BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES APRIL 8

More points of sales needed to ensure good supply: says MoIT

BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES APRIL 8


The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) has requested provincial and municipal industry and trade departments support the launch of new points of sale to ensure an abundant supply of consumer goods amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The MoIT also urged departments to create favourable conditions for enterprises providing essential goods to continue operations while launching temporary points of sale, especially for people in isolated areas.

Earlier, Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh said the ministry would act to ensure supply of essential goods even in the worst-case scenario of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said there will be no shortage of essential goods or disruptions in supply in any localities.

All contingency plans must be ready for every scenario to ensure the supply of goods even if the COVID-19 pandemic lasts six months or longer, he said. In case of emergency, national reserves will be used.

Inspections will be carried out with a focus on localities at higher risk of virus outbreaks to ensure products are of good quality and distribution is smooth.

PetroVietnam’s crude oil production surpasses target in Q1

The Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) has reported that its exploitation of crude oil in the first quarter of 2020 exceeded the target by 10 percent.

According to PetroVietnam, in the first quarter, the group also enjoyed high production of other products.

Electricity production reached 5.33 billion kWh, equivalent to 100 percent of the first quarter plan, and 24.7 percent of the annual target.

The firm produced 441,800 tonnes of nitrogenous fertilizer, and 3.41 million tonnes of petroleum, 5.5 percent and 2.5 percent higher than the set targets, respectively.

PetroVietnam contributed 20.8 trillion VND (883.6 million USD) to the State budget in the period, or 89.7 percent of its target for the quarter.

PetroVietnam and its subsidiaries have actively implemented a series of solutions to maintain their production and business activities amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has led to a sharp drop in global crude oil prices and caused serious losses to the domestic oil and gas industry.

The group has strengthened cooperation with domestic businesses that have business lines related to products they supply.

It has also monitored market information related to the demand and price fluctuations of crude oil and petroleum products, and outlined plans to take advantage of business opportunities./.

Hà Nội GRDP growth slows down due to COVID-19

The capital city’s gross regional domestic product (GRDP) growth was estimated at 3.72 per cent in the first quarter of this year, the slowest pace over the past few years, the municipal Statistics Office has said.

The growth was much lower than 7 per cent seen in the same period of 2019 due to the severe impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, hitting a wide range of sectors including import-export, tourism, transportation, processing and manufacturing as well as restaurant and catering services.

During the period, the agriculture, forestry and fisheries sector saw a decline of 1.17 per cent compared to an increase of 3.19 per cent in the first quarter of last year.

The city's industrial production in January-March period experienced a modest growth of 5.1 per cent year-on-year, lower than 7 per cent recorded in the same period last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic’s influence that has disrupted the supply of Chinese input materials for domestic production.

Other sectors which suffered a year-on-year decline in three months were accommodation and catering services with 22 per cent; entertainment with 7.4 per cent; administration and supporting services with 6 per cent besides transportation and logistics sectors with 5.15 per cent.

Meanwhile, the wholesale and retail sector has maintained positive growth, thanks to a shift to online sales from traditional shops.

According to the office, the city’s consumer price index (CPI) in March rose 0.1 per cent over February and 4.4 per cent over last year’s same month.

The capital’s average CPI for the first three months increased 5.23 per cent against the same period last year.

Among 11 groups of products and services in the CPI basket, a decline was recorded in seven groups in March including transportation services (4.2 per cent); culture, entertainment and tourism (3 per cent); restaurants and catering services (1 per cent); housing and building material (0.54 per cent) and beverage and tobacco (0.25 per cent).

HCM City in need of fewer workers in Q2

Recruitment demand in Ho Chi Minh City is forecast to fall by 37.33 percent in the second quarter of 2020, with only 47,000 new employees needed, according to the city’s Resources Forecast and Labor Market Information Centre (Falmi).

Highly-skilled and trained employees account for 81 percent of total demand, the centre said.

Most of the new jobs are expected to be in e-commerce, IT, administration, healthcare, online consulting services, marketing, food processing, shipping services, textiles, fintech, and online entertainment.

