BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES APRIL 26

Discount programmes launched by supermarkets after end of lockdown

BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES APRIL 26

Vegetable prices are going up in HCM City as consumption rose rapidly after social distancing was lifted.

Prices of some popular vegetables such as bitter melon, cucumber, carrot, broccoli, choysum, cucumber and squash are increasing due to adverse weather and lower supply because of the Covid-19 situation.

At markets, the price of bitter melon, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini is VND30,000 to VND35,000 (US$1.3-1.5), up by 10 to 20 percent compared to the previous few days.

The prices of all kinds of cabbage ranged from VND27,000 to VND30,000 ($1.1-1.3) per kg, up 5 to 10 percent compared to the previous days, and is expected to continue to increase.

Le Thanh Nhan, a director of an agricultural production cooperative in HCM City, said that the price of vegetables and fruits would continue to increase in the coming time due to farmers reducing production and to cost increases because of saltwater intrusion in rivers in Mekong Delta provinces such as Dong Thap, Ben Tre and Tien Giang.

In Tien Giang, saltwater intrusion has forced farmers to buy water from other provinces. Fearing that this would push up costs of cultivation of vegetables and cause losses, farmers stopped planting, experts said.

The situation is similar in other provinces such as An Giang and Long An, where vegetable output has fallen by 70 per cent.

Business activities and catering services will gradually recover, but supply is not ready, which will lead to shortages and temporary price increases for a short period, according to Nhan.

In face of the situation, Co.opmart supermarket systems, Co.opXtra hypermarkets, and Co.op Food stores are running promotions to May 5. They will offer 15 to 20 per cent discount for many kinds of vegetables and fruits and create favorable conditions for customers shopping at stores or via phone and Zalo and Viber apps.

Meanwhile, fashion, accessories, household and food shops at Vincom shopping malls in HCM City are offering up to 50 per cent discount programmes to stimulate consumption.

Specifically, a series of big brands such as GAP, Super Dry, CC Double O, Banana Republic, Jelly Bunny, OVS, Cotton: On, Giordano, Canifa, Boo, John Henry, Furla, Geox, LYN, Parfois, Adidas, Lining, Shooz and Vascara are offering many promotions with 30-50 per cent discount. Buy 1-get 1 free is being offered by Robins Department Store.

Enterprises urged to ‘put people first’ in HR management plans

Enterprises should “put people first” in their human resource plans as the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing companies to scale down business or even close for good, experts said at an online seminar on HR management held on Friday in HCM City.

Pham Van Viet, chairman of Viet Thang Jean Co Ltd, said the garment and textile industry, which employs a large labour force, had been hit hard by the pandemic. Many companies said their US and EU partners had stopped receiving goods for three weeks to one month.

Viet said that most workers in the industry would not be able to switch to other jobs in the current economic environment.

Maintaining employment and income for workers was not only a vital business issue but had a great impact on society, he added.

“If enterprises let workers go, where will hundreds of thousands of workers go? What will businesses do to recruit workers after the pandemic is contained? Such questions have not been answered,” he said.

Viet noted that the US and the EU were two of the most important textile export markets for Viet Nam. Half of all textile exports from HCM City went to the US, while the EU accounted for 15-18 per cent of annual exports.

“Partners in these markets have suspended receiving goods, meaning that nearly two-thirds of the market of our textiles and garments has reduced,” Viet added.

The most important issue for textile enterprises, however, is not the delivery of orders but the protection of workers, according to Viet.

To retain workers, about 50 per cent of the textile and apparel enterprises in the association have shifted to making face masks and personal protective equipment.

Tieu Yen Trinh, CEO of Talentnet, an HR consulting firm, said business disruptions like the coronavirus had affected HR management activities of businesses.

According to a recent survey conducted by Talentnet, only 12 per cent of businesses said they recorded growth in the first quarter compared to the same period last year.

“What businesses are most concerned about is how to generate enough revenue to survive and keep their employees,” Trinh said.

“Building human resource plans plays a crucial role. If a business suffers losses, operating costs should be cut first,” she said.

"For example, if the loss is 70 per cent or more, a company’s benefits can be cut," she said. "When the losses are high, the company must have flexible policies on wages, benefits and jobs for workers."

“The last solution is to temporarily lay off workers for a few months without pay.”

Wage reduction policies should be transparent and fair, starting with the salary cuts of the company leadership, Trinh noted.

In the worst scenario, shutting down a business, companies must also have budgets to deal with any related costs, she noted.

Lawyer Tran Ngoc Thich noted that employees were concerned about their physical safety as well as potential disruptions to their own work, and wanted to know how their company would manage operations.

