VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS DECEMBER 25

Vietnam’s brand value records fastest growth worldwide: Brand Finance

VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS DECEMBER 25

Vietnam has posted the fastest-growing national brand this year, with value surging 29 percent to 319 billion USD, on the list of the world’s 100 most valuable national brands compiled by the London-based independent brand valuation and strategy consultancy Brand Finance.

The country climbed nine places from 42nd last year to 33rd this year.

Vietnam, which has recorded staggeringly low COVID-19 cases and related deaths, has emerged as one of the top locations in Southeast Asia for manufacturing and has become an increasingly attractive destination for investors, particularly from the US, Brand Finance said.

Vietnam’s increase was primarily due to “Vietnam Value”, a national programme to endorse products and services that meet minimum standards set out by the Government, together with concentrated efforts from the Government to promote economic growth, it noted.

The US remained the world’s most valuable brand, at 23.7 trillion USD, followed by China and Japan.

2020 put the world to the test due to COVID-19, with losses to the 100 most valuable national brands amounting to 13.1 trillion USD.

Established in 1996, Brand Finance now operates in more than 20 countries worldwide./.

Dragon Capital no longer major shareholder at local seafood firm

Dragon Capital is no longer a major shareholder at aquaculture firm Vinh Hoan Corp after its member funds completed offloading their shares.

The fund’s two members KB Vietnam Focus Balanced and Hanoi Investments Holdings Ltd sold 580,000 shares on December 17.

After the deal, Dragon Capital cut its stake at Vinh Hoan Corp to 4.9 per cent of charter capital from the previous 5.21 per cent.

With a stake of below 5 per cent, Dragon Capital is not a major shareholder anymore.

The Vietnamese aquaculture company, listed on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange with code VHC, has seen its market value fall 10.7 per cent in the last four trading days.

VHC lost 2.7 per cent to end Monday at VND41,300 apiece.

Dragon Capital has recently lowered its ownership in local companies. In November-end, its member fund Amersham Industries Ltd sold 1 million Military Bank shares (MBB) to curb the stake to 4.97 per cent.

Dragon Capital has also transferred 8 million shares at FPT Retail (HoSE: FRT) and cut its stake to 3.1 per cent.

Other companies in which Dragon Capital has sold its shares are Khang Dien House Trading and Investment JSC (HoSE: KDH), Dat Xanh Group (HoSE: DXG) and Development Investment Construction JSC (HoSE: DIG).

On the opposite side, the fund has bought shares of the steel producer Hoa Phat Group (HoSE: HPG).

VFMVN Diamond ETF most attractive to foreign investors

A total of VND1.5 trillion (US$64.4 million) worth of capital has been poured into the local exchange-traded fund VFMVN Diamond ETF in December, largely from top investment funds such as Dragon Capital and Pyn Elite Fund.

VFMVN Diamond ETF is one of the biggest investees at Pyn Elite Fund, which has drawn a total of VND820 billion ($35 million) from the fund.

The Taiwan-based investment fund CTBC Vietnam Equity Fund has bought 16 million certificates of VFMVN Diamond ETF, worth VND262 billion.

Foreign investors have net-sold a huge amount of Vietnamese assets since the beginning of the year.

As of last week, they had sold a net value of total VND15 trillion on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange alone – a record high.

But the trend has somehow reversed in December as foreign investors turn to net-buying assets through order-matching transactions.

Beside VFMVN Diamond ETF, foreign investment funds have also been interested in buying the certificates of FTSE Vietnam ETF.

The return of foreign capital has helped boost the Vietnamese market in recent weeks.

The benchmark VN-Index on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange has climbed a total of 7 per cent in December to more than 1,080 points.

According to Pyn Elite Fund, the VN-Index could reach 1,800 points at the end of the year.

The local market has benefited from the recovery of the economy, aided by the Government’s efforts to successfully control the coronavirus spread.

In addition, low bank saving rates and low government bond yield rates have encouraged individual investors to look for other investment options and poured a huge amount of cash into the stock market.

According to Andy Ho, CEO and investment chief at VinaCapital, Viet Nam’s macroeconomic conditions will soon stabilise and the investment environment will be key to the growth of the securities market.

In addition, the expectation of being re-classified by Morgan Stanley Capital International (MSCI) will also help Vietnamese assets lure attention from foreign investors.

But the return of foreign investors into Viet Nam can only be determined after the official US presidential election result is announced, deputy director of the fund management firm VMF, said.

Until then, there will still some ups and downs with foreign capital, he said. 

PV Gas estimates profit beats full-year projection

PetroVietnam Gas Corporation (PV Gas) has estimated its total post-tax profit in 2020 will hit VND7.88 trillion (US$339 million), down 35 per cent year-on-year.