Falmi Director Tran Thi Thanh Truc said that if the COVID-19 pandemic continues in the long term it will lead to a shortage of raw materials for production and difficulties regarding consumption.

Large and labour-intensive companies are striving to maintain operations but their raw material reserves are only sufficient for production in March or to mid-April.

Many businesses have suspended their recruitment plans or narrowed production and business, she added.

Through previous surveys at 4,875 enterprises in HCM City, Falmi found that an estimated 65,000 employees were needed in the first quarter but there were only 29,000 workers seeking employment.

Truc added that human resources demand in Q1 fell 27.3 percent year-on-year due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, primarily in the sectors of transportation, education, accommodation and tourism, and textiles and footwear.

Ho Chi Minh City’s GRDP estimated at 14.26 billion USD in Q1

Ho Chi Minh City’s gross regional domestic product (GRDP) has been estimated at 335.6 trillion VND (14.26 billion USD) in the first quarter of 2020, up 0.42 percent year-on-year.

According to the municipal Department of Statistics, the agro-forestry-fisheries sector posted a growth rate of 4.06 percent, and the industrial and construction sector, 3.13 percent. On the other side, trade and services fell by 1.23 percent.

Due to the serious impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, growth rates across all regions and economic sectors were lower than the same period last year, with the trade and services sector most affected.

Five of the nine main industries recorded negative growth, including real estate (12.85 percent), education and training (26.57 percent), and accommodation and catering services (31.69 percent)./.

Vietnam Airlines adjusts flights to Da Nang due to new quarantine policy

National flag carrier Vietnam Airlines announced on April 5 that it will adjust the frequency of its flights from Hanoi/Ho Chi Minh City to Da Nang after the central city requires a 14-day quarantine period for passengers from the two major cities amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

National flag carrier Vietnam Airlines announced on April 5 that it will adjust the frequency of its flights from Hanoi/Ho Chi Minh City to Da Nang after the central city requires a 14-day quarantine period for passengers from the two major cities amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Accordingly, the carrier will conduct three flights per week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays on each route from April 7-15.

It continues operating one flight a day from Hanoi to HCM City and vice versa.

The carrier’s flight schedule at this time will flexibly rely on the reality. It commits to supporting passengers on domestic flights in changing their flights or routes as its current regulations.

Crew members on all of its flights will be equipped with protective gears. They and passengers will have a body temperature check and must make health declarations before boarding flights. All planes will be disinfected after landing in Hanoi, Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City.

Vietnam Airlines has suspended international flights until April 30./.

Brokerage firm HSC delays annual meeting

HCM City Securities Corporation (HSC) has decided to postpone its annual shareholders’ meeting due to the coronavirus.

The meeting was scheduled for April 22. The rescheduled meeting will be no later than June 30.

HSC also advised clients to trade via its online platform to avoid becoming infected by the virus.

In 2020, HSC plans to raise VND8.6 trillion (US$362 million) from lending and bond issuance. The figure is up 43.3 per cent year on year and double the firm’s equity.

The HCM City-based brokerage in 2019 earned VND1.26 trillion in total net revenue, down 26 per cent year on year and fulfilling 76 per cent of its full-year target.

Total post-tax profit in 2019 fell 36 per cent on-year to VND432 billion, leading to a return-on-average equity (ROAE) ratio of 11.7 per cent.

Earnings-per-share (EPS) was VND1,596. At the end of 2019, total assets had increased by 42 per cent on-year to nearly VND7.5 trillion.

HSC has nearly 306 million shares listed on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE) under code HCM.

The company's shares surged 6.7 per cent to trade at VND12,700 apiece on Friday. Its shares have lost a total of 42.8 per cent since the end of January.

State investment agency aims to sell stake in Hai Phong Thermal Power this month

The State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC) will auction its entire 9 per cent stake, or 45 million shares, in Hai Phong Thermal Power JSC (HND).

Interested investors must register to buy the whole offering.

The initial price of each share (HND) will be VND26,000 (US$1.09), which means SCIC could expect to receive a minimum of VND1.17 trillion.

This starting price is 77 per cent higher than HND's opening price of VND14,700 Friday on the UPCoM, Viet Nam’s exchange for unlisted public companies.

