BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES FEB. 26

Vietnam to enhance agriculture risk management capacity

BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES FEB. 26

Việt Nam needs to enhance its agricultural risk management capacity, experts told a workshop held in HCM City last week.

According to Dr Võ Thị Kim Sa, vice rector of the School of Management for Agriculture and Rural Development II, agriculture faces potential risks from weather, epidemics and market and price instability.

Việt Nam has in recent years issued a number of policies to support the agriculture sector including to encourage farmers and agricultural stakeholders to participate in insurance programmes to minimise the risks.

However, most farmers and co-operatives have yet to take part in insurance programmes.

Nguyễn Văn Thạch, a member of the management of the Da Xanh Grapefruit Cooperative in Bến Tre Province, said agriculture was increasingly faced with challenges due to climate change, natural disasters and market instability.

Most farmers depended too much on traders due to their lack of expertise in branding, marketing and trading of their products, he said.

“Most farmers would want to participate in agricultural insurance programmes to minimise the risks,” he said.

Jean Yves Drolet, an expert at the agricultural insurance division of the Canadian Cooperation Society for International Development (Socodevi), said most Vietnamese agricultural producers and stakeholders lacked risk management measures.

The Government would only provide assistance in case of losses due to natural disasters and epidemics on a case-by-case basis, he pointed out.

Melanie Dumont of the Ministry of Economics and Innovation of Canada’s Quebec City said it was vital to develop a strategy for connecting financial institutions and farmers to build risk management capacity to ensure that farmers are guaranteed a stable income even in case of natural disasters or market fluctuations.

A survey by the Việt Nam Cooperative Enterprises Development (VCED) has found there is permanent risk to agriculture in Việt Nam from the climate change and natural disasters like drought and salinity intrusion.

Fluctuations in market prices that occur frequently and are difficult to predict also disadvantage farmers.

It is important to strengthen the capacity of farmers to improve their livelihoods and adopt innovations, experts say.

Only 0.5 per cent of co-operatives have managed to get bank loans without mortgages, according to the survey.

Canada has funded a project in 2015-20 to improve the competitiveness and productivity of Vietnamese agricultural co-operatives.

The VCED-run project has supported five large agricultural co-operatives in Sóc Trăng, Bình Thuận, Ninh Thuận, Lâm Đồng, and Bến Tre provinces.

It seeks to improve the livelihoods of farmers through development of an agriculture value chain.

The project covers the establishment of new market-oriented agricultural co-operatives, enhancing the knowledge, skill and competitiveness of farmers, fine-tuning co-operative management practices, and developing policies and a regulatory environment to foster co-operatives.

More than 10,000 farm households are expected to benefit from it.

The project was implemented by Socodevi and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s School of Management for Agriculture and Rural Development II.

Socodevi is a Canadian non-profit that supports cooperatives as engines of sustainable and inclusive socio-economic development. Its main goal is to improve the lives of families in developing countries. 

Shopping malls flounder in wake of coronavirus outbreak

The coronavirus outbreak has had a marked negative effect on high-performing shopping malls like Vincom Center, Lotte Mart (Hanoi capital), Giga Mall, Saigon Center, or Pearl Plaza (Ho Chi Minh City).

According to VIR’s observations, Vincom Center Ba Trieu that usually bustles during the weekends is now blanketed in silence. Specifically, food and coffee chains like King BBQ or Highland Coffee only manage to draw in a few customers. GV cinemas have also been floundering since the epidemic exploded.

In addition to the recent quiet, Vincom Center Ba Trieu has not managed to rent out all store areas despite its favourable location in an area of high- and middle-income residents. The situation is not fully the fault of COVID-19 – it has lasted since the beginning of the second quarter last year – though has been exacerbated by it.

In Ho Chi Minh City, Giga Mall has reported a similar drop in performance in the past days. A representative of the Korean BBQ chain there said, “Our revenue is only a half of the same period last year. Customers come only at a trickle even during the weekends.”

In addition to the poor sales caused by the health crisis, lease at the shopping malls remain unchanged while overheads and utilities, as well as coronavirus-accrued expenses have been a burden. “The fall in revenue has affected the earnings of our staff,” said a representative.

