VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS HEADLINES NOVEMBER 2

Vietnam-Cambodia business forum slated for December

A Vietnam – Cambodia business cooperation forum and a caravan tour for Vietnamese and Cambodian businesspeople will take place in Cambodia from December 5 – 8, heard a press conference in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho on November 1.

To be organised by the Can Tho chapter of Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Tien Giang entrepreneurs’ club in Ho Chi Minh City, the forum, the first of its kind in Cambodia, is expected to open up economic, trade and investment opportunities for the two countries’ businesses.

As many as 180 businesspeople and 50 cars from 20 Vietnamese cities and provinces will join the caravan tour.

VCCI Can Tho Director Nguyen Phuong Lam said Cambodia borders four Mekong Delta provinces, including An Giang, Kien Giang, Dong Thap and Long An. Trade and investment ties between the two countries have seen positive changes in recent years.

As of the late 2019, Vietnam had over 200 projects worth more than 3 billion USD in Cambodia while Cambodia poured over 64 million USD in more than 21 projects in Vietnam.

Two-way trade neared 4 billion USD in the first nine months of this year, which is expected to hit 5 billion USD by 2020.

According to Lam, VCCI Can Tho plans to hold an annual event rotating between Cambodia and the Mekong Delta to boost trade and investment between the two nations./.

Singapore forums talks Vietnam’s business environment

The Institute of Southeast Asian Studies (ISEAS) and Fulbright School of Public Policy and Management organised a forum on Vietnam’s business environment in Singapore on November 1, attracting hundreds of experts, scholars and businesspeople.

Participants touched upon Vietnam’s political-economic situation and international economic integration, as well as legal reforms in the country since 2016 and their impact on the local business environment.

They also looked into issues regarding the banking-finance sector, infrastructure, energy and real estate in Vietnam.

In his opening remarks, ISEAS Director Choi Shing Kwok said despite global trade tensions, substantial opportunities are awaiting Vietnam.

When businesses seek to diverse their operation or withdraw from China, they will choose Vietnam that boasts a dynamic and fast-growing economy, and 70 percent of its 90-million population aged below 35.

In an interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency, he lauded Vietnam’s active role in the region and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in particular.

As one of the leading nations in ASEAN, Vietnam has a strong strategic vision that the 10-member grouping needs at this time to find its path in the context of global geo-political uncertainties.

Vietnam is also a responsible country in the United Nations, he said, adding that the country is expected to help promote ASEAN’s role and viewpoints to the world./.

Vietsovpetro welcomes first oil flow from Bach Ho field’s BK-20 rig

The Vietnam - Russia oil and gas joint venture (Vietsovpetro) has welcomed the first flow of commercial oil from the BK-20 rig belonging to the Bach Ho field.

The initial oil flow is 288 tonnes per day.

Putting the BK-20 rig into operation has helped increase oil and gas production of the joint venture in 2029 to 1,152 tonnes.

The Vietnamese side in Vietsovpetro reported that it earned 722.3 million USD in profit in the first nine months of this year, surpassing the plan for the period by 22.7 percent.

Meanwhile, the profit of the Russian side was 111 million USD.

The joint venture’s crude oil exploitation, natural gas production, and supply of gas to the inland also exceeded plans by 6.7 percent, 15 percent and 54.3 percent./.

Vinh Phuc welcomes over 15.5 million tourists in three years

The northern midland province of Vinh Phuc welcomed over 15.5 million tourists between 2017 and 2019, according to the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

The department said over the past three years, the number of holiday-makers to Vinh Phuc grew 15 percent on average, helping to increase the local budget and improve living standards.

In 2017, the locality served 4.45 million visitors, including 33,500 foreigners. The numbers are expected to reach 5.9 million and 43,100, respectively, this year. Each vacationer spends about one and a half days in the province.

Revenue generated by the tourism sector increased from 1.42 trillion VND (61.5 million USD) in 2017 to around 1.8 trillion VND in 2019.

Vinh Phuc has 409 accommodation establishments with more than 7,500 rooms, including 41 hotels rated from two to five starts. Among the 10 travel businesses operating in the locality, there are four international companies.

Located 80km to the north of Hanoi, Vinh Phuc has optimised its geographical advantage and natural resources, as well as historical and cultural relic sites, to become a safe and friendly tourist destination.