The auction is expected to take place at 2.30 pm on April 22.

Hai Phong Thermal Power JSC currently has four major shareholders owning up to 93.18 per cent of the company's charter capital. Its largest shareholder is the Power Generation Corporation 2, holding 51 per cent, followed by Pha Lai Thermal Power JSC with 25.97 per cent and Vinacomin Power Holding Corporation Limited with 7.21 per cent, besides SCIC which holds 9 per cent.

Hai Phong Thermal Power JSC's revenue in 2019 reached VND11.3 trillion, up 18.6 per cent compared to 2018 while post-tax profit soared 176 per cent to nearly VND1.17 trillion.

In 2020, the company hopes to produce more than 7.8 billion kWh and earn a revenue of VND10.5 trillion.

Intraday short sale far from being realised as difficulties persist

Securities firms and investors are waiting for the T+0 or intraday short sale to be applied on the Vietnamese securities market, but there are still troubles that need to be resolved.

T+0 mechanism is regulated in the Circular 203/2015/TT-BTC issued by the Ministry of Finance on December 21, 2015 to increase liquidity for the Vietnamese securities market and bring the local market closer to international standards.

However, the mechanism has not been realised since then as there are many difficulties with it. The T+0 is the ability to complete a stock transaction during the day on settlement, payment and transfer of stock ownership.

According to the Vietnam Securities Depository (VSD), once the T+0 system takes effect, it could boost trading liquidity and benefit both investors and securities firms, especially when the market vulnerable to the volatility of the global markets amid fears about the instability of economic and political relations and the spread of coronavirus.

But it has remained unclear when the system will be deployed for the Vietnamese stock market. According to Le Hai Tra, acting chairman of the board of directors at the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange, the T+0 trading may be tested in the second half of 2020.

Investor Nguyen Trong Hung said technology and policy are not the challenges, it is the co-operation between stock exchanges, VSD and market regulators.

Investor Nguyen Kim Sang said investors are exposed to potential risks at the moment as they cannot buy and sell shares in the same day while share prices can swing pretty much during one day.

According to VSD, risk management is the top priority for both securities firms and market regulators if T+0 mechanism is applied.

Several brokerages have had to delay the settlement of transactions or cancel the transactions as they cannot control the risk caused by margin lending activities.

Securities firms are asked to develop a tight risk management process and assure their resources are efficient to settle all transactions if investors fail to do so.

Tan Viet Securities Corporation (TVSI) has been prepared for the T+0 system to be deployed, deputy general director Ta Minh Phuong told tinnhanhchungkhoan.vn.

The mechanism offers investors more opportunities to earn profits because it increases the liquidity on the market but trading will become more complicated, he said.

Some transactions have to be cancelled because investors’ outstanding loans are very high, he said, adding the cancellation will have subsequent impact on market trading.

“Not only securities firms, VSD also has to improve its technological background to meet the demand for th T+0 trading system,” Phuong said.

Investors’ accounts must be tracked closely and their outstanding loans monitored, he said.

Tran Thang Long, director of market analysis and research, BIDV Securities Corporation, said the company has upgraded its technological system to prepare for a hike in trading liquidity.

The T+0 system will allow investors to short shares in advance of receiving. It now takes investors two days to receive the shares they buy before being able to sell.

Active investors and traders can make many transactions more during the day if T+0 trading is allowed, increasing the market liquidity and it requires securities firms to upgrade their facilities and prepare for such scenarios, Long said.

Declared-bankrupt plastic firm records $30.5m of loss in 2019

Involuntarily-bankrupted firm Saigon Plastic Packaging JSC (Saplastic) has reported a net loss of VND720 billion (US$30.5 million) in 2019.

The company earned VND255 billion in total net revenue last year, down sharply from VND1 trillion recorded in 2018.

2019 was the first year Saplastic suffered losses since 2007.

According to the company, it lost its market share in 2019, leading to the steep decline in net revenue.

Saplastic claimed that products were sold at a price level that was lower than production cost, making the firm suffer a gross loss of VND369 billion.

In addition, management costs rose sharply to VND325 billion, including VND248 billion worth of material purchases.