Acccording to real estate consultant Collier's latest report, the leasing price at Giga Mall is $25 per square metre per month. The minimum space for a food court is 250sq.m. Thus, the store chain may have to pay about $6,250 for lease.

Such a high leasing priceseems untenable amidst the epidemic. "If the crisis lasts, we may leave the shopping mall to cut operation costs,” said the representative of King BBQ.

Echoing this view, Nguyen Kim Ly, manager of a fashion store in a big shopping mall in District 1, said that the revenue these days is well below the VND30-40 million ($1,300-1,740) a day it made in the previous year as shoppers are few and far between. However, the situation is not so dire thanks to improving online sales.

The CGV cinema at Pearl Plaza has also seen a significant drop in revenue these days. “Blockbusters were not enough to lure in customers, with visitor count a solid one-third down against the time before the epidemic,” said a CGV’s staff.

Regarding the effects of the coronavirus on retailers and also shopping malls, Stephen Wyatt, country head of JLL Vietnam, told VIR that the effect of this outbreak is still limited. “We expect the impact to be short-term, and most investors and operators are adopting a wait-to-see attitude and delaying making major decisions."

Services sector to promote IT application

The Prime Minister has launched an initiative to restructure the services sector using advanced technology and artificial intelligence to improve competitiveness.

The project was approved by the Prime Minister recently.

The project will focus on developing key services such as finance and banking, logistics and transportation, information technology and communications, science and technology, education and training, healthcare, tourism and retail. The legal framework will be improved to encourage the development of high-quality services.

The project has set a growth target for the services sector of 7-7.5 per cent per year from 2021-25, from 6.6-7.1 per cent from 2016-20. The services sector will account for 43-44 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) by 2025, from 42 per cent in 2020, under the plan.

The percentage of trained workers in the services sector will increase from 25 per cent in 2020 to 30-35 per cent by 2025.

For the finance and banking sector, Vietnam has a target of promoting one or two banks into Asia’s 100 largest by assets. In addition, cashless payment will also be encouraged.

The Ministry of Finance will develop a finance strategy and submit it to the Government for approval before 2021. The State Bank of Vietnam will be in charge of developing a decree about cashless payments this year.

The project also aims to turn the information and technology industry into a spearhead sector with rapid but sustainable growth, with high revenue and export value. Vietnam will be capable of producing important IT, electronic and telecommunications equipment to serve the country’s socio-economic development, and create a foundation for the development of a knowledge-based, digital economy.

In the retail sector, the project targets lifting revenue from modern retail channels (shopping centres, supermarkets and convenience stores) from 30 per cent in 2020 to 38 per cent in 2025.

E-commerce is expected to increase 20 per cent per year and contribute around five per cent to total retail sales of goods and services.

The project targets that the retail sector will contribute 13.5 per cent of GDP by 2025.

Education and training will also be enhanced with at least 4.6 million people receiving training each year and 85 per cent achieving higher productivity and incomes after training.

Regarding the logistics and transportation sector, the project sets a goal of achieving a growth rate of 15-20 per cent per year, and for the sector to contribute 8-10 per cent of GDP. In addition, logistics costs will be reduced to 10-15 per cent of GDP from 25 per cent, driving the sector into the world’s top 50.

Vietnam also aims to attract 32 million international tourists and 130 million domestic tourists by 2020, with the tourism sector contributing 10 per cent of GDP with total revenue of US$45 billion, creating six million jobs.

Focus will also be placed on improving healthcare services and applying advanced technology in treatment.

Policies to encourage the private sector to invest in healthcare services will be developed.

Customs clearances resumed at Lang Son border gates

Relevant Vietnamese and Chinese agencies have resumed customs clearances for exports and imports at border gates situated throughout the northern province of Lang Son.

customs clearances resumed at lang son border gates hinh 0Between February 5 and February 23, customs clearances have been provided to 3,302 vehicles that have passed through the Huu Nghi and Tan Thanh border gates in the locality.
The People's Committee of Lang Son province are poised to direct relevant units operating at border gates to closely co-ordinate actions whilst implementing documents put forward by the government, relevant ministries, and the provincial People's Committee.