To ensure safety for tourists, Vinh Phuc has instructed competent agencies and localities to intensify inspections, and asked restaurants, entertainment sites and accommodation establishments to maintain service prices even in the peak season, while paying attention to environmental protection and food hygiene.

A wide range of products have been developed to lure more visitors, including eco-tourism, homestays, cultural-spiritual tourism, resort tourism, and MICE (Meeting, Incentive, Conference and Event) tourism.

Notably, several newly-launched tours have attracted a slew of travellers such as the one-day tour to conquer Tam Dao Mountain Range, the “Spiritual Path” tour, and the Hai Luu stork reserve, among others.

The province is home to several popular tourist destinations. Notably, Tam Dao is an ideal summer resort in the north, standing 900m above sea level.

Tam Dao National Park is nearby where the vegetation coverage is representative of five types of tropical forest. The flora consists of 904 species and the rich fauna includes 307 species.

At the foot of Tam Dao Mountain, Dai Lai Lake is an artificial reservoir. Dai Lai is blessed with a favourable climate, cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Over the lake lies a 3-hectare island which is home to different kinds of birds. Tourists also have a chance to enjoy panoramic views of the lake from the top of Than Lan Mountain.

Located 90km from Tam Dao, Tay Thien is well-known for its beautiful forests, streams, waterfalls and grottoes.

The province also has bountiful tangible and intangible cultural sites with nearly 1,000 relics that include Ha Tien Pagoda, Binh Son Tower, Huong Canh Temple, Hai Ba Trung Temple and Dong Dau archeological site. Visitors will also be fascinated by traditional feasts, peculiar crafts, melodious folk songs, traditional games and tasty local dishes.

Trong Quan Duc Bac singing - folk singing between male and female groups – has been practised by locals in Vinh Phuc for centuries and become a cultural “speciality” of the locality.

The art form involves a spontaneous back and forth repartee accompanied by drums. The witty response of singers on various topics and in different voices is a unique feature of this folk art.

Each spring, young men from Duc Bac village and young women from the neighbouring province of Phu Tho gather on the banks of a river in Duc Bac to engage in Trong Quan singing, through which they express their love. The singing then gradually moves to the yard of the communal house.

To turn the folk art into a unique tourism product for Vinh Phuc, it is necessary to organise performances at cultural-historic sites and popular tourist attractions, and include Trong Quan shows in community-based tours./.

Water resources exhibition returns to HCM City

VIETWATER 2019, Vietnam’s leading water supply, sanitation, water resources and purification exhibition, will return to Ho Chi Minh City in November, announced organisers on October 30.

Covering more than 10,000sq.m, the event will draw the participation of over 400 exhibitors from 38 nations and territories including Australia, China, Czech Republic, England, France, Germany, the Republic of Korea, Poland, Singapore, Taiwan (China) and Thailand.

On the sidelines of the exhibition, an international conference titled “Urban flooding – current status and solutions” will be held by the Vietnam Water Supply and Sewerage Association (VWSA).

Earlier, on July 24-26, VIETWATER 2019 took place in the capital city of Hanoi, welcoming over 200 exhibitors from 30 nations and regions/.

Brazil ends anti-dumping duty on Vietnamese cold-rolled stainless steel

The Trade Remedies Authority of Vietnam under Ministry of Industry and Trade reported the Brazilian Ministry of Economy has decided to terminate anti-dumping duties on cold-rolled stainless steel imported from Germany, Finland, the Republic of Korea and Vietnam.

Under its sunset review’s conclusion, the anti-dumping measures will be extended for steel sheets purchased from China and Taiwan (China) for five years.

The products subject to the anti-dumping duty are coded 7219.32.00, 7219.33.00, 7219.34.00, 7219.35.00 and 7220.20.00.

On October 3, 2018, Brazil initiated the sunset review after receiving petition from domestic steel producer Aperam Inox America do Sul S.A.

Earlier in 2012, Brazil launched an anti-dumping investigation into imports of cold-rolled stainless steel sheets from the six countries and territory. Accordingly, authorities in the American nation decided to impose a definitive anti-dumping tax ranging from 616.67 to 705.61 USD per tonne for Taiwanese exporters, from 1,030.2 to 1,076.86 USD for Finnish exporters, 952.9 USD for German exporters, from 267.84 to 940.47 USD for RoK exporters, and 568.27 USD for Vietnamese exporters. The duties entered into forced on October 4, 2013 for a period of five years.