If enterprises could not continue business, they should have clear guidelines for employees when they are told to stop working, he said.

The Government has issued Resolution 42 on measures to support people facing difficulties due to the Covid-19 pandemic, including financial support for workers, with VND1.8 million per person per month (but not exceeding three months).

But experts have said the support is not enough for workers to survive.

HR managers would play a major role in making employee management decisions as the outbreak remained a major disruption that could affect global operations for months, experts said.

It was important to plan for absenteeism until the pandemic is contained and business is back to normal, they added.

The online seminar, organised by The Saigon Times Online newspaper, was attended by lawyers, members of the business community, and various agencies. 

G-bond yield rates forecast to rise on Government's increased demand for cash

Bond yield rates are forecast to increase in the short term as the Government looks at ways to support the socio-economic recovery once the coronavirus crisis abates.

The State Treasury of Vietnam this week raised a total of nearly VND1.3 trillion (US$55.3 million) from G-bonds.

A total of VND3.5 trillion was offered for sale with terms of 10, 15 and 20 years.

The bonds were sold at annual interest rates of 2.38 per cent (10 year), 2.73 per cent (15 year), and 3.1 per cent (20 year).

The rates increased by 0.1 percentage point each from the previous week.

G-bond interest rates for all terms have gained slightly since the beginning of March.

Interest rates were expected to keep growing as the Government needed more money to finance its socio-economic development activities and support businesses and people hit by the disease, according to MB Securities Co (MBS).

“The demand for money will push the Government to raise bond yield rates to attract more investors,” MBS said in a report. “If the rates are not improved, the ratio of sold-out bids will remain low.”

G-bond interest rates for 10-year and 15-year bonds hit record lows of 2.18 per cent and 2.51 per cent per annum in March. The ratio of sold bonds in March was equal to only 6 per cent of the offered amount.

The State Treasury has raised a total of VND34.8 trillion from G-bonds since the beginning of the year, and expects a total of VND300 trillion to be sold by year-end.

In the first three months, a total of nearly VND33 trillion was raised, equal to 60 per cent of the plan. The rate was lower than the 94.5 per cent recorded in the first quarter of 2019 and the 82.2 per cent posted in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Nguyen Duc Hung Linh, director of Retail Research and Investment Advisory, Retail Brokerage at SSI Securities Corp, said the interest rates for all terms had declined too much and the issuer was focused mainly on long-term bonds such as 20-year and 30-year terms.

“The terms are too long for commercial banks, which are major buyers,” Linh said.

G-bonds would remain attractive to investors, but in the short term the development of COVID-19 and its impacts on global socio-economic conditions were the biggest variables, Linh said.

“Such variables will have severe effects on the banking-financial system, cash liquidity and foreign exchange rates,” he said.

COVID-19 would reach its peak in the second quarter and economic activities would remain stagnant, Linh forecast.

“That would force the Government to look for funding resources from the State budget and G-bonds, which will curb cash liquidity in the banking system and hike bond rates.” 

G-bond yield rates forecast to rise on Government's increased demand for cash

Bond yield rates are forecast to increase in the short term as the Government looks at ways to support the socio-economic recovery once the coronavirus crisis abates.

The State Treasury of Vietnam this week raised a total of nearly VND1.3 trillion (US$55.3 million) from G-bonds.

A total of VND3.5 trillion was offered for sale with terms of 10, 15 and 20 years.

The bonds were sold at annual interest rates of 2.38 per cent (10 year), 2.73 per cent (15 year), and 3.1 per cent (20 year).

The rates increased by 0.1 percentage point each from the previous week.

G-bond interest rates for all terms have gained slightly since the beginning of March.

Interest rates were expected to keep growing as the Government needed more money to finance its socio-economic development activities and support businesses and people hit by the disease, according to MB Securities Co (MBS).

“The demand for money will push the Government to raise bond yield rates to attract more investors,” MBS said in a report. “If the rates are not improved, the ratio of sold-out bids will remain low.”

G-bond interest rates for 10-year and 15-year bonds hit record lows of 2.18 per cent and 2.51 per cent per annum in March. The ratio of sold bonds in March was equal to only 6 per cent of the offered amount.

The State Treasury has raised a total of VND34.8 trillion from G-bonds since the beginning of the year, and expects a total of VND300 trillion to be sold by year-end.

In the first three months, a total of nearly VND33 trillion was raised, equal to 60 per cent of the plan. The rate was lower than the 94.5 per cent recorded in the first quarter of 2019 and the 82.2 per cent posted in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Nguyen Duc Hung Linh, director of Retail Research and Investment Advisory, Retail Brokerage at SSI Securities Corp, said the interest rates for all terms had declined too much and the issuer was focused mainly on long-term bonds such as 20-year and 30-year terms.