TTTP Auditing Co Ltd, which gave a qualified opinion on Saplastic’s financial report, said the plastics firm had not fully reported its interest liabilities worth VND56.4 billion in 2019.

The company responded by saying it had been in talks with creditors about the loans and no decisions had been made about interest liabilities.

At the end of 2019, short-term liabilities exceeded short-term assets and the combined loss was more than VND690 billion while its equity capital was negative VND439 billion.

Overdue outstanding loans were worth VND707.6 billion, including VND386.5 billion owed to the Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV).

The HCM City People’s Court on November 26, 2019 declared an involuntary bankruptcy on Saplastic as the firm unable to pay back loans. The decision makes Saplastic the first listed company to be declared bankrupt.

Sen Viet Management and Liquidation of Assets Partnership Company was assigned to administrate the bankruptcy at Saplastic.

Sen Viet has recently sent a letter to the Ha Noi Stock Exchange, which states that Saplastic is undertaking a bankruptcy process, therefore its shares should be monitored strictly by the market regulator.

Saplastic debuted on the Ha Noi Stock Exchange in 2008 with code SPP. Its shares tumbled 11.1 per cent to end Wednesday at only VND800 apiece.

BVSC reports after-tax profit of $5.4 million

Bao Viet Securities Company (BVSC) reported a realised after-tax profit of VND127.9 billion (US$5.4 million) last year, completing 102 per cent of its plan.

The company published its financial statements for last year audited by Ernst & Young Viet Nam on Tuesday.

BVSC’s revenue reached VND564.1 billion, equal to 111 per cent of the plan.

Profit after tax of the company reached VND135.51 billion, equal to 106 per cent of the plan and 131 per cent over the same period.

The capital adequacy ratio of BVSC reached 714 per cent as of December 31, nearly four times higher than the required capital ratio of the Ministry of Finance at 180 per cent.

Vicostone targets more revenue and profit this year

Stone maker Vicostone JSC (VCS) targets to achieve total revenue of VND6.65 trillion (US$279.9 million) this year, an increase of 19.6 per cent compared to 2019.

Pre-tax profit is estimated to reach VND1.98 trillion, up by 19.8 per cent compared to the profit achieved in 2018.

In 2020, Vicostone plans to develop digital transformation comprehensively in all fields of production and corporate governance.

At the same time, the company will deploy a localisation strategy of raw materials to increase the input supply autonomy to over 95 per cent, besides improving productivity and quality of output products.

From the beginning of 2019, VCS shares rose from the price of VND55,000 per share to VND100,000 per share at the end of September. However, VCS then plummeted and is currently trading around VND53,000 per share, closing Tuesday at VND53,200 per share.

In 2019, VCS achieved total revenue of VND5.3 trillion, an increase of nearly 23 per cent year-on-year and pre-tax profit of VND1.65 trillion, up by 25 per cent compared to the previous year. Earnings per share (EPS) in 2019 reached VND8,114.

The company said from October 2018 onwards, the US imposed anti-dumping tax on Chinese quartz stone products, causing a fall in the US’ stone import volume from China.

This is an opportunity to increase exports of quartz stone products to the US market for exporters from other countries, including Viet Nam, VSC said.

In 2019, Vicostone focused on the expansion of new potential markets via its agency system, helping export turnover increase by nearly 30 per cent compared to 2018.

Vicostone's revenue mainly comes from the exports to major markets of North America, Australia and Europe. Revenue from these markets accounted for 98 per cent of Vicostone's total export revenue in the 2014-2019 period.

Laptop sales soar due to online work/study

Demand for laptops has risen significantly as students and employees are studying and working at home due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Parents in HCM City and other provinces have said that while they had previously been content with having only one laptop to share or have their children use smartphones, they now have had to buy additional laptops for their children’s studies.

Sales of laptops at national chain Mobile World saw an 80 per cent increase in the first two months of the year compared to the same period in 2019. Students and office workers make up the largest demographic, with office workers accounting for around 60 per cent of the customers.

Hoang Van Dung, head of FPT Shop’s laptop product line, said that sales of laptops in March were 150 per cent higher than the beginning of the year because of at-home work and study.