These actions will ensure that preventive measures against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) epidemic are taken whilst simultaneously facilitating the customs clearance of goods.

Lang Son province will continue holding talks alongside Chinese authorities in a bid to resume import and export activities through other sub-border gates in the near future, such as Coc Nam and Binh Nghi, whilst also taking drastic preventive measures to combat the epidemic.

Currently, the Chinese side have just permitted customs clearances for export activities through official channels under the contracts that exist between enterprises of both sides.

The People's Committee of Lang Son province has therefore proposed that firms and traders that send export goods to provincial border gates must meet export conditions via official channels in order to avoid congestion and economic damage.

Forestry industry to gain export value growth of 10% this year

Viet Nam expects to gain a total export value of US$12.5 billion from timber, wooden products and forest products this year, up 10 per cent year on year, according to the Viet Nam Timber and Forest Product Association (VIFORES).

Of which, $8.68 billion would come from timber exports and $2.99 billion from wooden product exports, while other forest products would gain an export value of $830 million.

In terms of market, the US this year is forecasted to be the largest export market for local timber, wooden and forest products with an expected export value of $6.1 billion, up 15 per cent year on year.

Following is Japan with an export value of $1.52 billion, up 10 per cent; the EU with $1.13 billion, up 10 per cent; and China with $1.21 billion, up 5 per cent.

The US housing market is expected to be brighter this year, leading to an increase in the demand for furniture. That will be an opportunity for Vietnamese wood enterprises to increase their market share in this market, according to VIFORES

Meanwhile, local experts said the US imposing higher import tariffs on Chinese products has caused higher prices for those products in the US market, including furniture, so US companies will increase imports of furniture from other markets, including Viet Nam.

However, local enterprises would face risks relating to origin fraud because made-in-China products could be shipped to Viet Nam and then exported to the US with made-in-Viet Nam labels. That would avoid the high tariffs on Chinese products exported to the US.

To avoid this, experts said State agencies should coordinate with localities to review production and business activities of foreign invested enterprises and products exported from Viet Nam to the US, as well as imported from China to Viet Nam.

In addition, the process of issuing origin certificates should be checked carefully to ensure those certificates are granted to qualified products.

Meanwhile, local businesses need to strengthen cooperation and establish production chains from raw material production to export. Those will reduce transaction and production costs and improve efficiency in production and business.

VIFORES chairman Do Xuan Lap said Vietnamese businesses have exported timber and wood products to the US market for many years, so they have implemented the requirements of this market. Viet Nam has exported artificial wood and softwood such as rubber and acacia wood to the US and imported oak and walnut wood from this market.

Transparency in origin is an important factor, because that helps the local businesses exporting products to the US market avoid anti-dumping tariffs and increase market shares.

Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Ha Cong Tuan said the forest industry should focus on developing markets and also production chains to improve quality of wooden products for domestic consumption and export.

Tuan said the State should pay attention to policies on developing other forest products to create a favourable business environment for individuals and businesses producing those products.

In the medium term, according to the association, the forestry sector should promote investment to complete the value chain from production, design to brand.

At present, the value of Viet Nam's wooden products is mainly in the production stage. Meanwhile, on the world market, 70 per cent of the value of one wooden product comes from design and 30 per cent is from production. Moreover, the global market has competitiveness in quality and design but not in price.

Therefore, design and branding are important factors to improve the competitiveness of Viet Nam’s wooden and furniture products in the future.

According to the General Department of Customs, Viet Nam's export value of timber and wood products in 2019 reached $10.65 billion, up 19.5 per cent year on year. Of which, the export value to the US rose by almost 40 per cent to $5.33 billion.

Wooden and furniture products are mainly produced in central and southern provinces, including Binh Duong, Dong Nai, Long An, Tay Ninh and Binh Dinh.

HCM City to expand collective economic model

As the first collective economic unit operating in the field of environmental sanitation in Hoc Mon District, Bao Tin Co-operative faced difficulties in its first two years of operation because of a lack of management experience and qualified staff.