“The terms are too long for commercial banks, which are major buyers,” Linh said.

G-bonds would remain attractive to investors, but in the short term the development of COVID-19 and its impacts on global socio-economic conditions were the biggest variables, Linh said.

“Such variables will have severe effects on the banking-financial system, cash liquidity and foreign exchange rates,” he said.

COVID-19 would reach its peak in the second quarter and economic activities would remain stagnant, Linh forecast.

“That would force the Government to look for funding resources from the State budget and G-bonds, which will curb cash liquidity in the banking system and hike bond rates.”

Additional 38,000 tonnes of rice to be exported

Online customs declaration services will be made available for exports of additional 38,000 tonnes of rice at 0:00 am on April 26, according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs.

The volume is part of Vietnam’s 400,000-tonne-rice export quota for April.

Earlier this month, the government of Vietnam has limited the export rice volume to 800,000 tonnes for April and May as a measure to ensure sufficient domestic supplies amid high global demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This volume is reduced by 40 percent compared to that in April and May 2019. It is also 35.7 percent and 21.7 percent lower than the same period in 2018 and 2017, respectively.

Meanwhile, the national rice reserves will increase from 300,000 to 700,000 tonnes./.

Indonesia halts capital relocation to focus on COVID-19 combat

Indonesia's plan to invest in a mega project to relocate its capital city has been put on hold, as the country shifts focus to containing the COVID-19, Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati said.

The investment may resume next year, she noted.

Indonesian President Joko Widodo's 33-billion-USD project to relocate the capital of Southeast Asia's largest economy out of the main Java island to the island of Borneo has yet to be approved by the parliament.

However, the government had already allotted some funds for land acquisition this year.

The public-works ministry, which is responsible for the project, has reallocated most of its spending, including the portion allocated for infrastructure projects, for the COVID-19 outbreak response, Indrawati said in an online conference.

The ministry has shifted its budget to upgrade hospitals, including expenditure related to the new capital city, she added.

Jakarta, the current capital, is now home to 10 million people and is prone to floods and traffic gridlock as well as faces the risk of earthquakes.

Among other reasons, the East Kalimantan site was selected since it is a well-known part of the country that is least prone to natural disasters./.

Singapore’s manufacturing rebounds in March thanks to biomedical sector

Singapore's manufacturing output in March grew 16.5 percent over the same month last year, after contacting for four months, thanks to a surge in biomedical manufacturing, said the country’s Economic Development Board (EDB) on April 24.

Excluding biomedical manufacturing, however, factory output was unchanged, meaning the industry had not been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak last month.

The EDB cautioned that a more profound impact is likely to be seen from April onwards due to the implementation of the circuit breaker measures.

On a month-on-month basis, output increased 21.7 percent in March. Excluding biomedical manufacturing, output grew 2.5 percent, data showed.

The biomedical manufacturing posted the largest increase at 91.4 percent last month, compared to the same period in 2019.

Pharmaceuticals output increased 126.6 percent on the back of higher production of active pharmaceutical ingredients and biological products, while the medical technology segment rose 6.3 percent with higher export demand for medical devices.

Precision engineering also expanded at 21.2 percent in March compared to a year ago.

The cluster’s growth was largely attributed to the machinery and systems segment which grew 28.7 percent on account of higher production of semiconductor equipment, said EDB.

Transport engineering output rose by 7.6 percent, supported by higher levels of repair and maintenance activities from commercial airlines.

The marine and offshore engineering segment however fell 0.7 percent due to lower level of work done in offshore projects.

Chemicals output grew 0.8 percent year-on-year in March on the back of higher petroleum refining throughput.

Electronics output decreased 9.2 percent on a year-to-year-basis, with all segments within the cluster recording declines.

General manufacturing output dropped 7.9 percent with all segments recording output declines, including the miscellaneous industries and printing, as well as food, beverage and tobacco segments./.

Banks urged to further support COVID-19 affected customers

Governor of the State Bank of Viet Nam Le Minh Hung has called on commercial banks to urgently simplify lending procedures to help COVID-19-affected firms easily access preferential interest rate loans.

But he said banks must still meet lending standards to ensure the safety and stability of the financial and banking system.

Banks needed to determine that support for borrowers was their responsibility to the system and the economy, Hung said, emphasising the measures were effective for both the banking system and borrowers.

Despite appreciating initial efforts made and results, Hung asked banks to drastically put in place supporting measures.

