BUSINESS NEWS 7/7

Japanese firm acquires Vietnam’s digital advertising firm

Dentsu Aegis Network Ltd., a UK-based subsidiary of Japanese advertising and public relations joint stock company Dentsu Inc., has signed an agreement to acquire Ambient Digital Vietnam – the country’s largest independent digital media agency.

This is Vietnam's next advertising agency to merge into Dentsu Inc. after the Dentsu Aegis Network’s acquisition of Redder Advertising Asia Joint Stock Company in March, which is part of Dentsu's strategy to scale up its digital service activities in Vietnam.

After the merger, Ambient Digital Vietnam was renamed iProspect Vietnam, and 95 employees working in the newly-named firm will continue to work to provide digital communication services including programming, content creation, management and social media planning.

However, Ambient Digital’s overseas subsidiaries will continue to operate independently, completely unrelated to the merger contract.
Established in 2010, Ambient Digital Vietnam is a full service digital agency with the headquarters in Ho Chi Minh City. Since its formation, the firm has expanded its operation to many Southeast Asian markets.

Along with Ambient Digital, Dentsu also has announced its acquisition of New Zealand-based technology and business consultancy, Davanti Consulting Ltd of Auckland.

Ben Tre to expand farming of key aquatic species 

The Mekong Delta province of Ben Tre will invest more than 2.5 trillion VND (107.5 million USD) by 2030 to develop key aquatic species like black tiger shrimp, white-legged shrimp and tra fish, according to the provincial People’s Committee.

Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee said of the sum, over 1.89 trillion VND (81.3 million USD) would come from the province’s budget and the remaining from other sources.

Ben Tre plans to expand farming of key aquatic species to 37,000ha and their annual output to 402,870 tonnes by 2030.

The plan envisages farming black tiger shrimp on 22,500ha, white-legged shrimp on 13,500ha and tra fish on 1,000ha by that year.

It aims to increase export of seafood to 200 million USD a year by 2030 from 90 million USD in 2020.

The plan envisages 70 percent of shrimp farming households becoming members of cooperatives or cooperative groups that are part of the value chain to stabilise production and demand.

Lap said to meet the targets the focus would be on infrastructure for aquaculture, improving the quality of broodstock and expanding the use of advanced farming techniques.

The province would expand models that use advanced farming techniques to increase yields and quality, adapt to climate change and protect the environment, he said.

The farming models breed shrimp and tra fish based on good agricultural practices (GAP) standards like VietGAP, globalGAP and organic standards.

The province is soliciting investment in five or six more seafood processing plants, including two to four shrimp processing plants by 3030.

There are 11 plants for processing tra fish and clams for export but none to process shrimp.

Lap said the province would invest in irrigation systems for concentrated shrimp farming areas, especially in the coastal districts of Ba Tri, Binh Dai and Thanh Phu.

These districts have large shrimp – rice and shrimp – forest farming areas.

The provincial People’s Committee has tasked the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development with safeguarding the environment in concentrated shrimp farming areas.

It has ordered the department and other agencies to ensure localities develop farming of key aquatic species in accordance with zoning plans and their conditions.

Ben Tre has turned more than 10,000ha of infertile rice fields in places affected by saltwater intrusion into aquaculture areas, orchards growing high-value fruits and areas used for non-farming purposes.

The province is one of the hardest hit in the delta by climate change and rising sea levels.

Workshop helps distinguish between genuine and fake goods

The Vietnam Directorate of Market Surveillance (VDMS) and the Moët Hennessy - Louis Vuitton (LVMH), the world's leading luxury group based in France, co-organised a workshop in Hanoi on July 3 to instruct market management staff on how to identify whether products under the LVMH brands are fake or authentic.

At the event, which was part of the cooperative framework signed last month between the VDMS and LVMH, the market surveillance force in 11 northern cities and provinces were provided with necessary information to distinguish authentic LVMH cosmetics and perfume; Christian Dior jewellery, glasses, and clothes; and Tagheuer, Hublot and Zenith watches from well-made fakes.

According to Director General of the VDMS Tran Huu Linh, competent authorities have carried out a wide range of measures, and built various plans to prevent trade fraud, counterfeit goods and violations of intellectual property rights.