The figure beat the full-year target by 19 per cent. Post-tax profit was expected to touch VND6.64 trillion in 2020.

Total revenue is estimated at VND66.18 trillion, down 12.5 per cent year-on-year and a bit higher than the full-year expectation of VND66.16 trillion.

In the first nine months, PV Gas announced total revenue fell 16 per cent year-on-year to VND48.6 trillion and post-tax profit dropped 31 per cent year-on-year to VND6.25 trillion.

According to the board of directors, 2020 has been a tough year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to the decline in consumption as PV Gas was the gas supplier for electrical and industrial production.

Amid the difficulties, PV Gas has managed to keep its system operating efficiently, producing a total of 8.87 billion cubic metres of dry gas, 1.91 million tonnes of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), and 58,200 tonnes of condensate gas.

In Viet Nam, PV Gas is the main supplier to produce 20 per cent of total power and 70 per cent of fertiliser, and meet 62 per cent of the country’s LPG output.

The company this month officially operated the Nam Con Son 2 gas project and carried out financial settlements for other projects with a total disbursement of VND6.84 trillion.

Foreign investor bids for more REE stake

Platinum Victory Pte Ltd has bid for more than 16 million shares at Refrigeration Electrical Engineering Corporation (REE) in one month from Thursday.

The transactions will take place between December 24 and January 22, 2021. Platinum Victory holds more than 92.35 million shares at REE, equal to 29.7 per cent of all voting shares.

If the deal is done, the fund will raise its stake to 108.5 million shares or 34.99 per cent stake.

Platinum Victory had previously made offers to REE shareholders but the deals were called off because of the market condition and small package of shares bid by the fund.

REE shares, listed on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange as REE, gained 1.1 per cent to VND47,100 apiece on Monday. The shares have gained nearly 48.6 per cent since late July.

In January-September, REE earned nearly VND4 trillion worth of total net revenue, up 11.5 per cent on-year.

The company logged a post-tax profit of VND1.05 trillion in the nine-month period, down 15.5 per cent year-on-year and 35 per cent lower than the full-year target. 

Dong Nai IPs see high rate of occupancy

The southern industrial hub of Dong Nai has formed 32 industrial parks (IP) with a total area of more than 10,222ha, 31 of which are operational with the occupancy reaching 81.93 per cent, according to the Dong Nai IP Management Board.

Since the beginning of this year, 64.94ha of the local IPs have been rented, surpassing the target of 60ha, mostly in Giang Dien, An Phuoc, Loc An, Binh Son, Nhon Trach 6 and Dau Giay IPs.

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, many sectors have faced difficulties, forcing them to reduce production scale and investment.

More than US$18 million has been invested in infrastructure systems in the IPs, raising total investment in the system to nearly $674 million.

Due to limited industrial land for lease, the board will prioritise projects that have a large investment, high technology and are environmentally friendly.

Under planning for IP development in 2020, Dong Nai will have 35 IPs covering 11,748ha.

Following Dong Nai’s request, the PM has agreed to increase the IP area in the province to 2020 to 6,50ha.

Vietnamese, Malaysian enterprises boost co-operation

The Viet Nam Malaysia Business Association (VMBIZ) and Malaysia’s Blue Ocean Capital Group Berhad (BOCGB) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on Sunday to bolster collaboration and exchange between enterprises of both nations.

The two sides agreed to create a favourable business co-operation climate for corporations of the two countries, help them to find potential partners, and mobilise resources for investment projects.

They also reached consensus on providing members with market and project information, as well as updates on related policies so they can seize business opportunities not only in Viet Nam and Malaysia but also in the region and the world.

The two sides want to become a bridge to enhance ties between non-governmental organisations in Viet Nam and Malaysia and promote integration activities with a view to contributing to Viet Nam-Malaysia relations.

On the occasion, Vietnamese Ambassador to Malaysia Tran Viet Thai said Viet Nam treasures relations with Malaysia, and wishes to enhance its partnership with the nation, with economy-trade-investment an important pillar.

Apart from being a favourite destination of large corporations like Apple and Samsung, Viet Nam is a market with a population of nearly 100 million people, he said, adding the VNBIZ and BOCGB should concretise their MoU with specific business and investment projects.

After the signing ceremony, several BOCGB members unveiled their plan to enter the Vietnamese market and pave the way for Vietnamese goods to enter Malaysia and many other Muslim markets.

The VMBIZ, established in 2018, has conducted a wide range of activities to link Vietnamese and Malaysian firms. During the pandemic, the association has worked with the Vietnamese trade office in Malaysia to organise many online conferences on enhancing Vietnamese exports to Malaysia.