He stressed that State-owned commercial banks must speed up the process of working with customers to solve problems.

“Banks must share difficulties at a maximum for borrowers both during and after the coronavirus pandemic,” Hung said.

“They should use revenue gained from reducing input costs to cut lending interest rates for affected firms and increasing provision for risky loans.”

Besides corporate customers, the Governor also asked banks to consider restructuring debts for individual customers.

The SBV’s Credit and Communications departments must report to him results of the process regularly, he said.

To support businesses during the coronavirus pandemic, banks have introduced credit packages worth VND285 trillion with low interest rates. However, many businesses claimed they could not access them and proposed that banks ease lending rules.

Nghiem Xuan Thanh, chairman of Vietcombank, said most companies that could not access the package are inefficiently operating their businesses. Banks would not ease lending standards as they must avoid risks, Thanh noted.

The package does not come from the State budget but from commercial banks. Some experts noted that it aims to offer loans with low interest rates to businesses during the pandemic but will not rescue inefficient businesses that are unable to pay their debts.

Tran Hoang Ngan, head of the HCMC Economic Development Institute, said "Banks are themselves businesses so they are always afraid of bad debts.

"If banks struggle with bad debts, the situation will worsen, similar to the 2008-09 financial crisis," he added.

Banks are not the only source of aid for businesses. Ngan said to save small- and medium-sized enterprises that find it hard to access the stimulus package, the Government should add more money to the credit guarantee fund.

It is estimated that some 23 per cent of outstanding loans belongs to COVID-19 affected corporations and individual customers who work in processing, manufacturing, transportation, accommodation, catering, services, education and training industries.

According to Nguyen Quoc Hung, director of the SBV’s Credit Department, in the current situation, it is forecast the bad debt ratio of the banking system will increase this year and negatively affect the country’s plans to deal with bad debts and recover poor-performing banks.

As directed by the Government and the SBV, banks have so far restructured debts worth VND62.83 trillion for 166,544 COVID-19 affected customers. The interest rate cut for 289,204 existing borrowers is estimated at some VND3.53 trillion.

Banks have also agreed new loans with preferential interest rates for 146,571 customers totalling VND511.23 trillion. 

Providers urged to lower banking service SMS charges

The Viet Nam Telecommunications Authority has urged telecom companies to lower charges for banking services via SMS for local banks so they can cut fees and promote cashless payments.

Earlier this month, the Viet Nam Banks Association proposed charges for banking services via SMS to be cut, making them equal to normal text message fees, or at least by 50 per cent.

The association said that the current SMS charges were too high, adding that it was necessary to lower them to encourage the use of cashless payments.

For example, MobiFone and VinaPhone were charging VND820 per SMS for financial transactions and VND500 for ads and customer care messages. Viettel’s fee was VND785 per SMS for financial transactions and VND500 for others.

In comparison, charges for SMS between individuals were around VND250-300 each.

To encourage cashless payments and prevent the spread of COVID-19, 44 out of 45 banks, which altogether held a market share of 99.7 per cent, reduced fees for online transactions. Some even cut their fees to zero, according to the association. 

COVID-19 woes to weigh on credit growth

Viet Nam’s credit growth is forecast to slow to only 8 per cent in 2020 from 13.7 per cent last year due to a sharp slowdown in economic activity amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to analysts from Fitch Solutions, weak economic activity would weigh heavily on credit demand, even with lower interest rates.

The State Bank of Viet Nam (SBV) reduced its policy interest rates on March 17, which took its refinance rate to 5 per cent from 6 per cent previously, and discount rate to 3.5 per cent from 4 per cent. The overnight lending rate in the inter-bank market was also cut to 6 per cent from 7 per cent.

“We maintain our view that the ample liquidity in the banking sector technically should not warrant further interest rate cuts, as the key problem lies in a lack of loan demand amid a weak economic outlook, and accordingly forecast the refinance and discount rates to be held at 5 per cent and 3.5 per cent, respectively, through 2020,” the analysts said.

 

However, with the global economy aggressively easing monetary policy, Fitch highlighted that risks to its monetary forecasts were towards further easing through both interest rates and other macroprudential measures as the central bank attempted to lift economic growth towards the Government’s 6.8 per cent real GDP growth target for 2020.

According to Fitch, a softening of inflation on the back of low global oil prices and softer core inflation due to weaker domestic demand would also allow for easier monetary policy if needed.

Fitch has revised its 2020 average headline inflation forecast to 3.8 per cent from 5.7 per cent to account for the plunge in global oil prices amid an intensifying supply glut and weakening core inflation.