Each year, the market surveillance force inspect and handle more than 10,000 cases of violations, he said, adding that the fight against fake goods remain a big challenge, with complicated production and trafficking of counterfeit goods, poor awareness of the public, and weak management mechanisms.

To this end, Linh said that cooperation with makers and manufacturers are important as they know their products well.

Huan Yang, a senior manager of the LVMH, expressed his hope that cooperation between the market surveillance force and the LVMH and other enterprises in France will be expanded in the coming time, making contributions to combating fake goods and violations of intellectual property rights, while ensuring benefits of both consumers and businesses.

He added that the move also promoted trade ties between Vietnam and the EU, and Vietnam and France.

Over 11.1 trillion VND worth of G-bonds raised in June

The State Treasury of Vietnam raised over 11.1 trillion VND (482 million USD) through 13 government bond auctions in June, down 6.7 percent month-on-month, according to the Hanoi Stock Exchange.

During the month, the bidding volume was 4.9-fold higher than the offering.

Accordingly, 10-year bonds will yield an annual interest rate of 4.64 – 4.67 percent, 15-year bonds between 5-5.03 percent, 20-year bonds between 5.58 – 5.63 percent, and 30-year bonds between 5.78 – 5.85 percent.

Compared to May, interest rates were down 0.04 – 0.1 percent each year.

In the G-bond secondary market, the total volume of bonds sold by the outright method exceeded 630 million, equivalent to more than 69.2 trillion VND, down 19.2 percent in value from the previous month.

The trading volume through repurchase agreements (repos) reached over 969 million worth upwards 97.3 trillion VND, up 8 percent in value month-on-month.

Foreign investors made outright purchases worth over 3.6 trillion VND, and outright sales of more than 743 billion VND. Their repo sales were estimated at over 39 billion VND.

Tetra Pak inaugurates sterilised paper box plant

Swedish food processing and packaging solution provider Tetra Pak inaugurated a plant at Vietnam – Singapore II Industrial Park in the southern province of Binh Duong on July 3 to manufacture sterilised paper boxes.

Covering a site of 100,000 sq.m, the plant was built at a total cost of 120 million EUR (135 million USD) and has a designed capacity of 12 billion paper boxes each year, which is expected to amount to 20 billion in the future.

Its products will be sold at home and abroad, including ASEAN member countries, Australia and New Zealand.

It is the eighth plant built by Tetra Pak in Asia-Pacific and one of the most eco-friendly ones that meet the highest environment standards in the world.

Speaking at the event, Tetra Pak’s President and CEO Adolfo Orive said the plant is a strong evidence for the company’s long-term commitment to doing business in Vietnam, contributing to the country’s economic growth and generating more local jobs.

Low CPI growth facilitates inflation control: Deputy PM

A CPI rise at three-year low during the first half of 2019 has greatly helped stabilise the macro-economy, promote economic growth and leave much room for inflation control for the remaining of the year, according to Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue.

He made the assessment at a meeting of the Steering Committee for Price Management in Hanoi on July 3.

The committee reported that during the first half of 2019, prices soared in January and February as the nation prepared for the Lunar New Year holiday, but decreased slightly in March before gradually rebounding in the two following months, and then declined again in June.

The Consumer Price Index (CPI) in June fell 0.09 percent from the previous month. During the first six months, it grew 2.64 percent compared to the same period last year, which was a three-year low and far below the ceiling rate of 4 percent set by the National Assembly.

The CPI developments in the reviewed period relatively matched the forecast made at the year’s beginning, the committee said.

Noting factors helping to curb the CPI expansion, experts said while grain food prices decreased thanks to abundant supply and lower rice import demand in the world, pork prices plunged between March and May due to the African swine fever epidemic. Additionally, prices of healthcare services fell 0.1 percent from December 2018, and domestic petrol prices have also dropped again since the latter half of May.

Ministries, sectors and localities have coordinated closely to ensure the supply-demand balance, adjust prices of State-managed commodities in an appropriate manner, and steer exchange rates basing on the flexible daily reference exchange rate mechanism.

Recognising the outcomes, Deputy PM Hue, who is also chairman of the Steering Committee for Price Management, underlined the resolve to keep inflation at 3.3 – 3.9 percent this year.