The Trade Remedies Authority recommended local exporters to strictly follow the rules of origin to ensure stable export to Brazil./.

Vinh Phuc has 53 major energy users

There are 53 major energy users in the northern province of Vinh Phuc, more than 98 percent of them are industrial enterprises.

Under Decision No.1469/QD-TTg dated October 28, 2019, Vietnam has more than 2,600 key energy consumers, including over 2,100 industrial producers, 11 agricultural production facilities, over 70 transporters, and 410 construction works.

Decree No.21/2011/ND-CP regulated that major energy users are industrial and agricultural production establishments and transport units which annually consume energy of a total of 1,000 tonnes of oil equivalent (1,000 TOE) or higher, and construction works used as offices and houses, educational, medical, entertainment, physical training and sports establishments, hotels, supermarkets, restaurants and shops which annually consume 500 tonnes of oil equivalent (500 TOE) or higher.

The key energy consumers must build annual and five-year plans on using energies in an effective manner and in line with their production and business plans, and they are required to report their plans to local authorities, according to the Law on Economical and Efficient Use of Energy.

Besides, they must carry out energy audit every three years, and apply energy management models as instructed by competent authorities./.

HCM City’s CPI up 0.38 percent in October

The southern metropolis of Ho Chi Minh City posted a month-on-month rise of 0.38 percent in the consumer price index (CPI) in October, the municipal Statistics Office reported.

The office said the city’s CPI grew 3.78 percent in the January-October period as compared with the corresponding time last year.

Seven out of the 11 commodity groups recorded price hikes , namely food and catering services (up 0.5 percent), beverage and cigarette (0.04 percent), housing fees (0.37 percent), medicine and healthcare services (0.02 percent), transport (1.09 percent), education (1.09 percent), education (0.15 percent), and other goods and services (0.08 percent).

Meanwhile, three other groups saw price declines, including apparel, headwear and footwear (down 0.09 percent), postal and telecom services (0.09 percent), and culture, entertainment and tourism (0.02 percent). The group of household utensils maintained their prices.

Experts pointed out factors that pushed up the CPI such as the African swine fever, floods and rising world gas price.

According to the office, the price of gold in October was down 0.71 percent month-on-month, but up 14.96 percent against December 2018 and 14.68 percent year-on-year.

The price of US dollars in the month also decreased 0.01 percent as compared with September, 0.47 percent against December 2018 and 0.56 percent year-on-year./.

Petrol prices drop in latest review

The retail prices of petrol were reduced as from 3pm on October 31, the second downward revision this month.

Specifically, the price of E5 RON92 was down 218 VND to 19,252 VND (0.83 USD) per litre at the highest, and that of RON95-III also fell by 350 VND to 20,445 VND per litre.

Meanwhile, the prices of diesel 0.05S and kerosene were capped at 16,057 VND and 15,137 VND per litre, dropping 166 VND and 121 VND per litre, respectively. Mazut 180CST 3.5S is sold at no more than 12,517 VND per kilogramme, down 299 VND per kg.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Finance review fuel prices every 15 days to adjust domestic prices in accordance with fluctuations in the global market.

According to the two ministries, the average prices of petrol and oil in the world market followed a declining trend in the 15-day period before the latest price review, leading to this time's reduction./.

Vietjet Air launches Da Nang-Tokyo air route

Budget carrier Vietjet Air launched its fifth international route connecting Vietnam with Japan on October 31, with flights between the central coastal city of Da Nang and Tokyo’s Haneda Airport.

The route has a flight time of approximately 5 hours and 30 minutes.

Flights will depart from Da Nang at 18:10 and arrive in Tokyo at 1:00 (local time) the following day.

Return flights will take off from Haneda at 2:30 (local time) and land in Da Nang at 6:40.

Vietjet is also operating four other routes between Vietnam and Japan: Hanoi-Tokyo, Ho Chi Minh City-Tokyo, Hanoi-Osaka, and Ho Chi Minh City-Osaka.

Currently, the carrier operates around 400 flights daily, with 130 routes covering destinations across Vietnam and international destinations such as Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, the Republic of Korea, Taiwan, China, Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, Indonesia and Cambodia./.