Le Tri Cong, director of Tri Cong Informatics Commerce and Service Co, Ltd, said that sales of desktops and used laptops have also increased, as parents are buying cheap, used laptops for their children.

Several businesses are supplying laptops to their employees so they can work at home, such as Neilson Viet Nam and Unilever Viet Nam.

 

Many retailers said that certain laptop brands are at risk of being under-stocked since demand is rising, but supply is being hampered by COVID-19. Some retailers’ stock has decreased by 20-30 per cent, and they are struggling to restock.

Despite the higher demand, prices of laptops have remained relatively stable, and many retailers are offering promotions such as discounts and free installation of programmes.

Traphaco targets higher for 2020 business targets despite outbreak

Despite the COVID-19 outbreak, Traphaco Joint Stock Company has endorsed higher business targets for 2020 with dividend payment of 30 per cent.

The drug manufacturer is expected to earn VND2 trillion (US$86 million) in revenue and VND80 billion ($3.4 million) in after-tax profit this year, up 17 per cent and 5.5 per cent, respectively, compared to 2019.

Revenue of the parent company is forecast at VND1.75 trillion.

At its shareholders’ meeting last week, chairwoman Vu Thi Thuan said the plan was challenging but feasible.

She said the company’s main market – Over-The-Counter (OTC) drugs (non-prescription medicine) – was experiencing low growth so the company planned to increase investment in manufacturing new drugs with expected revenue growth of 20 per cent per year until 2025.

Traphaco would continue to promote its strengths in oriental medicine, expecting this segment to grow 7 per cent per year, Thuan said.

Besides, the company planned to expand its distribution of products and increase drug portfolios by acquiring new drugs from foreign partners, especially Daewoong Pharmaceutical Co Ltd. In 2020, the company would take delivery of 10-15 new products from the South Korean partner, she said.

The company plans a 30-per-cent cash dividend payment for 2020, the same as 2019.

Ending 2019, Traphaco reported total revenue of VND1.71 trillion, a year-on-year decline of 5 per cent. Its net profit reached VND171 billion, the lowest since 2014 and a slight decrease of 2 per cent from the previous year.

Shares in the company rose in the last two sessions last week but declined 3.9 per cent on Monday to VND49,000 ($2.10). Traphaco's shares lost about 20 per cent in value this year.

Tech group FPT to sell shares to employees

IT group FPT plans to sell shares to employees to thank them for their performance in recent years.

The amount of shares on offer to employees will be equal to a maximum of 0.5 per cent of the group’s total outstanding shares.

FPT has more than 616 million shares listed on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange with code FPT.

However, outstanding shares stand at more than 678.8 million.

Shares will be sold in 2021, 2022 and 2023, and listed as soon as they are sold.

According to the company, the share sale will bring benefits to senior staff who have performed well in the past few years.

The sale will be discussed at the group’s annual shareholder meeting on April 8 at the firm’s facility in the Hoa Lac High-Tech Park, Ha Noi.

The meeting will be held via an online platform amid fears about the spread of the coronavirus.

Investors will need to register for the meeting by 12pm, April 3.

FPT shares tumbled 5.3 per cent to trade at VND40,800 on Monday.

The company has recently announced its total revenue and pre-tax profit in the first two months of the year were VND4.18 trillion and VND698 billion, respectively.

The figures were up 18.4 per cent and 22.4 per cent year on year.

VRE, SSI to take higher weight in VN30: VDSC

Property developer Vincom Retail (VRE) and SSI Securities (SSI) are two of four stocks expected to weigh more in the large-cap VN30 basket, according to Rong Viet Securities Corp (VDSC).

The two other stocks are FLC Faros Construction Corp (ROS) and PetroVietnam Power Corp (POW).

Meanwhile, the market regulator will reduce the weight of VP Bank (VPB), sugar firm Thanh Thanh Cong-Bien Hoa JSC (SBT) and tech group FPT (FPT).

The change will be made by the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE) when the southern market regulator completes reviewing the large-cap basket in April.

The VN30 basket tracks the performance of 30 largest stocks by market capitalisation and trading liquidity listed in the HoSE.