He asked the committee to continue keeping a close watch on the supply-demand situation to take suitable solutions to stabilise the market, especially in terms of essential goods like pork, construction materials and petrol. While the fiscal policy must be governed in a strict manner, the monetary policy needs to be flexible and be coordinated with other macro-economic policies to keep inflation within the ceiling limit.

The core inflation this year should be kept within some 1.8 percent, he noted.

Hue asked ministries, sectors and localities to provide information about price management to relevant agencies, the media and the public in a timely fashion. They also need to increase the transparency of statistics relating to important commodities affecting people’s life.

At the meeting, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Tran Thanh Nam also reported by July, the African swine fever had been reported in 61 of the 63 provinces and cities, with only Ninh Thuan and Tay Ninh provinces still free from any outbreaks.

More than 2.8 million pigs weighing over 180,000 tonnes have been culled. The amount of live pigs sold to the market in the six months was estimated at over 1.8 million tonnes, down 4.7 percent year on year.

The ministry is directing the implementation of drastic solutions to prevent the epidemic from spreading further. It has also assigned relevant agencies to work with companies to develop vaccine against the virus, Nam added.

HCM City seminar discusses service infrastructure planning

The Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee held a seminar on July 3 to discuss developing local services and zoning of service infrastructure for the 2020-2030 period.

Speaking at the event, Politburo member and Secretary of the municipal Party Committee Nguyen Thien Nhan said Ho Chi Minh City is an economic hub of the country and southern key economic zone in particular.

He described the service sector as a strategic development spearhead along with finance-banking-insurance, trade, tourism, transportation, seaports and warehouses; posts, telecommunications, information and media; real estate and consultancy; science-technology, heath care, education and training.

Nguyen Thanh Nha, Director of the municipal Department of Planning and Architecture, said service infrastructures includes tangible and intangible ones such as transportation, energy and cyber infrastructure.

He suggested devising a master plan on urban infrastructure, land use and artificial intelligence application.

World Bank’s senior expert Zhiyu Jerry Chen recommended that the city should pay attention to measures to improve regional economic connectivity, especially fields that create added value to the city.

Executive Director of Planning & Design Halvard Dalheim from the New South Wales Department of Planning, Industry and Environment said planning work needs coordination with inner districts and nearby regions, especially issues regarding transportation and logistics.

Statistics show that the city’s gross regional domestic product (GRDP) topped 1 quadrillion VND (43 billion USD) last year, up 8.3 percent year-on-year. Up to 62.4 percent of this was contributed by service sector which maintained a high growth of 8.4 percent.

At present, nine key services are accounting for 57.1 percent of the city’s GRDP.

Occupancy rate at industrial parks averages 74 percent

BUSINESS NEWS 7/7

Industrial parks in the country have reported an average occupancy rate of nearly 74 percent, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment’s Economic Zone Management Department.

A total of 326 industrial parks (IPs) have been established across Vietnam so far with total natural acreage of 95,500 ha. Of them, 251 IPs have been put into operation, and the remaining are in the process of land clearance and construction.

Besides IPs, 17 coastal economic zones have been set up with total land and water surface area of more than 845,000 ha. In addition, the Ninh Co economic zone in the northern province of Nam Dinh has been designated in the national economic zone planning, but is yet to be built.

In the first six months of this year, IPs and economic zones in the country attracted 340 foreign-invested projects with newly-registered capital totalling 8.7 billion USD. In the period, the zones also drew 334 domestic investment projects worth a combined 83 trillion VND (3.56 billion USD).

As of late June, there were 3.6 million labourers working in IPs and economic zones, around 60 percent of whom are female.

Of the 251 operating industrial zones, 221 have built concentrated waste water treatment facilities.

Da Nang’s economy slows down in H1

Gross regional domestic product growth of the central city of Da Nang slowed down in the first half of 2019 to stand at 6.21 percent, compared to the 7.24 percent in the previous year, heard a conference to review the city’s socio-economic development on July 3.

The city welcomed 4.3 million visitors in the first six months, a year-on-year surge of 15.1 percent. Tourism sector raked in nearly 15 trillion VND (644.3 million USD) in the period, rising 15.1 percent and equivalent to 54.7 percent of the yearly plan.