Additionally, the association has aided the activities organised by the Vietnamese people community in the host nation and supported citizens who were battered by floods in Viet Nam. 

New investment and enterprise laws to boost business from next year

The new Law on Investment 2020 and Law on Enterprises 2020 are expected to ease some of the prolonged difficulties of businesses in Vietnam.

At the conference titled "Law on Enterprises 2020 and Law on Investment 2020: What should businesses do?” held December 18, vice chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry Hoang Quang Phong said that as COVID-19 has kept hampering the local economy, the National Assembly approved the Law on Investment 2020 and Law on Enterprises 2020 that will take effect from January 5, 2021.

“The act is meaningful to businesses in Vietnam because the overlapping content s between the previous iterations of the Law on Investment and the Law on Enterprises have been holding them up,” said Phong. “The adjustment aims to solve many of their problems.”

The Law on Investment 2020, in particular, added plenty of new conditional business lines such as water supply. Moreover, the law also supplemented the list of prohibited business sectors like firework business, loan shark business, among others.

The Law on Enterprises 2020 also added the regulation that allows offering stocks and bonds to less than 100 investors, including professional and unprofessional securities investors. Moreover, the law does not allow to put stocks and bonds on trade on mass media.

“Vietnam has built a healthy investment climate by fulfilling the demand of local people, businesses, and also reviewing the best standards for management in the world to apply to the country,” said Tran Huu Huynh, chairman of the Vietnam International Arbitration Centre.

Raft of developments far behind schedule

The approval of the proposed merger of districts 2, 9, and Thu Duc in Ho Chi Minh City is hoped to open doors for local economic growth, in the real estate sector in particular. However, weaknesses in infrastructure and long-delayed property projects remain the biggest obstacles to success. 

Tran Quang Lam, director of Ho Chi Minh City Department of Transport, said that the future Thu Duc City would demand about VND300 trillion ($13 billion) to upgrade transport infrastructure. Of this, roads are forecast to occupy about VND135 trillion ($5.87 billion), railways and buses will need more than VND140 trillion ($6.08 billion), and waterways will require about VND24 trillion ($1.04 billion).

In the 2021-2030 period, four big projects for the city will be carried out, including Ring Road No.2 from Phu Huu Bridge to Pham Van Dong street, and An Phu intersection. Moreover, some public-private partnership schemes related to the city will be soon carried out such as the Ho Chi Minh City-Thu Dau Mot-Chon Thanh superhighway, Ring Road No.3, and National Highway No.13.

Nevertheless, many of these same ventures are already behind schedule. Even National Highway No.13, which initially had an extension approved exactly 20 years ago, has seen no actual expansion work carried out since. Ring roads are also in the quagmire. The area in question consists of three ring roads at a total proposed length of 356km. Of this, Ring Road No.2 is responsible for traffic divergence, and ring roads 3 and 4 take obligation for area links.

However, to date, Ring Road No.2 has been put into operation with only 55km, while 14km are currently under construction. Ring Road No.3 has only seen 16km of its proposed 90km being completed, and Ring Road No.4 is still under preparation.

A representative of Ho Chi Minh City Department of Transport said that the first and the second phases of Ring Road No.2 have yet to be approved in terms of investment direction.

Infrastructure congestion in Thu Duc also occurs – particularly, the relocation of the Truong Tho Port complex is causing part of the inadequacy. In rush hours, the area is submerged in traffic jams with thousands of vehicles circulating daily, according to data provided by the Department of Transport.

“To resolve the breakdown, Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee has directed relocation of the port but the timeline to carry it out extends into 2022 because it depends on the investment progress of Long Binh Port,” said Bui Hoa An, deputy director at the department.

With prominent advantages in position and development policies, a raft of major real estate developers like Vingroup, Novaland, Dai Quang Minh, Hung Thinh, and Tien Phuoc have flocked to the eastern part of Ho Chi Minh City for project deployment.

Along with this, projects have sprung up along National Highway No.13 in the southern province of Binh Duong like Opal Skyline and Opal Central Park.

Meanwhile the prices of housing projects in the east of Ho Chi Minh City fetches from VND40-180 million ($1,750-$7,800) per square metre, while that of land plot projects ranges from VND40-200 million ($1,750-$8,700) per sq.m. Completed houses cost at least VND9 billion ($391,300) per unit, even skyrocketing to VND100 billion ($4.34 million) per villa.

In Binh Duong, some projects now in the development pipeline in Thuan An city are expected to witness 40-60 per cent price jump compared to a year ago. Most projects along National Highway No.13 have prices hovering around VND30-45 million ($1,300-$2,000) per sq.m and could increase further once the project on upgrading the highway gets underway.