In addition, many people at the time did not want to join the cooperative. But all of these difficulties were gradually overcome, and after 10 years of establishment, the cooperative has achieved many encouraging results.

Ly Van Hoa, the co-operative’s director, said “From having only 11 staff in charge of collecting garbage in the initial stage, the co-operative now has 105 workers who collect garbage from more than 41,000 households and nearly 700 production facilities, businesses, and administrative units in many communes in Hoc Mon District, with the total amount collected about 60 tonnes a day.”

Established in 1989, Saigon Co.op in 2018 increased its revenue by 30,000 times to VND30 trillion (US$1.29 billion).

Its first supermarket, Co.opmart Cong Quynh, opened in 1996 and has since developed a series of modern retail businesses that cover all retail segments These include Co.op Food, HTVCo.op TV shopping channel, Co.opXtra hypermarket, Sense City shopping mall, Co.op Smiles modern grocery stores, and Cheers 24-hour convenience store.

It now has more than 800 supermarkets and malls and receives over one million customers a day.

These are among the most successful co-operative models in HCM City.

Le Thanh Liem, deputy chairman of the city's People’s Committee, said the city had achieved positive results after 15 years of implementing the Party Central Committee’s resolution on continued reform, development and improvement of the collective economy model.

By the end of 2018, the number of co-operative groups, co-operatives and unions of co-operatives had increased significantly to reach 2,097, 612, and six, respectively, he said.

They operate in various sectors, including services and trading, transportation, environmental hygiene, agriculture, industry, crafts, and credit, he added.

According to the city's Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, 91 co-operatives are involved in the agricultural sector, an increase of 69 compared to 15 years ago.

The average capital of each cooperative increased from over VND1.4 trillion ($60.35 million) in 2004 to VND3.4 trillion ($146.5 million) last year, and the average annual revenue also went up from nearly VND300 million ($12,922) to over VND5.8 billion ($249,830), and average profit increased from VND66.4 to VND542 million, it said.

The collective economic model has also achieved positive results in the field of trade and services, according to the Department of Industry and Trade.

Notably, the city has nearly 20 new-style cooperatives in the field of exploiting and management of traditional markets. These cooperatives have managed the operation of markets on behalf of the State, with the State collecting annual fees without having to pay salaries for the management board at the traditional markets as it had done previously.

Liem said: “The number of co-operatives and unions of co-operatives with working capital in the hundreds of billions and thousands of billions is rising. Many have expanded across the country and export their products to many markets.”

The collective economic sector has helped create jobs and increase incomes for its members, he added.

But he also noted that there are still limitations in developing the collective economy.

Most co-operatives are small with limited funds, lack business strategies, have poor management compared with other economic sectors, and are disadvantaged in an integrated economy, he said.

To improve the efficiency of the collective economic model, in the 2021-30 period the city will focus on developing a new-style co-operative model, he said.

It also targets setting up 300 co-operatives and five unions of co-operatives, he said.

The sector is expected to achieve annual growth of 7 per cent, account for 0.6 per cent of the city’s economy, and create 30,000 jobs each year, he said.

The city also seeks to increase the ratio of co-operative leaders with college and university degrees to 60 per cent, he said.

To achieve these targets, the city will implement a number of measures such as increasing the capital of the City Cooperative Member Support Fund to VND2 trillion ($86.1 million) by 2030.

It will continue to connect credit organisations and co-operatives, provide training to co-operative managers, and help promote their products and improve their technologies.

Diep Dung, Saigon Co.op chairman, said the city should help co-operatives access finance and land.

With co-operatives expanding, the Government should amend the 2012 Co-operative Law to suit their current development status, he added.

Nguyen Thien Nhan, secretary of the city's Party Committee, asked relevant departments and agencies would review and improve policies on land, capital and technology in the collective economic sector to raise the sector’s operational efficiency.

The city needs to expand high-efficient co-operative models and quickly make five-year plans for collective economic development in each sector, including agriculture, transportation, environmental hygiene, credit funds, housing and others, he said.