The city was ranked 15th out of 52 destinations in 2019 listed by the US New York Times newspaper.

However, Da Nang’s index of industrial production (IIP) only increased 4 percent in the period, while investment for social welfare rose 2.1 percent, below expectations of 7.2 percent and 6.3 percent, respectively.

Vice Chairman of the municipal People’s Committee Ho Ky Minh attributed the slower economic growth to difficulties in the production of major firms and declines in production values of industrial sectors.

Slow pace was seen in some constructions and projects, he added, particularly in water supply and sewage systems, wastewater and garbage treatment.

At the conference, local authorities asked relevant agencies to try to meet remaining tasks in the second half of the year, carry out measures to collect State budget and prevent losses, and keep a close watch on the implementation of licenced projects.

Vietnam, UK share experience in financial field

The United Kingdom is willing to provide technical assistance to help increase the efficiency of the Vietnamese economy, and intensify cooperation with the country in preventing money laundry, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond said on July 3.

Hammond made the statement when receiving Vietnamese Finance Minister Dinh Tien Dung who is leading a delegation from the Finance Ministry and the State Securities Commission of Vietnam (SSC) on a working trip to the UK from July 2-6.

Dung briefed the host on Vietnam’s economic situation as well as measures its Government has taken to boost sustainable economic growth, reduce public debts, maintain low inflation, step up economic restructuring and attract more direct and indirect investments.

The host showed his interest in the equitisation of State-owned enterprises in Vietnam.

The Vietnamese delegation also had a working session with CEO & Director-International Development at London Stock Exchange Plc Nikhil Rathi, during which SSC Chairman Tran Van Dung said that the UK’s indirect investment in Vietnam, at nearly 1 billion USD, is quite modest compared to UK investors’ potential and the Vietnamese market’s absorption capacity.

Therefore, the promotion of investment in London is of significance to increase the UK’s indirect investment in Vietnam, he added.

The UK is the second biggest European investor in Vietnam, after the Netherlands, with 267 FDI projects worth 3.75 billion USD, and Vietnam’s third largest trade partner in Europe after Germany and the Netherlands.

The two sides have signed an agreement on double taxation avoidance and another on investment protection and promotion, and are working to speed up the signing of a free trade agreement.

Over VND 11.7 trillion to upgrade Con Dao airport

The Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV) has recently reported to the Ministry of Transport about the plan for Con Dao airport to ensure the operation of A321 aircraft.

Accordingly, in order to upgrade Con Dao airport, it is expected that the total budget will be more than VND11.7 trillion.

The Con Dao airport, located in the district of the same name in Ba Ria – Vung Tau province, was built during the French colonial period. It was upgraded in 2003 and put into operation a year later, serving both civil and military flights. In 2004, it was upgraded to receive ATR72 aircraft and its terminal can serve up to 200 passengers at a time. At present, it is operated by Vietnam Air Service Company (VASCO) with two routes linking Ho Chi Minh City and the Mekong delta city of Can Tho.

 

Director of the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam, Dinh Viet Thang, said that the CAAV directed the Airport Design and Construction Consultancy One Member Ltd Company (ADCC) to study the plan on upgrading the airport’s runway to receive airplanes such as the Airbus A320 and A321, instead of just ATR72 aircraft.

The ADCC consultant has studied and proposed extending the airport’s runway from 1,830 metres to 2,400 metre, and width of the runway will be 45 metres. At the same time, the parking area is planned to have enough space for at least eight Airbus A320s, ensuring a capacity of two million passengers per year, with land reserves available for expansion when needed.

Of the total cost of VND 11.7 trillion, more than VND 5.3 trillion will be spent to upgrade and extend the runway. In the case that it is possible to source soil from on the island, this figure will be reduced to nearly VND 2 trillion.

The option was evaluated by experts with the advantage of exploiting the current generation of aircraft A321 and the new generation of aircraft A319, A320, A321 (neo/ceo). However, the CAAV also assessed that the option has the limitation of having to fill the sea, which causes construction investment costs to increase, extending the construction time of the construction items as planned.