VDSC said that HoSE will not add new stocks to the large-cap basket or remove any stocks from it in the upcoming review.

The new VN30 basket will take effect on the first Monday of May, which falls on May 6.

The large-cap tracker VN30-Index was down 0.86 per cent to end Thursday at 646.70 points.

Satra targets cutting State stake to 66 per cent

Government agencies will hold a 66 per cent of the limited liability firm Saigon Trading Group (Satra) after it is equitised, according to a recently submitted plan.

The State-owned firm Satra has filed an equitisation plan with the HCM City People’s Committee. Equitisation will begin once the plan is approved, Satra said in a statement on its website.

Satra will also sell entire its controlling stakes in 17 member companies including HCM City Rubber JSC, Saigon Petroleum JSC, Saigon Southwest Trading JSC, Saigon Phương Trang Trading JSC, and Saigon Sundries Electric Appliances JSC.

The company will also withdraw from Sai Gon-Ha Noi Commercial Joint Stock Bank (SHB) and Saigon Bank for Industry and Trade Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Saigonbank).

Satra will also represent the Government to hold more than 50 per cent of capital in its associate firms after those companies are privatised.

In the leading food processor Vissan, State capital will account for 67.76 per cent of the capital after equitisation. The figures are 90 per cent at Ngọc Đồng Food Co Ltd, 55.68 per cent at HCM City General Material Import Export JSC and 51 per cent at Bình Điền JSC.

Current State ownership in those firms is not mentioned in the statement.

According to the group’s representative, the company has not sold financial assets that were bought prior to 2020 because it is waiting for the 2018-20 restructuring plan to be approved.

The company will sell its financial investments when HCM City authorities approve its restructuring plan.

Whether the plan is approved or not, recent developments show Satra has lagged behind the Government’s plan to sell all State capital in State-owned enterprises (SOEs) by the end of 2020.

In 2017-20, the Government, ministries and large-cap corporations have to cut ownership in 283 SOEs but they have completed doing so in just 171 companies. Ninety-two firms are still awaiting their equitisation plans being approved.

Satra has not released its full-year financial report for 2019. In the first six months of last year, Satra posted a 7.45 per cent increase in total revenue, which reached VND3.95 trillion.

However, its six-month post-tax profit fell 20 per cent year-on-year to nearly VND1.95 trillion.

Cash dividends beat bank savings as investors seek higher yields

The recent cut to the central bank’s benchmark interest rate may drive investors towards cash-dividend stocks as they look for higher yields.

Under a decision issued by the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) this month, saving interest rates for short-term loans of up to six months were cut by 0.25-0.30 percentage points to 0.5 per cent and 4.75 per cent per annum.

At large-cap banks such as Vietcombank, Military Bank, Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV), and Techcombank, saving interest rates for those terms range from 3.9 per cent to 6.0 per cent.

For some listed companies, investors may have higher yields if they buy in at low prices as the dividend-to-share price ratios beat banks’ saving rates.

Becamex Infrastructure Development JSC (HoSE: IJC) in 2019 earned a total of nearly VND1.6 trillion (US$68.2 million) in revenue and VND284.4 billion in profit, beating its full-year targets by 65 per cent and 23 per cent, respectively.

The figures were up 28 per cent and 22 per cent year on year. In 2017-18, the company paid a cash dividend of 10-12 per cent.

The dividend payout rate set for 2019 is expected to be a minimum of 12 per cent.

The company's shares slipped 2.7 per cent to end Thursday at VND9,100 apiece. That closing price means the dividend payout could offer a yield rate of 13.1 per cent.

Da Nang Housing Investment Development JSC (HNX: NDN) is a different case. The company reported sharp drops in both total revenue and post-tax profit in 2019.

Total sales in 2019 fell nearly 76 per cent on-year to VND41.52 billion, and post-tax profit slid 20 per cent on-year to VND70.6 billion.

However, the company now holds VND1.08 trillion in cash, equal to nearly 50 per cent of its total assets. In 2018, NDN paid a 16 per cent cash dividend and plans a similar rate for 2019.

The company's shares tumbled 3.6 per cent to end Thursday at VND13,500 apiece.

