to sell covered warrants for two stocks

VNDirect Securities Corporation (VNDS) will issue covered warrants that underline shares of Mobile World Investment Corporation (HoSE: MWG) and FPT Corporation (HoSE: FPT) on June 10.

A covered warrant is a security that gives the holder the right to buy or sell an underlying asset at a specified price on or before a specified date.

Underlying assets can be a single stock, a basket of stocks, an index, a commodity or a currency. Covered warrants will be listed and traded on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange from June 28.

The fourth securities product, after stock/fund certificate, bond and future, is expected to provide investors with more options and draw foreign capital in listed companies as there is no foreign ownership limit on these products.

VNDS is among 10 securities companies that are qualified to issue covered warrants, siding others such as SSI Securities Inc (SSI), HCM City Securities Corp (HSC) and Viet Capital Securities Corp (VCSC).

FPT Corporation in December 2017 cut its stakes in FPT Retail and FPT Trading to below 50 per cent. The company has since then re-allocated resources to focus on the fields of digital transformation and technology development.

As Industry 4.0 emerges, bringing opportunities to the Vietnamese economy, digital transformation is forecast to be a potential sector for FPT.

In the case of Mobile World Investment Corporation, the company has succeeded in expanding its electronic, digital and consumer retail chains, becoming the biggest retailer in Viet Nam.

FPT shares have gained more than 21.3 per cent since the beginning of the year and Mobile World's share price has spiked 7.6 per cent since mid-April thanks to increased purchased of electronic devices.

The two companies have also made stable dividend payouts in recent years. In addition, trading liquidity figures of the two companies’ shares are also high among all listed firms.

Last Friday, nearly 611,860 FPT shares and 626,570 Mobile World shares were traded through order-matching transactions.

Those factors assure the two firms’ shares are good underlying assets and investors may have no worries trading the covered warrants of the two stocks.

There is very low chance of price manipulation with covered warrants, Tran Anh Dung, director of VNDS’ Market Strategy Department, told reporters in an interview on Saturday.

The total amount of covered warrants to be issued was capped at 10 per cent of the company’s total floating shares, so the amount of covered warrants was too small to make an impact on the underlying stock prices, he said.

The State Securities Commission regulated the trading price of a covered warrant based on the underlying stock’s five-day average price, Dung said.

“That makes it difficult for anyone to manipulate the price of covered warrants,” he said.

Individual investors should not worry about securities firms colluding with group of buyers to control the price of covered warrants as it would be too costly for them, he added.

“If any investor wants to buy covered warrants manipulate prices, securities firms will ask the State Securities Commission to allow them to issue more covered warrants to stabilise prices,” he said.

Vinamilk to make dividend payments

The Vietnam Dairy Products Joint Stock Company (Vinamilk) will pay VND2.6 trillion (US$112.3 million) for the remainder of the 2018 dividend payout on June 26.

The list of beneficiary shareholders will be finalised on June 6.

The upcoming dividend payout rate is 15 per cent, meaning every shareholder will receive VND1,500 per share.Vinamilk is listing 1.74 billion shares on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange under code VNM.

In 2018, Vinamilk earned VND52.5 trillion in total revenue, up 3 per cent year-on-year, and VND10.26 trillion in profit, slightly down from 2017.

At the firm’s annual shareholder meeting in late April, the company gained approval on a 45 per cent dividend payout rate for 2018.

The first 30 per cent dividend payout was paid in late February 2019 and late September 2018.

In 2019, the company targets VND56.3 trillion in total revenue, up 7 per cent from last year, and VND10.5 trillion in total post-tax profit, up 2.5 per cent.

The dividend payout rate for 2019 has been set at 50 per cent. It will be paid in September 2019 and February 2020. The third payment will be decided by shareholders at a2020 annual shareholder meeting.

Vinamilk shares lost 1.5 per cent to end Friday at VND129,500 per share.

Six firms to have listings cancelled

Six companies will have their listings on the Ha Noi Stock Exchange cancelled in June.

The targeted firms are Hoa Binh Mineral JSC (KHB), ALV Infrastructure Development Investment JSC (ALV), ASA Consumer Product JSC (ASA), CMIStone Vietnam JSC (CMI), Song Da Investment and Construction JSC (SDD) and Low Current-Telecom JSC (LTC).

The move will raise the total number of companies to be delisted by force by the HNX in the first half of 2019 to 14. Five were delisted in May.

According to the HNX, the 14 companies had their listings cancelled because they have recorded losses for three straight years in 2016-18, delayed the disclosure of financial reports in the period and were rejected by audit agencies for their 2018 financial reports.

FLC Group to invest in three projects in Bắc Kạn

The FLC Group seeks to invest in three big projects in the northern province of Bac Kan, with total area of more than 2,600 hectares.

The projects include a resort, an entertainment and eco-urban area on Ba Be Lake on over 1,400ha with eco-houses, adventure parks, river tourism, a five-star resort and an 18-hole golf course.

The second project would be the Quang Khe resort and entertainment complex with 500ha, while the third is the North Cau River 690ha resort and eco urban area in Bac Kan City.

Le Thanh Vinh, vice chairman of FLC Group’s management board, said the projects have been carefully prepared. However, the group has not disclosed the total investment for the projects.

FLC has recently sought investment in big projects not only major cities but also in mountainous localities.

Earlier this year, it proposed building a 100,000-seat stadium with F1 racing. It also wants to build a T3 terminal at Tan Son Nhat International Airport in HCM City.

Son La mangoes exported to demanding markets

BUSINESS NEWS 5/6

Mangoes grown in Yen Chau District, the northern mountain province of Son La, began being exported to the US, UK, Australian and Chinese markets on Saturday.