According to the Deputy General Director of Airports Corporation of Việt Nam (ACV), Do Tat Binh, instead of upgrading the runway to serve larger aircraft, it is necessary to study a more efficient way of using small aircraft and flying more frequently.

Tiki & Fahasa.com become strategic partners

Tiki and Fahasa.com officially signed an agreement to become strategic partners on July 1 in Ho Chi Minh City.

The signing was attended by over 40 publishing companies, book suppliers, and well-known authors.

Fahasa.com’s online store has been officially displayed on Tiki’s e-commerce platform since June 21, adding more than 30,000 book titles to the platform. The figure is expected to increase to hundreds of thousands in the time to come, offering readers throughout the country a variety of authentic books.

Fahasa.com views Tiki as a long-term, reputable platform for its products, especially books, so the agreement ensures book lovers have a convenient place to buy the books they choose.

Based on their deep understanding of the market and reader behavior via a large customer database, Tiki and Fahasa.com are also expected to become publishers of book titles.

“From my personal experience, some book titles bought by publishers have not been printed and released due to a lack of guaranteed distribution channels or even data to ensure whether they will sell well,” said Mr. Tran Ngoc Thai Son, Founder and CEO of Tiki. “The strategic partnership between Tiki and Fahasa.com is an opportunity to stimulate intellectual products, contributing to enriching Vietnam’s reading culture.”

“Given Fahasa’s product diversity, good operations, and 100 physical bookstores nationwide combined with Tiki’s trusted e-commerce platform, we are highly committed to driving this partnership further in product quantity and quality as well as fast delivery,” said Mr. Pham Minh Thuan, Chairman and CEO of Fahasa.

Fahasa is a long-standing and trusted player in Vietnam’s book industry, while Fahasa.com is one of the leading e-commerce bookstores in the country. Strategically cooperating with Tiki will see more books and printed products available for Vietnam’s 95 million plus population.

According to a report from the Publication Department, 2018 saw 32,000 new books published in the industry, with more than 390 million copies printed, an increase of 20.6 per cent compared to 2017. This is a good sign not only for the country’s reading culture but also for the domestic book market. However, protection of the intellectual property rights of authors is still a major concern not only for authors but also book lovers and Vietnam’s book industry.

In 2018, each Vietnamese person read 1.2 books on average. Reading is not just about gaining information but also expresses the national spirit of being eager to learn and explore new horizons.

The partnership between Tiki and Fahasa.com will greatly contribute to amplifying Vietnam’s reading culture and will offer customers trusted book shopping destinations to buy copyright-protected products. These are expected to help stimulate each Vietnamese person to read at least four books or more each year on average.

When a customer decides to buy a book this means he or she is expressing their support for the author and hope the author receives royalties. Tiki has implemented several policies to protect copyright as well as promote Vietnam’s reading culture. Specifically, it has a 111 per cent return policy for customers when fake or counterfeit products are detected on Tiki. Fahasa.com also guarantees authentic books with clear origins.

To celebrate the partnership, Tiki and Fahasa.com are offering Vietnamese readers discounts of up to 60 per cent from July 15 to July 28 when ordering from the special catalogue of Fahasa.com on Tiki.

Thien Minh Group chairman sets up new airline

Although the joint venture between Thien Minh Group and AirAsia stopped working, Thien Minh Group has not given up on its ambitions to join the Vietnamese aviation market by establishing a new airline.

Thien Minh Group Aviation JSC has just been granted the business registration certificate with the charter capital of VND1 trillion ($43.48 million). The company is headquartered in Hoi An, Quang Nam and has three major shareholders, including Thien Minh Aviation JSC (30 per cent), Tran Trong Kien (60 per cent), and Tran Hang Thu (10 per cent)

According to the business registration, Tran Trong Kien is the chairman cum general director of Thien Minh Aviation JSC, which registered activities in seven industries, including air passenger transport, air cargo transportation, and aircraft leasing.

Thien Minh Aviation JSC was established not much after Thien Minh and AirAsia announced to stop co-operatingin this April. However, AirAsia seems to not have given up on conquering the Vietnamese aviation market, and neither has Thien Minh Group. Both of the corporations will shoot for drawing the attention of the over 90 million people in the country.