“Our inflation forecast lies within the SBV's 3.2-4.2 per cent projection for the year and also reflects our view for the SBV to succeed in its target to keep inflation below the 4.0 per cent level. Headline inflation eased to 4.9 per cent year-on-year in March, from 5.4 per cent year-on-year in February, due to easing inflation in the housing and construction materials category and a deflation in transport prices, which offset a slight acceleration in food inflation.”

Fitch analysts believed that both domestic and external demand would face strong headwinds over the coming quarters. Income losses due to a weak economic environment, which was likely to see workers being furloughed and/or have their wages reduced, would weigh on private consumption. A weak demand outlook, both internally and externally due to a global economy in recession, would also prompt businesses to conserve cash and delay capital expenditure. These factors would reduce demand for new loans.

“Banking sector earnings will also come under pressure. We expect this to be due to weaker demand for credit, narrower interest margins, and the central bank’s COVID-19 crisis macroprudential measures.”

Based on the SBV’s policy rate cut applied last month, deposit rates have been reduced by up to 0.3 percentage points, while lending rates have been reduced by 0.5 percentage points.

Though individual banks were still free to set their own rates on deposit interest for deposits of over six months, Fitch believed that unless banks reduced the interest rates offered on these longer-dated deposits by a sufficiently larger margin, they were likely to experience a net compression of their interest margins, which compounded by weaker credit growth would see a fall in profitability across the sector as a whole.

Finally, Fitch said, macroprudential measures, such as rescheduling debt repayment and exempting and reducing interest and fees, announced by the SBV on March 12 to tackle the economic crisis, would also slash banking sector earnings. 

Landlords should switch to revenue sharing, market researcher suggest

Vietnamese landlords should consider shifting from their traditional fixed-rent model to base rents and revenue sharing like in many other countries to spread the risk, experts have suggested.

“Retailers with the infrastructure to fulfil online orders through home delivery are currently being perceived as beneficiaries of consumers’ reluctance to visit stores, and we are seeing an increased conversion of people to online,” real-estate services firm, Jones Lang LaSalle (JLL), said in a recent report on the retail market.

“Greater emphasis will be placed on the shift towards a flexible omni-channel retail model and sustainable fulfilment; strengthened partnerships between landlords and retailers will need to emerge to achieve this.

“No matter how adversarial the relationship can be between landlords and tenants at times, the bottom line is that we are all in this together and the need to find common ground is more important than ever.”

Duong Thuy Dung, senior director at CBRE, said: “From the effects of COVID-19 that we have seen, the local market will require more presence of online platforms and development of omnichannel strategies which can serve a wider range of consumers and categories and help push marketing.”

Retail is the segment most affected by COVID-19 in the HCM City real estate market.

JLL said footfall at many malls and retail centres in the city declined by 80 per cent year-on-year in February and March.

Many malls closed due to Covid-19 fears.

Some international brands postponed plans to launch in Viet Nam this year, particularly HCM City, the company said.

The pandemic would affect plans to open nearly 280,000sq.m of gross floor area (GFA) of retail space in HCM City this year and 180,000sq.m of GFA in Ha Noi, it said.

Challenges could persist in the sector in the second quarter due to the nation-wide social-distancing campaign from April 1, it warned.

The retail landscape had been fairly robust for 18-24 months before the outbreak, it said.

“E-commerce’s growth continued,” Trang Bui, head of markets at JLL Vietnam, said.

“I don’t think it deeply affected bricks and mortar retail; it was more of a complementary option.

“The challenge we are seeing in the market currently is the overdue rent payment from retailers and tenants who have closed down. Since this is an unprecedented event – nobody saw anything like this coming – the language used in most leases about business interruption and force majeure is a section that people never thought that they would have to look at. Yet, over the last two weeks, those are the clauses that are being read, re-read, and turned upside down and inside out.”

CBRE made a similar assessment, saying, “Retail is one of the sectors most affected by COVID-19.”

In a report, it said in the first quarter total revenues from food and beverages and accommodation and tourism services decreased by 9.6 per cent and 27.8 per cent year-on-year.

A major reason for the difficulties faced by the retail segment was the drop in the number of international visitors.

JLL said this most acutely impacted luxury segments and super prime retail destinations.

Domestic retail spending could suffer a temporary decline from consumer reluctance or inability to visit destinations where infection risks are elevated.

Non-essential goods items and leisure services will be hit harder than perishables and essential dry goods, which have seen elevated demand as consumers stockpile to avoid personal shortages.

To support retailers, some landlords have offered rent discounts in February and March of 10-30 per cent, especially for general retail segments like food and beverages and entertainment.