According to Ngo Quang Phuc, CEO of Phu Dong Group, National Highway No.13’s expansion not only helps boost real estate prices, but is also fuelling economic exchanges between Ho Chi Minh City and Binh Duong. “Once travel between both locations is facilitated, more people would move to the city’s satellite areas, helping to heat up the real estate market there,” Phuc insisted.

For the future, Thu Duc City to meet the expectations of both Ho Chi Minh City’s leaders and people, architect and planning expert Ngo Viet Nam Son stressed the importance of strong planning work for the area. “Sustainable development and environmental factors must be put at top priority to stop traffic overload or flooding. Only then will people find Thu Duc to be a truly liveable city,” Son said.

Son also underlined the need to have in place regional connectivity not only with areas in the proposed new Thu Duc City, but also with other neighbourhoods. “Thu Duc City shall be the core zone linking Long Thanh International Airport in Dong Nai, Cai Mep Port in Ba Ria-Vung Tau, and Binh Duong. This will help facilitate transport significantly,” Son explained.

“Meanwhile, people can save on their living costs when they work in Ho Chi Minh City, but settle for a life in Long Thanh or Binh Duong where the housing price is much lower than that of Ho Chi Minh City.”

Banks post rosy consumer lending performance by year-end despite COVID-19 threat

Along with loosened credit growth, a raft of banks have rolled out lucrative lending programmes to fuel consumption demand for the end of the year. 

Compared to the first half this year, many banks have seen their credit volume triple or quadruple in recent months.

For instance, Ho Chi Minh City-based commercial lender HDBank’s credit has expanded by more than 11 per cent in the first 11 months of this year. Meanwhile, Vietcombank – the largest bank in the system – has reported strong growth momentum in recent months after a setback in the early months of the year.

According to Vietcombank chairman Nghiem Xuan Thanh, by the end of November, the bank posted 10 per cent credit growth and was recently authorised by the central bank (SBV) to expand its credit by 14 per cent.

“Our bank’s full-year credit growth might reach 13-14 per cent this year,” Thanh said.

The financial statements of listed banks show that the key enabler to drive banks’ credit in the first nine months of this year was corporate credit.

Not only Vietcombank, many banks in the system like TPBank, VPBank, or VIB have thus far seen credit expand by more than 20 per cent.

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic being contained and the economy gradually rebounding are deemed as the key factors fuelling demand for capital for both firms and people.

In addition, Vietcombank's chairman unveiled that efforts to restructure customer segments and diversify lending portfolio have also contributed to boosting their credit growth.

The SBV's recent statistics show that the credit of the entire banking sector has expanded by 1.75 per cent in November 2020 alone, which was almost double the average monthly credit growth in the early months of the year.

If this upbeat growth is maintained, the sector’s credit expansion could surpass 10 per cent for the full-year.

The financial statements of listed banks show that the key enabler to drive banks’ credit in the first nine months of this year was corporate credit.

Accordingly, in the last two months, consumer loans and lending revenue from small- and medium-sized firms saw a sharp growth and became a new growth stimulator.

At Hanoi-based commercial lender Vietnam Maritime Bank (MSB), its profit in the last two months equalled to that in the entire third quarter which mainly came from lending activities.

ABBank to go public on UPCoM

Ho Chi Minh City-based privately-held lender ABBank is going to file for an initial public offering on the UPCoM. 

ABBank has just received certifications of registered securities and ticker from the Vietnam Securities Depository for its upcoming initial public offering (IPO) on UPCoM.

Accordingly, ABBank will have the ticker code ABB and will list around 571 million shares, equivalent to a market cap of VND5.713 billion ($248.4 million).

 

According to its financial statements from the third quarter of 2020, the bank currently has a total asset value of VND93.176 trillion ($4.05 billion), down more than 9 per cent compared to the beginning of the year. Customer loans increased by 3.8 per cent since the beginning of the year while customer deposits increased by 3.9 per cent.

In the first nine months of this year, ABBank recorded a pre-tax profit of around VND946 billion ($41.13 million), up 6.3 per cent over the same period last year.

At the end of September, ABBank appointed Le Hai as general director. Peviously, Hai was deputy general director since April 2020. Since 2018, the bank has had five CEOs, namely Cu Anh Tuan, Nguyen Manh Quan, Duong Thi Mai Hoa, Pham Duy Hieu, and now Le Hai.

Amid COVID-19, Vietnam's brand value skyrockets 29 per cent to $319 billion

According to Brand Finance, the leading independent branded business valuation and strategy consultancy, top 100 nation brands have lost $13.1 trillion of brand value in 2020 as they negotiate the devasting COVID-19 pandemic landscape. However, Vietnam defies the global trend, up 29 per cent. 