Departments and sectors should come up with solutions for problems faced by co-operatives related to the use of agricultural land as well as access to loans from banks for production, purchase of machinery, and building of facilities, he added. 

Structural reform and businesses’ competitiveness vital to grab CPTPP opportunities

Improving structural reforms and businesses’ competitiveness is critical to efficiently implement the Comprehensive and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) in Viet Nam, heard a conference held by the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM) on Wednesday in Ha Noi.

 

The CIEM’s Director Tran Thi Hong Minh said the CPTPP, which took effect in early 2019, was expected to create new impetus for trade and investment development and boost economic reform in Viet Nam.

However, Minh said efficiency in implementing CPTPP and competence in taking advantage of opportunities provided by the trade deal was heavily dependent on institutional capacities, the competitiveness and domestic firms' ability to adapt.

According to Nguyen Anh Duong, head of the CIEM’s General Research Department, it was necessary for Viet Nam to handle several institution-related problems to efficiently implement the CPTPP, including fully understanding the trade deal, enhancing co-ordination among ministries and agencies and timely issueing legal documents.

Duong added that the trade deal provided signicant opportunities to businesses but firms must make more preparations to realise the opportunities. Firms were paying more attention to taxes and tariff liberalisation but must also fully understand origin rules, he said.

Duong said opportunities would come first from businesses’ efforts to change their thinking and improve their competitiveness, adding that room for businesses to take advantage of the trade deal remained large.

Vo Tri Thanh, Director of the Institute for Brand and Competitiveness Strategy, said that as the CPTPP would push structural reform, implementing the trade deal would follow the commitments then more importantly, go beyond commitments for efficiency.

Nguyen Thi Trang, Director of WTO and Integration Centre under the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the CPTPP set requirements and created pressure for structural reforms in Viet Nam.

Together with the European Union – Viet Nam Free Trade Agreement, Viet Nam had singificnat economic opportunities, Trang said, adding that it was critical to speed up institutional reforms.

Tariff incentives provided by the trade deals would provide opportunities to boost the development of the part-supply industry, Trang said.

Trade between Viet Nam and CPTPP members reached US$77.4 billion in 2019, a year-on-year rise of 3.9 per cent, statistics of the Ministry of Industry and Trade revealed.

Bac Lieu hopes $4b Singapore LNG project will attract more FDI

The Bac Lieu People’s Committee hopes the licence it granted to a Singapore company for a liquefied natural gas-fired (LNG) power plant in the province is going to be a significant factor in attracting further foreign investment.

Last month, the province approved the construction of the plant by Delta Offshore Energy Pte.Ltd (DOE), the largest foreign project in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta to date, according to the committee.

Duong Thanh Trung, the chairman of the province, hoped the plant, worth some US$4 billion, would help change the province’s economic structure.

It is expected to create thousands of jobs and contribute more than VND3 trillion ($129.6 million) a year to the State budget, he said.

He urged DOE and its partners to ensure the project progresses on schedule, promising them most favourable conditions possible.

The 3,200MW plant will have four turbines of 750MW each and one with a capacity of 200MW, the former to go on stream at the end of 2023 and the latter in 2027.

Bac Lieu wants to attract investments in certain sectors such as renewable energy, hi-tech agriculture, trade, services, tourism, education, and healthcare, Trung said.

The province aims to become a regional and national energy hub by 2030, he added.

Bac Lieu has a 56km coastline where the wind blows steadily, making it ideal for generating renewable energy.

The project has lifted the province to 21st position from 44th in cumulative foreign direct investment (FDI) attraction in the country and third in the Mekong Delta, after Long An and Kien Giang provinces.

Viet Nam attracted FDI worth $5.33 billion in January, up 2.8 times year-on-year, according to the Foreign Investment Agency under the Ministry of Planning and Investment.

Besides, investment through mergers and acquisitions was worth $534.8 million, it said.

Singapore was the largest investor with $4.16 billion, or 78.1 per cent of all investment.

It was followed by South Korea with $264.5 million and Hong Kong with $212 million.