Others have considered reducing rents by up to 50 per cent depending on the performance of their tenants.

Some have also agreed to defer a portion of the rent until the situation improves.

Light, flask maker Rang Dong to lower cash dividend rate to 35%

Rang Dong Light Source and Vacuum Flask JSC will pay a cash dividend of a minimum 35 per cent in the next two years.

From 2017-19 the company paid a dividend of 50 per cent, with payments made twice per year.

On Friday, the second cash dividend payment for 2019 was made at a rate of 25 per cent, meaning every shareholder received VND2,500 per share.

The first dividend for 2019 was made on September 24, 2019.

Rang Dong in 2019 posted a 17.3 per cent annual increase in revenue, which touched VND4.27 trillion (US$181.47 million). The figure beat the firm’s target last year by 18 per cent.

But pre-tax profit fell more than one third on-year to VND161.5 billion, meeting only 79 per cent of the plan, as the company suffered a loss of VND36 billion in the fourth quarter due to a factory blaze in late August.

In the first quarter of 2020, Rang Dong reported VND1.1 trillion in revenue, up 9.7 per cent on-year, and VND75.4 billion in post-tax profit, up 45 per cent on-year.

The light and flask producer will hold its annual shareholders’ meeting on May 9. It targets to achieve VND7 trillion in revenue in 2022.

Rang Dong shares (HoSE: RAL) ended Friday flat at VND72,000 apiece. 

Yeah1 Group announces Q1 results

Yeah1 Group (Yeah1) has announced results for the first quarter and some updates on its recent cost restructuring and technology focus.

Its gross revenue was US$11.05 million, 33.56 per cent down year-on-year.

Net profit was $110,000 lower than in the same quarter last year, mostly because of lower income from interest-bearing deposits.

From the operating perspective, Yeah1 has restructured costs with the closure of its loss-making TV stations with the full benefit set to come in at the end of May, possibly increasing net profit by more than $200 thousand per quarter.

The company moved to a new, bigger building at 30 – 40 per cent lower cost than its current office, and stopped investment in unstable and loss-making businesses to streamline its organisational structure.

Yeah1 continues its Owned & Operated (“O&O”) channel and content strategy with a strong focus on new original content.

The first quarter saw continued success and momentum with series such as Chao Trang, Anh Tham Tu, Nguoi Thu Ba, Anh Ao Den, Mi Goi, Yeah1 Spotlight all receiving millions of views and trending on Facebook Watch and YouTube.

It also made some chart-topping music videos.

It signed a strategic agreement with Tan Hiep Phat, a billion-dollar beverage corporation, and the marketing campaign for Tan Hiep Phat using the Mega1 app developed by Yeah1 was a good start.

Other strategic developments the company pushed ahead with and which can touch users directly included the Appfast project, KOL platform, Ad Network, Mega1, and Shopiness.

It targets revenues of $78 million this year and a net profit of $5.2 million.

Founded in 2006, Yeah1 Group is one of Vietnamese largest digital media- and media technology-focused companies and makes its own original content.

It also innovates advertising technologies.

It listed in June 2018 and was the first public media company in Vietnam to do so, though its stock has not fared well, falling to VND58,000 now after once crossing VND300,000. 

Lower rubber and oil prices increase profit for tyre firms

Lower natural rubber prices and falling oil prices helped cut input costs of local tyre firms and increased their profits in the first quarter.

Southern Rubber Industry Company Rubber (Casumina) reported profit six times higher in Q1 compared to the same period last year. While Sao Vang Rubber and Da Nang Rubber companies reported profit three and 2.2 times higher, respectively.

In Q1, Da Nang Rubber, coded DRC on Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE), recorded net revenue of VND803 billion (US$33.9 million), down slightly by 2.4 per cent from the same period last year. But the lower input cost of about 8 per cent helped gross profit increase by 47.5 per cent to reach VND118 billion.

The firm’s after-tax profit reached VND37.4 billion in Q1, 2.2 times higher than the same period last year.

The company report said: “The profit is from the lower raw material purchasing prices.”

Similarly, Casumina, with the sticker CSM on HoSE, saw an after-tax profit of VND12.7 billion, six times higher than the same period last year, while Sao Vang Rubber, with sticker SRC on HoSE, reported an after-tax profit of VND7.4 billion, three times over its last Q1 result.

According to Saigon Securities Inc’s research centre, as most tyre firms’ main raw materials were natural rubber and rubber materials, lower prices for rubber helped cut input costs.