Brand Finance stated that Vietnam is the fastest-growing nation brand in this year’s ranking, its brand value skyrocketing by 29 per cent to $319 billion.

“Emerging as a Southeast Asian haven for manufacturing, Vietnam defies the global trend, with its brand value up an impressive 29 per cent,” Brand Finance noted.

Vietnam, which has recorded staggeringly low COVID-19 cases and deaths, has emerged as one of the top locations within the Southeast Asian region for manufacturing and has become an increasingly attractive destination for investors – particularly from the US – that are looking to relocate their China operations following the fallout from the US-China trade war. Recent trade deals with the EU are further supporting the growth of the nation.

On the other hand, the 100 most valuable nation brands in the world have suffered monumental losses to their brand value because of the COVID-19 pandemic, amounting to $13.1 trillion.

2020 has put the nations of the world to the test – from the economic impacts of COVID-19 on nations’ GDP forecasts, inflation rates, and general economic uncertainty, to diminished long-term prospects. Brand Finance estimates that the total brand value of the top 100 nation brands dropped from $98.0 trillion in 2019 to $84.9 trillion in 2020, with almost every nation feeling a significant impact of the health crisis on their respective economies.

“The downward trend of nearly all the world’s most valuable nation brands is unsurprising, given the year we are currently experiencing. With COVID-19 contributing to the recent rise of protectionism, we may see a reversal of the economic growth brought about by globalisation. Having said that, optimism has certainly prevailed, with forecasts looking less dire than initially predicted, and with the announcement of a working vaccine beginning to be rolled out, the future is certainly looking brighter,” said David Haigh, CEO of Brand Finance.

China continues to close the gap with long-standing leader US, with the two brand values reaching $18.8 trillion and $23.7 trillion.

The 10 most valuable nation brands contracted by 14 per cent on average. Japan claimed the third position as it emerges relatively unscathed from pandemic.

Ireland is the only nation brand in the top 20 to record brand value growth, up 11 per cent to $670 billion, a testament to its resilient economy bolstered by strong exports and consumer spending.

In contrast, Argentina was the fastest falling nation brand, its brand value dropping 57 per cent, as COVID-19 cases passed the 1 million mark.

Brand Finance’s Global Soft Power Index data has been included in the Brand Strength Index (BSI) for the first time, meaning original research on global as well as domestic perceptions of nation brands is now part of Brand Finance's evaluation methodology.

A nation admired for its stable leadership, Germany is the world’s strongest nation brand with a BSI score of 84.9 out of 100.

61 enterprises receive National Quality Award 2020

The Prime Minister decided to present the golden prize of the Vietnam National Quality Awards 2020 to 21 enterprises and the Vietnam National Quality Awards 2020 to 40 enterprises.

Eleven of the 21 enterprises that won the golden prize of the Vietnam National Quality Awards 2020 are big production businesses, namely Esquel Garment Manufacturing (Vietnam) Co.,Ltd; Nestlé Vietnam Company Limited; Sa Giang Import Export Corporation; Son Ha International JSC; Thanh Cong Group Joint Stock Company; Tien Phong Plastic Joint Stock Company; Khanh Hoa Salanganes Nest Soft Drink Joint Stock Company; Hoa Sen Nghe An One Member Limited Liability Company; Vietnam Paper Corporation; Tay Ninh Rubber Joint Stock Company; and Long Hau Ceramics Joint Stock Company.

The seven others are small and medium-sized production firms.

One big service company and two small and medium-sized service companies were presented the golden prize of the Vietnam National Quality Awards 2020.

Among the 40 enterprises receiving the Vietnam National Quality Awards 2020, there are ten big production businesses; 23 small and medium-sized enterprises; one large service enterprise; and six small and medium-sized service enterprises.

The annual award aims to honour businesses with outstanding performance in boosting the quality and competitiveness of their products and services during regional and global integration.

Attending the Vietnam National Quality Awards helps enterprises to learn, evaluate and improve comprehensively management activities, and product quality.

This is also a good opportunity for award-winning enterprises to promote their brands and contribute to improving their competitiveness in the period of international economic integration.

Sixty-one enterprises honoured with Vietnam National Quality Awards 2020

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has decided to present the Vietnam National Quality Awards 2020 to 61 enterprises, with 21 receiving the golden prize.

Among the 21 businesses honoured with the golden prize, 18 are production enterprises and three operate in services.

Meanwhile, the remaining 40 award winners include 33 production enterprises, and 7 service companies.