Viet Nam aims to boost exports to India to solve virus difficulties

Viet Nam has asked India to help consume its agro-fishery products and fruits as the country's exports are facing difficulties due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) in China.

Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Cao Quoc Hung recently met his Indian counterpart Anup Wadhawan in New Delhi to discuss the matter.

According to the Asia-Africa Market Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, dragon fruit is the only Vietnamese fruit that has been licensed to be imported into India.

Among aquatic exports, tra fish (pangasius) is one of the few that compete in the Indian market.

Evaluating Vietnamese fruits, Mohit Singla, chairman of the Indian Trade Promotion Council, said Vietnamese dragon fruit was more delicious than dragon fruit from many other countries.

He recommended the country should boost the promotion of this fruit so that all classes of Indian people could consume Vietnamese dragon fruit.

Singla suggested the Vietnamese Government ask for permission to export litchi to India.

To promote bilateral trade, Deputy Minister Hung asked the Indian Importers Chambers of Commerce and Industry to support trade promotion among Indian businesses and consumers to increase consumption of Vietnamese agro-fishery products, especially dragon fruit and tra fish, to support Vietnamese farmers in the current difficult time.

The deputy minister also asked the Indian Importers Chambers of Commerce and Industry to speak with the government of India to end trade restrictions applied to Vietnamese pepper, cashews and incense.

At the same time, he also asked the Indian side to not use measures to restrict trade so they could reach the target of turnover of US$15 billion soon.

Agreeing with Hung, his Indian counterpart Anup Wadhawan said apart from dragon fruit or tra fish, Viet Nam could boost exports of many other items to India.

Consumer finance firm FE Credit turns joint-stock

The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) has approved consumer finance firm FE Credit to change its legal status from limited liability to joint stock.

The company is responsible for making a public announcement about the change in accordance with existing regulations.

The central bank has also approved FE Credit to increase its charter capital by VNĐ5 billion (more than US$215,000) to more than VNĐ7.3 trillion.

FE Credit is fully owned by the Vietnam Prosperity Joint Stock Commercial Bank (VPBank).

The consumer finance firm is among the biggest in the sector, making total loans of VNĐ72.5 trillion in 2019, up 19 per cent on-year.

The company reported outstanding lending was nearly VND60.6 trillion in 2019, up 13.75 per cent on-year.

Pre-tax profit rose 8.2 per cent on-year to nearly VND4.5 trillion in 2019. The company announced its return-on-asset (ROA) and return-on-equity (ROE) ratios were 5.5 per cent and 34.8 per cent, respectively.

The company has contributed 40-50 per cent of VPBank’s total profit in recent years.

VND4.61 trillion mobilised through G-bond auction

The State Treasury mobilised VND4.61 trillion (US$198.5 million) from a recent G-bond auction on the Ha Noi Stock Exchange (HNX).

As many as VND4 trillion worth of bonds were offered, including 7-year, 10-year, 15-year, and 20-year bonds at VND1 trillion each.

Bonds with 7-year maturity raised VND110 billion with an annual interest rate of 2.24 per cent, equal to the previous auction on January 15.

Those with a 10-year term attracted VND1 trillion with an annual yield rate of 2.77 per cent, down 0.14 percentage points from the auction on February 12. A sub-session auction of 10-year bonds drew VND500 billion more.

Meanwhile, 15-year bonds were purchased with a total value of VND1 trillion, and an interest rate of 2.85 per cent, decreasing 0.18 percentage points from the auction on February 12. A sub-session auction of 15-year bonds mobilised VND500 billion more.

As much as VND1 trillion was collected via 20-year bonds with a yield rate of 3.09 per cent, down by 0.06 percentage points offered at the January 21 auction. A sub-session auction of 20-year bonds attracted VND500 billion more.

From the outset of this year, the State Treasury mobilised more than VND18.4 trillion via six auctions on the HNX.

New industrial zone approved for Binh Dinh Province

Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung has approved in principle the development of Binh Dinh Becamex Industrial Zone (IZ) in the central province of Binh Dinh, according to the province.