The natural rubber prices in the Tokyo futures market recorded its lowest level at 130 Japanese yen ($1.21)per kilogramme in early April. At the same time, oil prices are in a downward trend due to the impact of the pandemic and the oil price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia. Brent oil price plummeted since the beginning of February and reached the lowest level in four years, at $15.9 per barrel as of March 31.

Different plans

Despite gaining strong business results in the first quarter, Da Nang Rubber predicted a sharp decrease in the second quarter, estimating the industrial production value to reach VND541 billion, down 33 per cent compared to Q1, and down 50 per cent compared to the same period last year.

The firm also calculated that consumption revenue would drop by 21 per cent from Q1 and 43 per cent from the same term last year. The profit before tax of Q2 was estimated at VND 37.7 billion, down 19 per cent from Q1 and 58 per cent from last same term.

The firm’s leader said there would be more difficulties for the firm this year due to the pandemic, US-China trade war and the anti-dumping tax law.

Sao Vang Rubber also planned a light decrease of one per cent in revenue which was estimated to reach VND916 billion for the whole year, but a 59 per cent decrease in profit before tax which was about VND21 billion.

Casumina, on the other hand, reported a better plan for 2020, with an estimated revenue of nearly VND5 trillion, an increase of 14 per cent, and profit before tax of VND150 billion, an increase of 230 per cent over 2019.

The firm’s leaders said that though there were difficulties, there were also advantages to take, mentioning the Vietnam - EU Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) which was expected to take effect in July, the infrastructure development strategy and domestic automobile manufacturing and assembly industry as well as the opportunity to enter the US market.

As exports accounted for a large proportion in the revenue structure of Da Nang and Casumina Rubber, with 43 per cent and 39 per cent, respectively, Da Nang Rubber was to focus strongly on markets where China has difficulties due to tariff barriers, such as the US, Europe and India, while Casumina's main markets include Southeast Asia, Europe and the US.

Currently, Sao Vang rubber export revenue accounts for 19 per cent of total revenue in 2019 to Cambodia and Malaysia.

Yesterday, shares of Casumina and Da Nang increased about one per cent to close at VND15,400 and 18,700 each, respectively, while shares of Sao Vang Rubber Firm lost 0.9 per cent to close at VND16,000 each on HoSE.

Viet Nam National Aviation Insurance reports a net loss of US$1.5 million

Viet Nam National Aviation Insurance Corporation (VNI) recorded a net loss of up to VND35 billion (US$1.5 million) for the first quarter of this year.

The corporation has just released its financial statements.

The main reason is attributed to the increasing cost of insurance business activities by 33 per cent year-on-year to over VND241 billion. That of the same period last year was VND181.3 billion.

Financial income dropped by 64 per cent from VND18.7 billion last year to VND6.8 billion.

Meanwhile, VNI spent more than VND11.4 billion on this activity, causing a gross loss of nearly VND5 billion.

However, its insurance premium revenue grew by 28 per cent to nearly VND296 billion.

VNI was established in 2008, operating in the field of non-life insurance, reinsurance and financial investment. 

Industrial property developers, natural rubber firms resilient on cash availability

Industrial park developers and natural rubber companies are the most resilient amid a prolonged global COVID-19 pandemic due to higher cash availability, according to BIDV Securities Corp (BSC).

BSC presumed if the disease is not controlled and cured in the next two months, companies will have no revenues and new cash flow while they still have to spend 50 per cent of previous income on operation expenses, interests and short-term liabilities.

One positive thing in the next few months is banks will extend loan dues for companies in 2020 so they are able to recover from being hit during the global pandemic, BSC said.

The brokerage firm forecast oil and gas companies, sugar producers, property developers and seaport operators will have enough cash to operate for 11.4-24.2 months.

Industrial property developers and natural rubber producers are forecast to keep operating for 220 months and 92 months, respectively, BSC forecast.

Cash availability in the two sectors is huge as those companies often receive pre-payment from customers to lease slots in industrial zones, BSC said.

Demand for industrial properties is forecast to rise sharply as foreign companies may shift their plants from China to neighbouring countries, including Việt Nam, as industrial production has been stagnant because of COVID-19. 

Binh Minh Plastic plans 20 per cent cash dividend for 2019

Binh Minh Plastic JSC will pay its second cash dividend for 2019 at the rate of 20 per cent in cash.

This means every shareholder will receive VND2,000 per share. The payment is scheduled for May.

The company is listing nearly more than 81.86 million shares on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange with code BMP.

The upcoming payment is worth VND163.7 billion (US$7 million).

The first cash dividend payment for 2019 was made on December 20 last year at the rate of 20 per cent.

In 2019, Binh Minh Plastic saw its revenue increase by 10.7 per cent year-on-year to VND4.33 trillion. Post-tax profit in 2019 was VND423 billion, almost unchanged from the previous year.