The Vietnam National Quality Awards are the Prime Minister’s annual recognition of organisations and enterprises with remarkable quality achievements in production, business activities and services, thus helping to promote the standing of Vietnamese products and services in the domestic and foreign markets.

The awards, first presented in 1996, were initiated by the Directorate for Standards, Metrology and Quality under the Ministry of Science and Technology./.

Thai cabinet approves inflation target of 1-3 percent for 2021

Thailand’s cabinet on December 22 approved the inflation target range of 1-3 percent for 2021 as set by the Finance Ministry and the Bank of Thailand’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC).

Spokesperson of the Government Anucha Burapachaisri said the target is appropriate for the current situation and support the economy, adding it is flexible and has already factored in the coronavirus outbreak.

The MPC priorities supporting economic recovery, together with maintaining price stability and a healthy financial system.

The same day, the cabinet acknowledged the medium-term fiscal policy framework for 2022-25 that targets economic growth of 2.7-4.2 percent.

According to Anucha, under the medium-term framework, the government aims for 3-4 percent growth in 2022, 2.7-3.7 percent in 2023, 2.9-3.9 percent in 2024 and 3.2-4.2 percent in 2025.

Net revenue between 2022-25 is planned at 2.4 trillion THB (79.4 billion USD), 2.49 trillion THB, 2.61 THB and 2.75 THB, respectively, based on the assumption the government can collect value-added tax from overseas electronic service providers, additional fees from the frequency concession and more revenue from petroleum concessions.

Anucha said the government will still operate at a deficit, with expenditure estimated at 3.1 trillion THB in 2022, 3.2 trillion THB in 2023, 3.31 trillion THB in 2024 and 3.42 trillion THB in 2025.

The deficit is estimated at 700 billion THB for 2022, up to 710 billion THB in 2023, but down to 690.5 billion THB in 2024 and 669.50 billion THB in 2025.

As of Sept 30, the country's public debt amounted to 7.84 trillion THB, or 49.3 percent of GDP, up from 41.1 percent year-on-year. The rate remains under the 60 percent limit set for the country.

According to Anucha, the public debt ratio is projected to swell to 9.08 trillion THB in 2021 or 56 percent to GDP; 9.73 trillion THB in 2022 or 57.6 percent, and 10.40 trillion THB or 58.6 percent in 2023.

The public debt to GDP is projected to reach 10.97 trillion THB or 59 percent in 2024 and amount to 11.46 trillion THB in 2025 or 58.7 percent.

Anucha said higher public debt stems largely from the government borrowing to rehabilitate the economy and finance infrastructure projects./.

Moody upgrades Agribank’s long-term foreign-currency deposit rating

Credit rating agency Moody's recently announced its rating upgrade on Agribank's long-term foreign-currency deposit rating from B1 to Ba3.

Agribank has been assigned Ba3 for issuer rating and ratings for long-term domestic and foreign currency deposits, equivalent to Vietnam's national ratings. The outlook for Agribank's ratings of issuer and long-term deposits is negative, equivalent to the negative outlook for Vietnam's national rating.

According to Moody's assessments, Agribank has made remarkable progress in handling legacy problem assets in recent years, contributing to improving asset quality stability.

Its capital mobilisation and liquidity are at good level, mainly from individual customers and less affected by market fluctuations.

Agribank has the advantage of having the largest branch network in Vietnam and the strong support from the Government due to its policy role as a provider of financial services in rural Vietnam, with a special mission in supporting and developing the agricultural and rural sector in Vietnam.

As of June 30, Agribank is the largest bank in Vietnam in terms of deposits and the second largest in terms of assets, with the market share of deposits and assets in Vietnam’s banking system of 14 percent and 12 percent, respectively.

Agribank is also the bank with the largest branch network in Vietnam with 939 branches, 1,289 transaction offices, 68 mobile transaction points by specialised cars, 3,334 ATMs, 116 CDMs and 25,383 POS nationwide.

Agribank has total assets of over 1.46 quadrillion VND, capital resources of over 1.35 quadrillion VND, and total outstanding loans and investments of over 1.33 quadrillion VND, in which loans to the economy reached 1.135 quadrillion VND.

Agribank's credit capital accounts for a large proportion of the total outstanding loans of nearly 2 quadrillion VND in the agricultural and rural sectors in Vietnam and accounts for over 50 percent of the market share of outstanding loans in this sector of the entire banking industry, making an important contribution to the development of Vietnam's agriculture in particular and the country's economy in general.

To date, the proportion of agricultural and rural loans of Agribank accounts for nearly 70 percent of the total outstanding loans and over 50 percent of agricultural and rural credit market share in Vietnam.