Recently, the Vietnamese aviation market featured five players including Vietnam Airlines, VietJet, Jetstar, VASCO, and Bamboo Airways. Besides Thien Minh, Vietstar Airlines (Vietstar Airlines Multirole Corporation) and Vietravel Airlines have ambitions to become the sixth in line.

However, Vietstar Airlines is still waiting for an aviation licence, although it was established in mid-2016 with a capital of VND300 billion ($13.04 million). Earlier this month, Vietravel also submitted a dossier to set up Vietravel Airlines, with an investment of about VND1 trillion ($43.48 million).

Petrolimex and JXTG Nippon Oil & Energy co-operate on LNG project

Vietnam National Petroleum Group (Petrolimex) has entered into a co-operation with Japan's JXTG Nippon Oil & Energy in a bid to build facilities and collaborate on procurement. The two giants expect to pour investment in producing liquefied natural gas (LNG), an area where JXTG has substantial experience.

Vietnam’s current gas production capacity cannot fully satisfy demand, leaving significant opportunities for liquefied natural gas suppliers. Petrolimex is reported to be planning to invest approximately $4 billion on preparing facilities and building power plants in Vietnam.

Vietnam's strongly growing gas demand was the main reason behind Petrolimex's co-operation with JXTG, since the Japanese firm has its own LNG facilities in Japan.

Strong LNG demand could translate into more imports from foreign countries, which would be a blow to government coffers. Hence, international co-operation to increase LNG production capacity is crucial.

The partnership marks a new foray in Vietnam for JXTG, Japan's largest direct seller of crude oil. In 2016, a subsidiary of JXTG Holdings took an 8 per cent stake in Petrolimex for ¥20 billion ($185 million at current rates), Nikkei reported.

According to JXTG’s predictions, Japan's oil demand would decrease by 50 per cent of current levels by 2040. Therefore, co-operation with Vietnam-based firm Petrolimex is a strategic move which can ensure steady profits even as its home market begins to shrink.

BRG, VNPT, Sumitomo, and SeABank partner up in fintech and smart city

The co-operation agreement on development of fintech and the application of high technology in smart cities between Vietnamese conglomerates BRG group, VNPT group, SeABank, and Japan’s conglomerate Sumitomo group was awarded under the witness of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and representatives of the governments of the two countries.

As VIR has reported previously, the co-operation between the two nations has seen positive developments as the two countries are ramping up their investment ties on the back of strengthened bilateral co-operation and Vietnam’s thirst for Japanese investment and its business climate improvements.

Taking place during Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s visit to Japan, the partnership among the four high-profile names from the two countries could translate into a success of projects related to fintech and smart cities.

In the field of fintech, according to consultancy firm Statista, the Vietnamese fintech market is predicted to reach $12.33 billion by 2022. Hence, this co-operation agreement was implemented to promote cashless economy in the context of Vietnam’s high smartphone penetration rates, as well as young and tech-affine population.

“Fintech has begun to develop a few years ago, but it has already had significant impacts on enabling the fast transformation of the financial landscape in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. So, investment from conglomerates to beef up the fintech development is a global trend,” said BRG Group’s chairwoman Nguyen Thi Nga.

In the area of urban development, smart city is the new buzzword across the globe. The part of the smart city concept which makes it so desirable is the use of high technology in the building environment in order to tackle major problems facing cities, such as pollution, traffic congestion, and energy conservation, to name a few.

Global spending on information technology for smart cities will reach $135 billion in 2021, growing at an average annual rate of nearly 20 per cent, research company IDC projects. As a result, this partnership of Vietnamese and Japanese firms is an important practice to unleash Vietnam’s potential and become a hotbed of smart cities.

“Japan has just entered a new era called Reiwa, which means harmony, order, and development. Therefore, the co-operation of Vietnam’s giant firms VNPT, BRG, and SeABank with Sumitomo definitely brings upbeat prospects to the two countries partnership,” said Masahiro Miyashita, director of the business intelligence division of Sumitomo group.

Expressway giant VEC owes over $3.8 billion

Vietnam Expressway Corporation (VEC) took up significant loans in USD and Japanese yen for terms of 16-40 years to develop expressway projects.