Speaking at a ceremony to announce the export of its speciality to the four key markets, provincial party secretary Hoang Van Chat said the event would help promote Son La mangoes in other markets around the world.

This is the first time Son La mangoes have been exported to the US and UK, two selective markets with strict criteria.

The ceremony was held as part of the Yen Chau Mango Festival 2019.

The province sold 15,000 tonnes of mangoes in the first five months of the year. The export volume was more than 2,500 tonnes.

With about 15,700ha of mango farms, output is expected to reach about 35,500 tonnes this year, of which the volume eligible for export will be more than 7,500 tonnes. These numbers mark significant growth compared to 2018.

Son La is the fifth locality in the country following Dong Thap, Vinh Long, An Giang and Tien Giang and the first in the north to export mangoes to these high potential markets.

Vietnamese mangoes have been exported to 40 countries and territories worldwide, including Japan, South Korea, Taiwan (China), the EU, Australia, the US, the UK and Canada. It is the sixth fruit of Viet Nam to be exported to the US, after dragon fruit, rambutan, longan, lychee and star apple.

Yen Chau Mango Festival 2019 was held from May 31 to June 2 with booths introducing local agricultural and handicraft products, as well as various activities including a mango harvesting contest.

The agriculture sector gained a trade surplus of US$3.3 billion in the first five months of this year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The nation achieved an export value of $16.1 billion from agricultural, forestry and aquatic products during the period, a year-on-year increase of 1.2 per cent, including $3.6 billion in May.

The sector spent $12.8 billion on agricultural, forestry and fishery imports in the first five months, up 2.1 per cent over the same period last year. Of which, imports of fertilisers, pesticides and key agricultural products reached about $10.8 billion, up by 2.7 per cent year-on-year.

However, the key agricultural product exports were estimated at $7.7 billion, down 9.5 per cent over the same period.

The ministry said the export value of agricultural, forestry and fishery products increased again after slowing since the beginning of this year compared to 2018 due to Chinas policy changes and the impact of the US-China trade war, the Vietnam News Agency reported.

Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong said competition had grown this year, reported baodautu.vn.

In 2018, many countries had to import rice, including China, pushing the average export price of Vietnamese rice to $436 per tonne, it's highest level ever.

Other agricultural products as well as fishery and vegetable products had faced a similar situation, he said, and many countries had applied new technologies in production to become export rather than import markets.

This had created fiercer competition in the global market, Cuong said.

According to the ministry, in the first five months of this year, rubber exports were up 2.4 per cent to $662 million, tea was up 30 per cent to $79 million and fruit and vegetables climbed 10.3 per cent to $1.8 billion.

Some commodities, however, suffered a drop in export value such as pepper (down 26 per cent), cashew nuts (down 21 per cent), coffee (down 10 per cent) and rice (down 15 per cent) despite increased export volume.

Cashews surged 7.9 per cent in export volume but was down 14.9 per cent in value to $1.2 billion, and pepper increased 33.2 per cent in export volume but fell 2.4 per cent in value to $372 million.

Seafood exports were estimated at $3.15 billion, down slightly from the same period last year, including $795 million from tra fish exports and $1.1 billion from shrimp exports.

Forest product exports maintained high growth at 19.6 per cent to $4.3 billion.

According to the ministry, the results of agricultural production in the first five months showed that there were many difficulties in implementing the sectors growth target this year, especially with the spread of African swine fever.

Viet Nam's industrial production rises 9.4 per cent

Viet Nam’s industrial production index (IIP) rose 9.4 per cent in the first five months of 2019, driven by growth in the processing and manufacturing industry, power production and distribution, and water supply and waste treatment, data from the General Statistics Office (GSO) showed.

The five-month figure was lower than the 10.3 per cent increase in the same period last year but higher than the growth of 6.6 per cent in 2017 and 7.4 per cent in 2016.

The IIP in May was estimated to rise by 4.6 per cent over the previous month and by 10 per cent over the same period last year, the data said.

The processing and manufacturing continued to play a key role in driving growth across the whole industry with five-month growth of 10.9 per cent, contributing 8.4 percentage points to the overall increase. Notably, the manufacturing of electronic products, computers and optical products started to recover in May after two consecutive months of negative growth.

This industry also attracted the largest amount of foreign direct investment (FDI), with total capital in new projects exceeding US$4.7 billion, accounting for 73.5 per cent of accumulated investment in new projects overall. Additional and new capital injected into the sector reached more than $7 billion, accounting for 77.2 per cent of the total.

Electricity production and distribution ranked second with a five-month increase of 10.3 per cent, followed by water supply and waste treatment with growth of 7.9 per cent.

Some major industrial products also increased substantially compared to the same period last year, such as refined petroleum products (up 74.7 per cent), iron and crude steel (up 66.2 per cent), televisions (up 34.2 per cent), liquefied petroleum gas (LPG, up 26.2 per cent) and automobile (up 17.1 per cent).

On the dark side, oil and gas exploitation and the mining industry dropped 7.9 per cent and 0.1 per cent, respectively.

Some products suffered strong declines such as telephone parts (down 17.9 per cent) and refined sugar (down 13 per cent).

Across regions, 59/63 provinces and cities directly under the central government saw the industrial production index increase compared to the same period of last year, of which Thanh Hoa continued to lead with a 44.8 per cent jump thanks to the Nghi Son Refinery and Petrochemicals plant that went into production in mid-2018.

Experts said the country’s industrial growth was driven by increases in the number of enterprises, investment capital and labourers. However, productivity remained low and gaps with other countries like China, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, India, Thailand, Japan and the Republic of Korea had continued to widen.

Industrial growth, especially the processing and manufacturing sector, still relied on FDI firms.

Experts suggested creating national brands and competitive products, integrating more deeply into global value chains and stepping up industrial structural reform.

 
 
 
 
 
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