The dividend-to-share price here is 11.85 per cent.

Other companies that have paid higher dividend rates than banks’ saving rates include PetroVietnam Power Nhon Trach 2 JSC (HoSE: NT2) and Dong Phu Rubber JSC (HoSE: DPR).

Power supplier PetroVietnam Power Nhon Trach 2 paid cash dividends from 2016-18 period of 36 per cent, 30 per cent and 24 per cent. In 2019, the company plans a payout of 25 per cent.

Its shares finished Thursday down 0.9 per cent at VND16,650.

Meanwhile, rubber firm Dong Phu set its cash dividend payment rates for 2016-19 at 40-50 per cent. Its shares gained 2.6 per cent on Thursday to close at VND36,000.

MB Securities shuts down offices to combat coronavirus

MB Securities Co (MBS) on Friday closed alltrading offices and switched to online work to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in Viet Nam.

“The shutdown is temporary to stop physical contact between employees and customers. Trading offices will be closed until April 5,” MBS announced on Thursday.

As the coronavirus pandemic has been spreading and may cause severe damage to the health of people, MBS has been prepared for possible scenarios, the company said in a statement on its website.

“Solutions and safe working patterns have been set up to deal with the development of COVID-19. All employees have been trained for possible remote work,” the firm said.

“Resources, technology and contingency plans have been ready to serve customers, assuring security and quick access for investors.”

Other securities firms have also prepared for possible shutdown of trading offices. They also advise customers not to come to the trading houses if unnecessary.

SSI Securities Corporation (SSI) will hold an emergency drill on March 30 at its office on Nguyen Cong Tru Road, District 1, HCM City to make sure the health of customers and employees is protected.

The office will be closed during the training exercise. Other SSI offices in HCM City and other provinces and cities across the country are still open.

The exercise will activate the remote-work mode for all SSI employees at Nguyen Cong Tru office. Trading orders and services will be executed on SSI’s online platforms, SSI said.

The drill demonstrates an emergency situation in which SSI needs to lock down one of its offices and turn to remote working mode to prevent the coronavirus from spreading.

At VNDirect Securities Corporation (VNDS), the preparation is also completed to help the firm and its customers deal with a possible outbreak.

The company has had a training exercise that unplugged all offices and forced employees to work from home.

The company also recommended customers not to come to its trading houses. Customers can trade on the firm’s online platform and application.

Pandemic has no impact on business: An Phát Bioplastics

The global spread of COVID-19 has had an insignificant impact on An Phat Bioplastics JSC’s performance in the first three months, shareholders were told on Wednesday.

According to An Phat Bioplastics’ general director Nguyen Le Trung, bag production has not declined so far this year as the company produces bags for the food sector – in which market demand is still stable.

Total production was up 7.6 per cent year on year. In February, production was up by 956 tonnes and revenue from bag exports rose VND10 billion (US$427,460) to VND358 billion, Trung said at the annual shareholders’ meeting.

The pandemic has shut down many plants in China while market demand stays high, so the company has received orders from foreign sellers for consumer goods, Dinh Xuan Cuong, a member of the board of directors, said.

The company is also well-known for plastic production. Oil products are key materials for its production, but oil prices should not affect the firm’s plastic output.

Oil prices have tumbled about 60 per cent since the beginning of the year as the pandemic has increased worries about a global economic recession, leading to the collapse of oil prices.

The company has low inventory of plastic output, while the decline in the prices of oil, as a key production material, has helped the company lower selling prices, Cuong said.

Trung was confident the firm would reach its earnings targets set for 2020 and the pandemic will have little impact on its operation.

In 2020, An Phat Bioplastics plans to record VND10 trillion in total revenue, unchanged from 2019’s figure.

But post-tax profit is forecast to rise 12 per cent on-year to VND550 billion in 2020.

The company in 2019 earned VND9.26 trillion in total revenue and VND491 billion in total post-tax profit, up 15.5 per cent and 131 per cent on-year.

An Phat Bioplastics also wants to make a 15 per cent dividend payment for 2020.

The company this year will buy back 25.7 million shares and sell the shares to a strategic investor.