The liabilities of VEC in 2019 have surpassed VND87 trillion ($3.8 billion), up VND7.7 trillion ($0.33 billion) compared to the beginning of 2018. According to VEC's audited financial statement in 2018, total liabilities have accounted for 90 per cent of its total capital and have been rising ever since.

The expressway giant owes the Asian Development Bank (ADB) VND31.2 trillion ($1.36 billion), Japan Bank for International Co-operation (JBIC) VND28.96 trillion ($1.26 billion), and the World Bank VND5.4 trillion ($0.23 billion).

Most of these loans were used to fund expressway projects like Noi Bai-Lao Cai, Long Thanh-Dau Giay, and Danang-Quang Ngai and had terms of 16-40 years. However, the contracts are often valued in US dollar and Japanese yen and, in addition to interest and fees, VEC recorded a loss of VND2.1 trillion ($91.3 million) from currency exchange rate differences.

This loss causes a 390-fold decrease in after-tax profit compared to last year, approximately VND3 billion ($130,500), while both revenues from expressway tolls and interest from bank deposits are increasing. However, the losses are six-times higher than what is allowed by the Ministry of Transport.

Last year, VEC set a target of VND3.4 trillion ($147.8 million) in revenue and VND365 million ($15,870) in profit. Of these, revenue from expressway tolls was to account for 92 per cent of its revenue structure, with the remaining part coming from interest on capital contribution and bank deposits.

The financial statement estimated that the Noi Bai-Lao Cai Expressway contributed VND1.28 trillion ($55.6 million) of VEC's revenue in 2018, while the Ho Chi Minh City-Long Thanh-Dau Giay Expressway fetched VND981 billion ($42.6 million), the Cau Gie-Ninh Binh Expressway VND646 billion ($28.1 million), and the Danang-Quang Ngai Expressway VND229 billion ($9.95 million).

Bến Tre to expand farming of key aquatic species

BẾN TRE The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Bến Tre will invest more than VNĐ2.5 trillion (US$107.4 million) by 2030 to develop key aquatic species like black tiger shrimp, white-legged shrimp and tra fish, according to its People’s Committee.

It said VNĐ1.89 billion ($81.1 million) of this would come from the province’s coffers.

Bến Tre plans to expand farming of key aquatic species to 37,000ha and their annual output to 402,870 tonnes by 2030.

The plan envisages farming black tiger shrimp on 22,500ha, white-legged shrimp on 13,500ha and tra fish on 1,000ha by that year.

It aims to increase export of seafood to $200 million a year by 2030 from $90 million next year.

The plan envisages 70 per cent of shrimp farming households becoming members of co-operatives or co-operative teams that are part of the value chain to stabilise production and demand.

Nguyễn Hữu Lập, deputy chairman of the province's People’s Committee, said to meet the targets the focus would be on infrastructure for aquaculture, improving the quality of broodstock and expanding the use of advanced farming techniques.

The province would expand models that use advanced farming techniques to increase yields and quality, adapt to climate change and protect the environment, he said.

The farming models breed shrimp and tra fish based on good agricultural practices (GAP) standards like VietGAP, globalGAP and organic standards.

The province is soliciting investment in five or six more seafood processing plants, including two to four shrimp processing plants by 3030.

There are 11 plants for processing tra fish and clams for export but none to process shrimp.

Lập said the province would invest in irrigation systems for concentrated shrimp farming areas, especially in the coastal districts of Ba Tri, Bình Đại and Thạnh Phú.

These districts have large shrimp – rice and shrimp – forest farming areas.

The provincial People’s Committee has tasked the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development with safeguarding the environment in concentrated shrimp farming areas.

It has ordered the department and other agencies to ensure localities develop farming of key aquatic species in accordance with zoning plans and their conditions.

Bến Tre has turned more than 10,000ha of infertile rice fields in places affected by saltwater intrusion into aquaculture areas, orchards growing high-value fruits and areas used for non-farming purposes.

The province is one of the hardest hit in the delta by climate change and rising sea levels.

HCM City’s retail, service revenues reach US$ 19.8 bln in first five months of 2019

According to a report from the Ho Chi Minh City People's Committee, the city earned VND 463,527 billion (US$ 19.8 billion) from retail sales of goods and service in the first five months of 2019, an increase of 12.3 percent over the same period of last year.