11th Vietnam Int’l Retail tech & Franchise Show underway in HCM City

The 11th Vietnam International Retail Tech and Franchise Show (VIETRF) opened on October 31, gathering 180 franchise brands and 100 technology companies in Ho Chi Minh City.

The participants come from many countries and territories such as the Republic of Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, China, Indonesia and the Philippines.

They are showcasing products, services and concepts for retail like POS and barcode systems, gate entry solutions, sales order processing and retail store furnishing including display racks, cooling and heating cabinets, carts and packaging machines.

Franchise brands in various fields such as food and beverages, beauty and healthcare, fashion, retail and wholesale, education, training and consultation services, and retail start-ups, are looking for potential franchisees.

The top exhibitors included the Republic of Korea’s GS25, which plans to unveil its franchise concept in Vietnam, Trung Nguyen with its flexible coffee franchise concept E-Coffee, Samsung with its smart display solutions, and TORO with its smart vending machine and Toro wallet.

Organised by Coex Vietnam, Retail and Franchise Asia, and Vinexad, the exhibition is underway at the Sai Gon Exhibition and Convention Centre until November 2.

Running in conjunction with the VIETRF at the same venue is the Coffee, Tea & Bakery Expo 2019, the most prominent commercial event in the coffee, tea and bakery sectors.

The expo features 80 brands from eight countries and territories displaying a wide range of tea and coffee products and machinery, equipment and materials to make coffee, beverages and sweet foods. Prominent brands among them are Victoria Arduino, Melitta, Nestcafe, VinaCafe, Annam Gourmet and Dotea, among others.

During the expo, the Vietnam Super Barista contest, the International Coffee Roast Master Championship and training sessions for baristas and people working in coffee shops, bakeries, restaurants and hotels, will be held./.

G-bond issuance meets 70 percent of yearly plan

The State Treasury has mobilised nearly 174.2 trillion VND (around 7.5 billion USD at current exchange rate) through Government bond auctions on the Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX), fulfilling 70 percent of the yearly plan.

The latest auction this week brought in 4 trillion VND (172.38 million USD), with all issued bonds sold.

The interest rates in successful bids rose slightly for 10- and 15-year bonds, but down for 20-year bonds compared to the previous auctions on October 24.

A report of Military Bank Securities said abundant liquidity of the system and strong drops in inter-bank interests have pushed G-bond interest rate down to a 10-year low.

Meanwhile, demand for G-bonds on the primary market is high, reflected in the 100 percent of successful bidding in October, and the participation of 9 to 15 bidders in each auction./.

First batch of Vietnamese organic cocoa exported to Japan

A batch of Vietnamese organic cocoa powder has been shipped to Japan and will be sold in Okinawa and Hamamatsu prefectures.

This is the first time Vietnam has officially exported organic cocoa to the choosy Japanese market.

According to Ho Si Bao, Director of Amazon Food Company, the organic cocoa powder was produced in the southern Ba Ria-Vung Tau province.

 

The company spent three years working with local farmers to develop a cocoa material area meeting the organic standards of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Japanese Agricultural Standards (JAS), he said.

Bao revealed that in November, another batch of 1,000 chocolate bars will be shipped to Japan.

Last year, organic chocolate with 92 percent of cocoa produced by the Amazon Food Company won a bronze prize at the International Chocolate Awards./.

Hanoi’s banking sector pushes for non-cash payment

Hanoi’s banking sector has been pushing for non-cash payment as part of the government’s plan to promote a cashless society in the 2016 – 2020 period, Hanoi’s portal reported.

As of present, a network of 90,000 of points of sale (POS), electronic funds transfer at point of sale (EFTPOS), and electronic data capture (EDC) is established, while over 2,780 ATMs are installed across Hanoi.

Such network is expected to continue expanding along with other financial services, enhancing people’s accessibility to banking services and realizing the target of promoting non-cash payment in Hanoi.

Commercial banks in Hanoi have been prioritizing applying technologies for speedy development of new banking services, particularly interbank e-payment, electronic funds transfer, e-wallet, QR Pay, among others.

Moreover, intermediary payment service providers and commercial banks are cooperating with state budget collectors, such as customs, social insurance tax authorities, and public services to help customers making online payment conveniently and smoothly through their respective online payment channels.