In 2020, Agribank has been honoured with many prestigious awards: Top 10 prestigious Vietnamese commercial banks, Vietnam National Brand, Outstanding bank for high-tech agricultural investment and Outstanding bank for the community 2020, among others.

Agribank has been and will continue to affirm the brand of a Financial Institution playing a key role in rural financial markets in Vietnam./.

Outstanding projects in student start-up contest recognised

Prominent start-up projects from students were honoured at the final of a contest held on December 21 and 22 as part of the 2020 National Startup Day for Students, or SV.Startup.

A first prize of 60 million VND (2,580 USD) in cash was presented to a project from the HCM City University of Education on turning agricultural waste into wrapping paper. The project will also receive a support package totalling 115 million VND and a chance to vie for an additional 40,000 USD in investment.

Meanwhile, the Central Highlands province of Dak Lak’s Department of Education and Training bagged 30 million VND in cash for a project on producing organic drinking straws.

According to the organising board, 72 outstanding projects qualified for the final, many of which have already been rolled out and posted impressive revenue and profits.

At a workshop on the development of start-up clubs and training courses in secondary and high schools, held on December 22 within the framework of SV.Startup, participants discussed measures to bolster these clubs and build start-up ecosystems./.

Key border gate economic zones selected for development during 2021-2025

The Prime Minister has agreed to select eight key border gate economic zones to receive state funds for development in the 2021-2025 period.

They are Mong Cai, Dong Dang-Lang Son, Lao Cai, and Cao Bang border gate economic zones in the northern provinces of Quang Ninh, Lang Son, Lao Cai, and Cao Bang, respectively; the Cau Treo international border gate economic zone in the central province of Ha Tinh and the Lao Bao special economic-trade zone in the central province of Quang Tri; the Moc Bai border gate economic zone in the southern province of Tay Ninh, and the Mekong Delta province of An Giang’s border gate economic zone.

The PM has assigned the Ministry of Planning and Investment to direct and guide localities to mobilise other legal capital sources to invest in the construction of technical and social infrastructure systems serving the sustainable development of the zones.

The People's Committees of provinces and centrally-run cities, meanwhile, have been tasked with preparing and assessing dossiers of investment projects on developing border gate zone infrastructure in accordance with objectives, principles, and quotas of the state budget allocation for 2021 – 2025.

Localities where the eight key zones are located have been ordered to arrange the state capital for their development throughout the period. 

Turkey's Hayat Kimya invests $250 million to produce FMCG products in Binh Phuoc

Hayat Kimya, a leading Turkish company in the FMCG industry, has made a $250 million investment in the southern province of Binh Phuoc.

Speaking at the Binh Phuoc Investment Promotion Conference 2020 today (December 23), Ugur Hasan Tahsin, vice president, Asia of Hayat Kimya said that the company has injected $250 million to develop a factory in Becamex-Binh Phuoc industrial and urban complex. Around 40 per cent of the factory’s output is expected to be exported to overseas markets like Thailand and Malaysia.

“We have selected Vietnam as our manufacturing base in the region. From there, we will penetrate deeper into the ASEAN market,” he said. He added that the move also aims to draw Turkish investors into Vietnam. Hayat is on track to complete the investment in Binh Phuoc, which will help persuade other investors about the favourable investment conditions in the province.

Hayat Kimya operates in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) industry since 1987, manufactures hygiene, tissues, and home care products, with well-established brands such as Bingo (detergents and home cleaning), Molfix (baby diapers), Molped (feminine care), Papia, Familia, and Focus (cleansing tissue), as well as Joly and Evony (adult diaper).

Hayat Kimya has grown rapidly and has become a trendsetter and the world's fifth-largest branded baby diaper manufacturer with a capacity of 8.6 billion units per year, as well as the largest tissue manufacturer of the Middle East, Eastern Europe, and Africa (490,000 tonnes a year).

Binh Phuoc Province grant licenses to 46 projects worth US$2 billion

The southern province of Binh Phuoc granted investment licenses to 46 projects, worth a total of US$2 billion, at an investment promotion conference held on December 23.

The figure is twice that recorded at a similar event in 2018 and includes US$823 million in manufacturing, US$763 million in renewable energy, US$214 million in agriculture and US$200 million in commerce, services and industrial infrastructure.

According to Binh Phuoc Chairman Tran Tue Hien, the province currently has 13 industrial parks covering 4,686 hectares in total, with eight having completed their infrastructure and commenced operation.

In 2020 Binh Phuoc’s export revenue is expected to reach US$2.84 billion, up 7.33% from last year.

Speaking at the conference, Deputy Prime Minister spoke highly of the province’s efforts to improve the business environment and asked provincial leaders to seize on the opportunity to welcome large investors.