Of which, total retail sales and revenue of consumer service were estimated at VND 91,326 billion (US$ 3.9 billion) in May, up 0.9 percent from the previous month and 17.8 percent over the same period in 2018.

Total export turnover of goods was estimated at US$ 15.7 billion, a rise of 7.2 percent over the same period in 2018. The turnover was at US$ 14.8 billion, an increase of 8.3 percent over the same period of last year (excluding crude oil value).

The city’s export markets to some countries as the Philippines, Taiwan (China) and India remain fast growth while exporting to Germany, Australia, Indonesia, Japan and South Korea is struggling a slowdown in the sectors of computers, electronic products, components and vegetables, etc.

In the period, the city’s import turnover of goods was estimated at US$ 19.8 billion, up 5.4 percent over the same period in 2018, focusing on computers, electronic products and components, chemicals, iron and steel, etc.

FDI inflows pour strongly into HCM city’s real estate market

Ho Chi Minh City attracted US$ 2.77 billion of foreign direct investment (FDI) capital under the form of granting investment registration certificates, capital contribution, purchase of shares and domestic pooling of investment in the first five months, an increase of 49 percent over the same period of last year.

The increase marked the positive sign of the city economic development.

451 foreign direct investment projects were granted investment certificates with total capital of US$ 472.16 million, an increase of 22.6 percent of newly registered projects and 9.2 percent in term of investment capital over the same period of last year.

Real estate sector had the most investment capital, following the fields of professional activities and science and technology, wholesale and retail, repair of automobiles, motorcycles, motorbikes, other motor vehicles, processing and manufacturing industries, information and communication.

Diversified investment capital in the real estate sector came from British Virgin Islands’ enterprises who poured the largest investment capital, followed by enterprises from South Korea, Japan, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Among the projects that had to change the certificates of investment registration, investment licenses and newly- registered investment, 102 licensed projects in previous years have been adjusted investment capital with total capital of US$ 214.54 million.

In addition, the city also allowed 1,719 foreign investors carrying out procedures related to capital contribution, purchase of shares and rebuying the capital contribution of domestic enterprises with registered capital of US$ 2.08 billion.

20-million-USD hospital built in Soc Trang province

The Phuong Chau medical group began the construction of a hospital worth 20 million USD in the Mekong Delta province of Soc Trang on July 6.

The six-storey hospital is built on over 7,400 square metres with 100 patient beds.

It is expected to be put into operation from the third quarter of 2020.

Director of the provincial Department of Health Truong Hoai Phong said the province will provide the optimal support for the completion of the project to take better care of locals’ health.

Nguyen Thi Ngoc Ho, Director General of the Phuong Chau medical group, said the hospital aims to offer safe and quality health services for people in Soc Trang and neighbouring provinces.

The group has also built hospitals in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho and Sa Dec city in the Mekong Delta province of Dong Thap.

Major solar power plant becomes operational in An Giang

The first phase of a solar power plant that has the total capacity of 210 MWp was put into operation in the Mekong Delta province of An Giang on July 6.

The Sao Mai Solar PV1 plant, covering 275ha in An Hao commune of Tinh Bien district, is invested with nearly 6 trillion VND (257.5 million USD) by Sao Mai Group.

In the first phase, carried out in only four months, the factory has an area of 120ha and the capacity of 104 MWp. It will generate 250,000 MWh each year, equivalent to the electricity amount consumed by more than 50,000 households, according to the plant’s General Director Le Tuan Anh.

The second phase, which has the capacity of 106 MWp, is scheduled to be completed before December 31 this year.

[Growth demand fuels solar power boom in Vietnam]

At the inaugural ceremony, Chairman of the An Giang People’s Committee Nguyen Thanh Binh said this is the biggest solar power project and also the one built in the shortest period of time in the province, less than one year in total.

He added the project will make an important contribution to local socio-economic development and the ensuring of national energy security.

As of June 30, as many as 82 solar power plants with a combined capacity of 4,460MW had been connected to the national grid, according to the Vietnam Electricity (EVN) group.

This makes solar power currently account for 8.28 percent of Vietnam’s electricity capacity.

 
 
 
 
 
Leave your comment on an article

OR QUICK LOGIN