Nguyen Minh Tuan, director of the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) – Hanoi branch, said the authority has been promoting non-cash payment in state budget management, social insurance and health insurance.
Notably, customers are now able to pay tax through commercial banks, contributing to higher rate of non-cash payment in public services and lower rate of cash payment through the State Treasury, Tuan added.

According to Tuan, the SBV-Hanoi branch is working with Hanoi’s Department of Education and Training to promote paying tuition fees via non-cash payment methods.

Under the plan on non-cash payment in Vietnam in the 2016 - 2020 period approved by the prime minister, by the end of 2020, the ratio of cash transactions will be reduced from 90% in 2016 to below 10%.
As of present, just 40% of citizens in Vietnam have bank accounts. However, 90% of daily transactions are conducted in cash, while the rate goes up to 99% for transaction worth under VND100,000 (US$4.34)

SHTP submits over US$966 million to state budget

The Saigon Hi-tech Park (SHTP) on its 17th anniversary of establishment announced its impressive achievements, including the submission of more than $966 million to the state budget so far.

Up to 2019, SHTP has been able to attract investment for 156 projects with the total Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) of $55 billion per 55 projects or $95 million a project. During the same phase, it lured 101 domestic projects with the total registered capital of VND39,777 billion (approx. $1.723 billion), equivalent to $17 million a project.

Among the above 156 projects, the number of operating businesses has stably increased from 24 companies in the period between 2006-2010 to 56 ones from 2011-2019.

Until September 2019, SHTP contributed more than $966 million to the state budget, with a dramatic rise in the last 4 years as tax incentives for some projects expired. It is estimated that in 2020, the budget revenue will reach $1 – 1.5 billion per year.

Several prestigious international groups and corporations like Intel, Nidec, Jabil, Sonion, Sanofi, Microchip, Nipro, Datalogic, Samsung, Rockwell Automation are sited in SHTP.

Russian payment cards to be accepted in Vietnam

Russia's MIR payment cards will be accepted for use in Vietnam following the signing of a cooperation deal by two national payment service providers in the two countries.

The National Payment Corporation of Vietnam (NAPAS) and Russia’s National Payment Card System Joint Stock Company (NSPK), the operator of MIR National Payment System, have announced their MIR-NAPAS cooperation, as part of the 22nd session of the Vietnam-Russia Intergovernmental Committee on economic/trade and scientific/technological cooperation in Hanoi.

Under the deal, signed in Hanoi on October 29, Russian MIR cards will be accepted in Vietnam. MIR cardholders will be able to use their cards to pay for goods and services at point-of-sale (POS) terminals operated by the Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam, also known as BIDV, and to withdraw cash from the ATMs of Vietnam-Russia Joint Venture Bank in the country.

The signing ceremony was attended by Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung and his Russian counterpart Maxim Akimov, deputy governors of the countries’ central banks and other delegates.

NSPK was founded and operated by the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, which has 307 subsidiaries. Its payment network includes 130,000 ATMs and 2.6 million POS outlets. To date, banks in Russia have issued over 67 million MIR cards.

Meanwhile, NAPAS currently manages and operates a switching system interconnected with more than 18,800 ATMs and over 260,000 POS machines, serving over 100 million cardholders of 50 domestic and international commercial banks operating in Vietnam.

Automobile market forecast to boom for remainder of 2019

The latest edition of the Vietnam Motor Show attracted a record number of visitors, improving the overall outlook of the local consumption market for vehicle manufacturers, especially given the current economic growth momentum.

With over 206,100 visitors and the participation of 15 car brands and nearly 200 suppliers at Vietnam Motor Show 2019, which concluded last week, the local automobile market is expected to see a boom in car sales for the rest of the year.

The positive outlook of the market has encouraged automobile brands and firms to expand their operations and map out new plans for development in the coming months.

Some 20 new models or new versions of vehicles were introduced at the event, drawing the attention of a number of customers and car lovers.

Automobile consumption increased strongly over the January-September period compared with the figure seen in the same period last year, showing positive signs for the further growth of the sector for the rest of the year.

According to the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers Association, its members sold over 230,000 automobiles of all types in the nine-month period, up 18% year-on-year.

Many car traders and experts predicted that automobile sales may exceed 350,000 units by the end of the year, beating the record seen in 2016, when 304,000 cars were sold.