The firm has postponed its annual shareholders’ meeting due to worries about the coronavirus. The meeting will be held by June 30.

The company's shares jumped 3.4 per cent to end Wednesday at VND44,450 apiece.

Securities firms' earnings consumed by proprietary trading

Four securities firms with the largest market shares saw proprietary trading erode their earnings in the first quarter as the global pandemic COVID-19 hit the market hard and pulled share prices down sharply.

SSI Securities Corporation (SSI) posted a 38.8 per cent annual increase in its first-quarter revenue, which reached VND975.75 billion (US$41.4 million). But post-tax profit was VND15.1 billion, equal to 7.88 per cent of that of last year’s corresponding period.

Proprietary trading was blamed for the company’s poor results as fair value through profit or loss (FVTPL) of financial assets soared 533 per cent year-on-year to more than VND489 billion.

Income from brokerage activities was only VND66 million, down nearly 100 per cent from last year. However, revenue from margin lending fell by only 7.15 per cent compared to 2019 to VND145.5 billion.

SSI said the market dropped by more than 31 per cent due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, placing Viet Nam among the global markets with the sharpest drop.

Many of the 50 biggest stocks fell by an average of 30 per cent, which has affected SSI’s investment portfolio which is now worth VND3.4 trillion.

VietCapital Securities (VCSC) in the first three-month period recorded revenue of VND379 billion, up 3.34 per cent year-on-year, and VND118.6 billion worth of post-tax profit, down 41.5 per cent compared to 2019.

The company improved its brokerage and margin lending activities, as revenues gained 129.6 per cent and 23 per cent year-on-year to VND51 billion and VND86.8 billion, respectively.

But VCSC did suffer a loss worth VND167.8 billion in trading shares on its own.

At VNDirect Securities Corp (VNDS), revenue in January-March increased by 42.4 per cent year-on-year to VND457 billion while post-tax profit fell nearly 35 per cent to VND58.5 billion compared to last year Q1’s figures.

The company also saw stock-broking activities decline from the previous year as brokerage income dropped 17.5 per cent to VND46.6 billion.

Margin lending revenue was VND95 billion in the first quarter, up 8.9 per cent. VNDS recorded a loss worth VND166 billion in its financial assets.

VNDS explained that VN-Index fell 31 per cent in the first quarter as the pandemic weighed on market sentiment and made investors anxious about the prospects of the global economy, triggering sell-offs and hitting local shares hard.

The market decline had struck the company’s investment portfolio, forcing it to make big provisions for financial investments.

On the other hand, HCM City Securities Corp (HSC) posted annual increases of 52.3 per cent and 23.3 per cent in revenue and post-tax profit in January-March. The figures rose to VND446.8 billion and VND101 billion, respectively.

Proprietary trading accounted for a small proportion of the firm’s earnings structure which depends mainly from broking and margin lending activities.

Income from stock broking was down 1.76 per cent year-on-year to VND37.2 billion while margin lending brought the company VND116.3 billion worth of income, up 13.3 per cent in comparison to 2019's same period.

Securities firms’ earnings are expected to pick up in the second quarter of the year as the stock market is showing signs of recovery.

The benchmark VN-Index has gained as much as 21 per cent from its three-year low of 659.21 points made on March 23 with trading liquidity sharply increasing.

HSC shares surged 6.7 per cent to end Wednesday at VND16,750 apiece. Shares of SSI, VCSC and VNDS gained between 1.4 per cent and 3.5 per cent. 

Tyre company posts 123% gain in Q1 profit

Tyre producer Da Nang Rubber JSC’s post-tax profit soared 123 per cent year-on-year to VND37.4 billion (US$1.6 million) in the first quarter of the year.

Pre-tax profit was VND46.8 billion, 96 per cent of its full-year pre-tax profit plan.

Revenue slid 2.4 per cent year-on-year to VND803 billion but production costs dropped 7.9 per cent as material expenses, especially oil prices, fell sharply.

In the first quarter of the year, oil prices lost two-thirds on lower demand for production caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the second quarter, the company expects its revenue to fall 21 per cent year-on-year to VND652 billion and pre-tax profit will fall 19 per cent to VND37.7 billion.

The company plans to hold its annual shareholders’ meeting by April 30.

In 2019, Da Nang Rubber earned VND4 trillion in total revenue and VND313 billion in pre-tax profit, up 108 per cent and 177 per cent on-year, respectively.

The company shares (HoSE: DRC) surged 5.4 per cent to end Wednesday at VND18,600 apiece.

 
 

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