Expected to cost more than VND3.33 trillion (US$143 million), the IZ will span 1,000ha in Canh Vinh Commune, Van Canh District. It will be developed by Becamex Binh Dinh JSC headquartered in the province's Quy Nhon City.

Of the project's total investment capital, some VND500 billion will come from the project’s investor, more than VND2 trillion from bank loans and the rest from other sources, online newspaper baochinhphu.vn.

The project must be executed within 10 years from the date its investment was approved.

The Deputy PM assigned the provincial government to manage site clearance and compensation and collect feedback from ministries and agencies during the execution of the project.

The zone will be built under a co-operation agreement on socio-economic development between Binh Dinh and Binh Duong provinces. It is expected to help Binh Dinh create a breakthrough in socio-economic development, the provincial website quoted the committee's vice chairman Nguyen Phi Long as saying.

The project is part of Becamex Binh Dinh Integrated Township and Industrial Park, which extends over 2,308 hectares.

The province has invested some VND1.5 trillion in developing infrastructure on the 13-kilometre-long Provincial Road 638 in the west to connect Becamex Binh Dinh Integrated Township and Industrial Park with Quy Nhon City, according to the portal.

Provinces call for investment in real estate projects

A number of provinces across the country are calling for investment in key real estate projects, attracting the attention of real estate businesses with strong capacity.

Mai Trung Hung, deputy director of Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province’s Department of Construction, said that 37 key projects, including 16 public investment projects, are seeking investment.

The department has been assigned by the provincial People’s Committee to invite bids for the South Vung Tau New Urban Area Project, he said.

Covering ​​69.46 hectares, the project, with a cost of VND4.62 trillion (US$198.75 million), includes townhouses, villas, apartments and shopping centres in wards 10 and 11 in Vung Tau City.

In addition, the province has agreed on the investor selection procedures for 12 projects.

There are five major projects that the province has not called for investors due to problems related to site clearance and investment procedures.

The province said it would solve the problems so that bidding for these projects could start this year.

In addition, Dong Nai Province is calling for investment in two social housing projects, including one project covering 1.41 hectares in Long Binh Tan Ward in Bien Hoa City, and another project covering 5 hectares in Loc An Commune in Long Thanh District, which has completed technical infrastructure.

Meanwhile, Binh Phuoc is calling for investment in Suoi Cam Lake resort with an area of nearly ​​1.8 hectares located in Tan Phu and Tien Thanh wards in Tan Thanh Commune in Dong Xoai City.

Thai Van Thang, deputy head of Long An Province’s Department of Planning and Investment’s Foreign Economic Relations Division, said the province would invite bids for investment in 10 projects, most of them property projects, in the first quarter.

The projects have been licensed for many years, but have had their licences withdrawn because of long delays. The province will have to conduct bidding again, he said.

Ngo Duc Son, deputy general director of DRH Holdings, said many provinces have focused on calling for investment, especially in property projects, providing information on planning and criteria of each project to investors.

However, Son said the provinces should diversify investment promotion programmes.

“For large projects, investors need to prepare for investment plans, capital sources and seek partners, which takes at least two to three years to finish investment procedures,” he noted.

According to Son, potential investors with strong financial capacity should be selected. Many businesses just register for investment for land speculation and then transfer it to others to earn a profit.

In many cases, after cleared land was allocated to businesses, many projects were delayed for a long time, causing damage to localities, he noted.

Lawyer Nguyen Van Hung of HCM City Bar Association pointed out that although the Investment Law has specific provisions on the extension of projects, law enforcement remains weak. Many projects have been delayed for up to 10-15 years, and have not been handled well by localities.

Localities must improve investment promotion activities, choose better investors, and apply stricter sanctions on investment violations so that capable investors with a strong financial capacity will be attracted to the projects, he said. 

Masan Consumer acquires 52 per cent in Net Detergent JSC

Masan HPC Company Limited (HPC), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Masan Consumer Corporation (MCH), has successfully acquired a 52 per cent stake of Net Detergent JSC (NETCO) at an average price of VND48,000 (US$2.07) per share, according to a press release.

This implies a full valuation of NETCO at $46 million and a price to earnings multiple of 13.