Vietnam Motor Show 2019, now in its 15th season, played a role in boosting traders’ car sales, driving the growth of the automobile industry up.

Audi Vietnam reported that this was the first time the brand had attended this event since it entered Vietnam, showcasing as many as six new models.

Audi Vietnam’s sales exceeded its target, with 108 vehicles ordered at the event, according to the firm.

At the expo, a series of new versions of cars were introduced to stimulate consumption. G 63 AMG and GLE 450 4MATIC vehicles were the highlights for Mercedes-Benz, while Lexus launched the latest version of the RX and GX car models, contributing to diversifying customers’ options.

In addition, Land Rover from the United Kingdom brought to the event the Range Rover Evoque model.

Brazil terminates anti-dumping duty on Vietnam’s cold-rolled stainless steel

Brazil’s Ministry of Economy has announced thetermination of its anti-dumping duties imposed on cold-rolled stainless steel imported from Vietnam, according to the Trade Remedies Authority of Vietnam.

The Brazilian ministry has declared its sunset review of the anti-dumping duty imposed on imports of the subject goods from China, Chinese Taipei, Finland, Germany, the Republic of Korea and Vietnam.

The products subject to the anti-dumping duty are coded 7219.32.00, 7219.33.00, 7219.34.00, 7219.35.00 and 7220.20.00.

Following the conclusion of the sunset review, the anti-dumping duties imposed on the subject goods from Finland, Germany, the Republic of Korea and Vietnam will be terminated while the duties imposed on imports of cold-rolled stainless steel sheets from China and Chinese Taipei will be extended.

Due to the complaint lodged by Aperam Inox America do Sul S.A. on April 27, 2018, Brizil initiated an anti-dumping investigation on imports of cold-rolled stainless steel on October 3, 2018.

Before the termination of the anti-dumping duty, the Brazilian authorities imposed an anti-dumping duty of US$568.27 per tonne on imports of Vietnamese cold-rolled stainless steel sheets.

The Trade Remedies Authority of Vietnam recommended Vietnamese steel exporters to fully comply with rules of origin of both Vietnam and Brazil to ensure stable exportof Vietnamese steel to Brazil.

Yeah1 acquires MediaOne despite consecutive quarterly losses

Media company Yeah1 (code: YEG) has just approved the acquisition of MediaOne, despite its reported VND223 billion ($9.7 million) losses for the first nine months of this year, a stark contrast to its VND158 billion ($6.87 million) profit in the same period last year.

Yeah1 Group Corporation’s Board of Management has just approved to buy a 50 per cent stake in MediaOne for VND138.6 billion ($6 million), including a 25 per cent stake offered by MediaOne via a private placement and the remaining by MediaOne director Bui Thien Ha.

This is said to be part of the corporation's media-commerce strategy, and the timeline of payment will depend on MediaOne’s business results, according to bizlive.vn. The deal aims to develop a service of accumulating Mpoint e-wallet reward points for loyal customers, raising clients' revenues and decreasing costs of customers care. MediaOne has 128,000 users and 13,000 clients.

According to its financial statement, compared to the beginning of the year, Yeah1's total assets reduced by VND250 billion ($10.87 million) to VND1.712 trillion ($74.4 million); net working capital decreased to VND884 billion ($38.43 million) from VND1.296 trillion ($56.35 million).

Amidst the swarming difficulties after terminating its partnership with YouTube, Yeah1 withdrew more than VND487 billion ($21.17 million) of bank deposits in the first nine months of the year, and the outstanding loans in this period rose to VND708 billion ($30.78 million), while it was VND356 billion ($15.48 million).

Earlier, in August 2018, Yeah1 earned VND1.173 trillion ($51 million) from a private placement. VND300 billion ($13 million) of this has been poured into the digital sector, VND141 billion ($6.13 million) into shares of funds, and VND192 billion ($8.35 million) was allocated as additional capital.

VND100 billion ($4.5 million) of the remaining amount has been poured into the bonds of Dai An Plastic (DAPC) and VND40 billion ($1.74 million) into the bonds of Ho Chi Minh City Infrastructure Investment JSC (CII) and was deposited at banks.

As a result, Yeah1 reported losses more than VND100 billion ($4.35 million) in the second consecutive quarter, raising its net loss in the first nine months to VND214 billion ($9.3 million) and accumulated losses to VND133.5 billion ($5.8 million).