Shareholders have also approved the company raising the foreign ownership cap to 100 per cent and allowing the parent firm – An Phat Holdings JSC – to up its stake to maximum 65 per cent from 48.08 per cent without making a public offer.

An Phat Bioplastics shares (HoSE: AAA) lost 1.9 per cent to trade at VND10,400 apiece on Thursday.

VNPT & MobiFone receive broadband service awards

The Viet Nam Posts and Telecommunications Group (VNPT) has been honoured in the category for the best-fixed broadband service in Viet Nam at the World Mobile Broadband and ISP Summit 2020.

The award was presented by the International Data Group (IDG) Viet Nam and the Radio and Electronics Association of Viet Nam.

Meanwhile, MobiFone Telecommunications Corporation received an award for mobile broadband customer care.

The survey was conducted from January 1 to March 15 with the participation of more than 5,000 people who have been using mobile and fixed broadband services from various age groups, genders, occupations and incomes.

MIC launches campaign to apply Vietnamese technology for digital life

Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Manh Hung has issued a directive and launched a campaign to apply Vietnamese technology for digital life.The key content of the campaign is to promote digital applications in all fields, create a digital life and create new opportunities to promote socio-economic development.

The directive outlines 10 key tasks: developing a digital work environment, health system, training system to serve learning needs and digital utility system serving daily needs.

The others include a digital content system for entertainment, digital platform to provide transportation services, smart plant for production, digital payment platforms, cyber security solutions, and a community to support digital transformation in Viet Nam.

The Ministry of Information and Communications said that the global COVID-19 pandemic posed a huge challenge for all countries, which could change the national ranking and competitiveness.

The Ministry also noted that this was an opportunity in difficult situations to accelerate the process of digital transformation, online public services, digital health, digital education, cashless payment, e-commerce and the digital economy.

This was also an opportunity to guide and gradually universalise digital skills for the majority of people, which were the main force using digital government services, digital economy and society in the future.

COVID-19 to cut Thailand’s growth by 4.8 percent this year: ADB

The normally-bustling Siam Square in Bangkok, Thailand is nearly empty (Photo: www.bangkokpost.com)

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has predicted that the Thai economy will shrink by 4.8 percent this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, heading for its deepest contraction since the Asian financial crisis in 1998.

In a recent report, ADB also said the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) will recover to 2.5 percent in 2021.

Exports of goods and services are projected to continue to decline this year, mainly due to the pandemic, before turning around next year. The impact of the disease on merchandise exports is likely to become clearer in the second quarter of 2020.

Some exports such as electronics, automobiles and chemical products are likely to suffer hits from supply chain disruptions in mainland China, while other exports, notably metal products, machinery and equipment, could gain from trade diversion, though probably not enough to offset the impact from supply chain disruption.

Exports of services are also expected to decline in 2020 with a significant drop in foreign tourist arrivals but will rebound in 2021 as they return, the ADB added.

Meanwhile, the Siam Commercial Bank's Economic Intelligence Center and the Standard Chartered Bank in Thailand forecast a contraction of 5.6 percent and 5 percent, respectively.

The Thai government recently unveiled a fresh stimulus package worth 1.68 trillion baht (over 50.87 billion USD), or about 10 percent of its GDP, to cushion the blow from the COVID-19.

Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak said the package will cover all economic sectors for at least the next six months./.

COVID-19: Thailand’s new economic package to be worth 10 percent of GDP

Thailand’s new economic package to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic will be worth about 10 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP), Deputy Prime Minister Somkid Jatusripitak has said.

Deputy PM Somkid stated that the package will cover all economic sectors for at least the next six months.

If possible, final approval will be sought from the cabinet on April 7, he added.

He did not give a specific value for the package, but the GDP of Southeast Asia’s second-largest economy last year was 16.88 trillion baht (512.76 billion USD). The measures will be partly financed by the fiscal budget and borrowing, he said.

The latest package follows last month’s two sets of stimulus measures together worth more than 500 billion baht.

The Bank of Thailand (BOT) expects the country’s economy to contract 5.3 percent this year, the worst since the 1998 Asian financial crisis.

 
 

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