MCH plans to partner with NETCO to unlock potential synergies and drive double digit growth in the medium term.

The immediate focus will be to integrate NETCO with Masan’s general trade distribution network with 300,000 points of sale and modern trade platform with 3,000 supermarkets and minimart stores nationwide. At present, 35-40 per cent of the home and personal care market is consumed in the modern trade channel.

NETCO, established in 1968, is a local home care business. The company achieved net revenue of VND1.15 trillion ($49.5 million) in 2019, which rose 3.6 per cent compared to 2018. Post-tax net profit reached VND81 billion, up by 42.3 per cent year-on-year, primarily driven by its two popular laundry detergent brands, NET and NETSOFT.

In 2018, NETCO delivered net revenue of VND1.1 trillion and post-tax net profit of VND57 billion.

The company’s current market share in the laundry segment is 1.5 per cent, currently trailing Unilever (54.9 per cent), Procter and Gamble (16.0 per cent), Dai Viet Huong (11.6 per cent), LIX (2.7 per cent) and Vico (2.4 per cent).

MCH, a subsidiary of Masan Group Corporation, is one of Viet Nam’s largest branded food and beverage companies with large consumer categories such as seasonings, convenience food and beverages. MHC’s well-known brands include Chin-su, Nam Ngu, Tam Thai Tu, Omachi, Kokomi, Vinacafe, Wake-Up, Wake-up 247, Vivant and Vinh Hao. 

Airlines, travel firms seeking to attract domestic tourists amid coronavirus

Dang Anh Dung from Ha Dong District said that it cost him just a total of around VND4 million (USD173.91) million for four return air tickets to Tuy Hoa City in Phu Yen Province from February 27 to March 2, including fees and surcharges.

“I have never bought such cheap return tickets before, even at low season," Dung said.

The prices for tickets from Hanoi to Quy Nhon, Danang and HCM City have also been sharply cut.

Single tickets on Hanoi-Phu Quoc route are now merely between VND300,000-600,000, excluding surcharges and fees, depending on different airlines.

National flag carrier Vietnam Airlines have announced to sell Hanoi-HCM City one-way tickets at just from VND589,000, excluding fees, for flights from February 2 to March 31.

Vietnamese airlines have temporarily suspended their flights to China due to coronavirus, meaning that around 400 flights halted per week. Many of the carriers' airplanes have been left idle.

Nguyen Thu Thao who often travels on HCM City-Hanoi route said that the number of passengers on the route had drastically dropped since the coronavirus outbreak. For instance, a flight which departed from HCM City at 11 pm last week had just 10 passengers.

During the time of suspending flights to China, Vietnam Airlines has leased some Airbus A321 and used very modern aircraft such as Airbus A350-900 and Boeing 787-9/10s for the Hanoi-HCM City route.

Prices of many tours have fallen to record lows. For instance, a Hanoi-Quy Nhon tour for three days and two nights at the end of February is being sold at VND1.49 million for a person. The price for a Hanoi-Can Tho tour is VND1.9 million.

Travel companies and airlines have planned to boost domestic tours in the context of being affected by coronavirus.

Tourism promotions for Binh Dinh, Phu Yen, Dak Lak and Gia Lai provinces will be held on February 21.

Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Ngoc Thien has urged the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT) to complete a set of safety criteria for tourism services.

The VNAT is building mobile applications on smart tourism, including maps about safe destinations for visitors.

More Russians, Indians visit Vietnam in 2019

About 650,000 Russians visited Vietnam in 2019, up 6.6 percent from 2018, while the number of Indian tourists nearly doubled the 2016 figure to reach 25,000, reported the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT).

In order to better tap the two markets, the VNAT signed a number of cooperation agreements with Russian and Indian tourism agencies, including promoting marketing campaigns with the message “Vietnam – A Safe Destination” in the two countries.

It also held tourism promotion activities, fairs, culture days and weeks with the participation of many firms.

Vietnam’s carriers along with Russian and Indian partners will also enhance connectivity to facilitate people-to-people exchange and travel./.

 
 

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