Vietjet increases revenue and pre-tax profit by 17 per cent

Vietjet Aviation JSC (HSX: VJC) has announced its financial statement for 2019's third quarter. Accordingly, its air transport revenue kept growing highly with an increase of 17 per cent on-year to VND10.415 trillion ($452.83 million), and the consolidated revenue reached VND13.577 trillion ($590.3 million).

With top-of-the-line cost management capabilities and a constant 88 per cent load factor, pre-tax profit from air transport increased by 17 per cent to VND1.310 trillion ($56.96 million), consolidated profit reached VND1.912 trillion ($83.13 million).

Looking at the accumulated results till the end of September 2019, the consolidated revenue was VND38.134 trillion ($1.66 billion) and pre-tax tax was VND4.206 trillion ($182.87 million), including VND30.597 trillion ($1.33 billion) of air transport revenue and VND2.864 trillion ($124.52 million) pre-tax profit.

In air transport business, passenger transport revenue was VND9.992 trillion ($434.43 million), of which the ancillary revenue contributed an important part in growth by reaching VND2.835 trillion ($123.26 million), equivalent to 28.3 per cent of the total passenger transport revenue. In the sustainable development model of low-cost carriers (LCC), ancillary revenue is an important factor determining the success of an airline as it makes up more than 90 per cent of the profit margin.

According to CarTrawler Ancillary YearBook 2019report, Vietjet was the 12th in terms of the ancillary revenue to total air transport revenue ratio.

Compared to the same period last year, Vietjet maintained high growth in market expansion, especially in international routes. By the end of the third quarter, the total number of routes was 127, 24 more than last year, with most being international ones. The airline has operated 34,000 safe flights and transported more than six million passengers to domestic and Asia-Pacific destinations.

Regarding business results, the current liquidity ratio was 1.3. Debt-to-equity ratio was 0.6, with equity of VND14.847 trillion ($645.52 million).

At the end of the quarter, Vietjet officially added to its young, modern fleet a new Airbus A321neo ACF (Airbus Cabin Flex), the first 240 seaters in the world. A321neo ACF aircraft help reduce fuel consumption by a minimum of 16 per cent, reduce noise by up to 75 per cent, and emissions by 50 per cent. With a wide network of domestic and regional flights, Vietjet now operates a fleet with technical reliability of 99.64 per cent, among the highest in the world.

AirFinance Journal has just announced its 2019 rankings, assigning Vietjet the BBB ranking, maintaining its status as one of the world's top 50 airlines. This is the second consecutive year Vietjet made it into the top 50, along with prestigious airlines like Ryanair, Spirit Airlines, Japan Airlines, Air Canada, British Airways, and Southwest Airlines.

According to the ranking, the EBITDAR margin of Vietjet was laudable, ranking 'A' in the top 3 in the world. Besides, the average age of the Vietjet fleet is 2.9 years, reaching AAA level according to AirFinance, leading the world airline rankings.

Vietnam set to become a solar power hotspot

Given its natural potential, robust government support and aspirations for the sector, Vietnam may become a solar power investment hotspot soon.

Vietnam is the "solar power market to watch" for the next decade, as it has significant growth potential for solar power and the investment environment is improving notably, according to a recent report of macroresearch firm Fitch Solutions. It expects solar capacity in Vietnam to reach 7,700 MW in 2028.

The report says that with substantial untapped solar power potential, as it is endowed with high irradiation levels, Vietnam is likely see increased investor interest and surging capacity deployment, albeit from a low base.

According to Fitch Solutions, Vietnam is seeking to leverage renewables in order to meet surging power demand, as evident in its power development plan, in which the government outlines a 4 GW solar capacity target for 2025, and 12 GW target for 2030.

In an attempt to encourage foreign investments and growth in the sector, the government offers some preferential policies, including attractive feed-in-tariffs (FIT) and other financial incentives such as preferential tax and duties.

While a proposed 20 percent cut to the FIT for ground-mounted and floating solar capacity in September could curb investor interest somewhat, the new two tariff levels at $70.9 and $76.9 per MWh will still remain high enough for investors, as auctions push prices down substantially in most alternative solar markets, the macro-research firm said.

Furthermore, a new Direct Power Purchase Agreement (DPPA) is set to be introduced, where renewable energy producers can sell and deliver electricity directly to corporate customers.