He suggested that the province should give priority to developing transport infrastructure, creating breakthroughs in administrative reform and making the local business climate friendly and attractive to investors.

The Deputy PM also asked investors to fulfil their commitments on disbursement, comply with environmental protection regulations and be socially responsible.

On the same day, Deputy PM Truong Hoa Binh attended the inauguration ceremony of the CPV Food manufacturing complex at Becamex Binh Phuoc Industrial Park.

Vietnam Airlines to hold extraordinary meeting to seek shareholders’ loans

National flag carrier Vietnam Airlines will hold an extraordinary shareholder meeting on December 29 to call on its shareholders to offer preferential loans so that the airlines can accelerate its recovery.

Shareholders of the air carrier comprise the Government, which owns over 86% of the airline; Japanese aviation company ANA Holdings, with 8.7%, and other organizations and individuals, the local media reported.

At the meeting, Vietnam Airlines will also seek the shareholders’ approval to issue more shares to existing stakeholders to increase its charter capital, elect new members for the firm’s director board and report its business performance in 2020.

In the January-September period of this year, Vietnam Airlines reported a loss of VND10.75 trillion.

To overcome the difficulties caused by Covid-19, the air carrier proposed a credit package worth VND12 trillion.

In addition, it proposed the Government provide a guarantee for its issuance of 10-year bonds valued at VND10 trillion to develop its fleet in the 2021-2025 period.

Late last month, the National Assembly approved the Government’s proposals to eliminate the difficulties facing Vietnam Airlines. Specifically, the lawmaking body asked the State Bank of Vietnam to direct credit institutions to offer low-interest loans to Vietnam Airlines.

Moreover, the airline was allowed to issue shares to its existing shareholders to raise its charter capital. The Government will buy the shares through the State Capital Investment Corporation.

As for the election of new board members, at the Vietnam Airlines’ shareholder meeting on August 20, the shareholders agreed to relieve Pham Ngoc Minh, Koji Shibata and Nguyen Xuan Minh from the board and elect Dang Ngoc Hoa as chairman of the board and Le Hong Ha and Tomoji Ishii as new board members.

Eight border gate economic zones picked for investment

The prime minister has agreed to choose eight key border gate economic zones to develop in the 2021-2025 period using the State budget.

They are the Mong Cai, Dong Dang-Lang Son, Lao Cai and Cao Bang border gate economic zones in the northern provinces of Quang Ninh, Lang Son, Lao Cai and Cao Bang, respectively; the Cau Treo International Border Gate Economic Zone in the central province of Ha Tinh and the Lao Bao Special Economic-Commercial Zone in the central province of Quang Tri; the Moc Bai Border Gate Economic Zone in the southern province of Tay Ninh and the An Giang Border Gate Economic Zone in the Mekong Delta province of the same name.

The Government leader asked the Ministry of Planning and Investment to direct and guide localities to mobilize other legal capital sources to invest in the construction of technical and social infrastructure systems serving the sustainable development of the border gate economic zones, Vietnamplus news site reported.

The People's Committees of provinces and cities must prepare and assess the dossiers of projects to develop infrastructure for the border gate economic zones in line with the objectives, principles, criteria and quotas of the State budget allocation for the 2021-2025 period.

The relevant agencies were told to improve their ability to manage the State capital so that the capital would be used effectively.

Meanwhile, localities where the eight key border gate economic zones are located must arrange State capital for their development throughout the period in line with the relevant regulations.

Dong Nai fines firm for illegal constructions of some 500 houses

The government of Dong Nai Province on December 22 imposed an administrative fine on LDG Investment JSC for illegally constructing some 500 houses covering a total area of over 181,140 square meters at the Tan Thinh residential area project in Trang Bom District.

The firm, headquartered in Giang Dien Commune of Trang Bom District, has been using the land for construction, while having yet to complete land handover and lease procedures in line with prevailing regulations.

Of the total area, some 127,220 square meters is farmland as well as special-use, protective and production forest land, Thanh Nien Online reported.

Apart from being slapped with an administrative fine of VND540 million, LDG Investment JSC was asked to complete the land handover and lease procedures and submit the proceeds from the illegal construction of some VND5.8 billion to the local budget within 60 days.

The investment location of the Tan Thinh residential area project was approved by the Dong Nai government in September 2016, while the 1/500 detailed plan of the project covering 18.22 hectares was passed in May 2018.

Despite no licenses being issued to the firm for the construction, LDG Investment JSC has completed 60% of the technical infrastructure system and basically built 488 houses.

Source: VNA/VNN/VNS/SGGP/VOV/NDO/Dtinews/SGT/VIR  

 
 

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