This scheme is expected to be piloted soon, and the government is finalizing decisions on more specific regulations.

As of September, the registered capacity of solar power projects in Vietnam has reached 25,000 MW, far exceeding the government’s initial target to have 4,000 MW by 2025, according to national power utility Vietnam Electricity (EVN).

Renewables currently account for 9 percent of Vietnam's energy mix, already surpassing the target of 7 percent set for next year, according to EVN.

Despite the potential and policy incentives, there are some concerns about Vietnam’s infrastructure keeping pace with the growth in renewables.

An influx of 89 new renewable power plants becoming active in the second quarter of this year overloaded Vietnam’s national grid. This forced many plants to operate at around 60 percent of their capacity, and they have said that this could cause losses this year.

Sugar sector faces multiple difficulties

The shrinking sugarcane farming area and the the rampant smuggling of sugar have prevented local sugar mills from operating at full capacity, while farmers have encountered heavy losses due to low selling prices.

On October 30, the National Steering Committee against Smuggling, Trade Fraud and Counterfeit Goods, also known as National Steering Committee 389, held a conference to seek ways to prevent the smuggling of sugar and help the sugar sector out of the doldrums, the Government news website reported.

According to a report by the Vietnam Sugarcane and Sugar Association delivered at the conference, the sugarcane farming area has plunged by 30%-60%. The lack of input material has forced sugar mills to operate at low capacity.

In the 2017-2018 crop season, 37 sugar mills nationwide produced nearly 1.5 tons of sugar, but the figure dropped to nearly 1.2 tons in the 2018-2019 crop season.

Meanwhile, farmers have to spend some VND7 million on every 1,000 square meters of sugarcane, but they can earn only VND3-4 million, resulting in heavy debt.

Under the roadmap of the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement, the tax on sugar imports from other ASEAN countries will be slashed to 5% from January 1 next year, putting more pressure on the local sugar sector.

Although domestic sugar processors are willing to compete with their rivals in the region, they need the State’s support in the fight against smuggled and counterfeit sugar products.

According to the Vietnam Sugarcane and Sugar Association, trade fraud has caused heavy losses for the local sugar sector. In the past two years, the smuggling of sugar from Thailand has led to the shutdown of one third of the sugar mills in Vietnam.

From early last year to September this year, the competent agencies uncovered 876 sugar smuggling cases, fining violators over VND1 billion and seizing more than 3,000 tons of sugar worth some VND12.5 billion.

Truong Van Ba, deputy head of the office of the National Steering Committee 389, said that the cross-border smuggling of sugar remains rampant. To reduce the smuggling of sugar, localities should enhance their inspections of paths and rivers in border areas and closely cooperate with the competent agencies, Ba advised.

In addition, farmers and sugar firms should apply advanced technology to produce high-quality sugar to meet the demands of consumers and compete with imported products.

Vietnam attends Preparatory RCEP Ministerial Meeting in Bangkok

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Quoc Khanh led the Vietnamese delegation to attend the Preparatory Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Ministerial Meeting in Bangkok, Thailand on November 1.

The meeting was within the framework of the ongoing 35th ASEAN Summit and related meetings in Thailand, the Chair of ASEAN in 2019.

The Vietnamese delegation active participated in discussions on measures to conclude negotiations on RCEP and market opening towards the goal of signing of the deal in Vietnam next year.

At the meeting, ministers sought ways to remove remaining obstacles regarding the wording and market opening in RCEP. They lauded negotiators’ efforts this year and agreed on a report on the negotiation progress to submit to leaders.

Speaking after the ASEAN Economic Committee (AEC) Council Meeting on October 31, Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Commerce Jurin Laksanawisit said ASEAN and six trade partners are still optimistic about making breakthrough in RCEP negotiations.

RCEP talks began in November 2012 with a view to promoting economic cooperation between ASEAN and six countries that signed free trade agreements with the bloc, which are China, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia, India and New Zealand.

Thailand hopes to conclude the talks this year when the country serves as ASEAN Chair.

RCEP will cover 16 nations which account for 30 percent of the world’s total gross domestic product.

RCEP member countries have a combined population of 3.56 billion people and a trade value of over 1 trillion USD, or 29 percent of the world’s total./.

 
 
 
 
 
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