Vietnamese firms have been increasing their overseas investments in recent years in an effort to expand their global reach.
Metfone, a telecommunications project of Viettel in Cambodia. (Photo: Viettel)
The Ministry of Planning and Investment’s report recently submitted to the Government showed that Vietnam registered 528.78 million USD in 172 projects in 33 countries and territories in 2019, representing a year-on-year increase of 10.7 percent.
Of note, all the registered overseas projects last year were of private companies in Vietnam and there were no new overseas projects by State-owned enterprises (SOEs).
The ministry said that more private companies were increasing investment abroad, such as Vingroup, Vietjet, Thaco, FPT, T&T, Vinamilk and TH Group, even to developed markets.
As of the end of 2019, Vietnamese firms have so far registered to invest a total of 20.6 billion USD in 1,321 projects in 78 countries and territories.
Five companies with more than 1 billion USD in registered overseas investment were PetroVietnam, Viettel, Vietnam Rubber Group, Hoang Anh Gia Lai Group and Long Thanh Golf Investment and Trading Joint Stock Company.
Of the figure, some 9.49 billion USD was disbursed, mainly in the sectors of mining (3.5 billion USD), telecommunications (1.61 billion USD), agriculture (1.56 billion USD), electricity production (809 million USD), financial and banking (787 million USD) and real estate (384 million USD).
The ministry’s statistics also showed that the profit remitted totalled 3 billion USD and around 363 million USD in profit was kept for reinvestment.
Around 10,000 labourers from Vietnam were working at Vietnam’s overseas projects.
Laos was the largest receiver for Vietnam’s overseas investment with a total registered capital of 4.9 billion USD, followed by Russia (2.8 billion USD), Cambodia (2.7 billion USD), Venezuela (1.8 billion USD), Myanmar (1.3 billion USD), Algeria (1.2 billion USD), the US (690 million USD) and Australia (400 million USD).
Regarding overseas investment of SOEs, the ministry’s statistics showed that SOEs registered to invest 13.8 billion USD abroad, 6.7 billion USD of which was disbursed.
PetroVietnam invested in 27 projects abroad with a total registered capital of 7.1 billion USD. Viettel had 10 overseas projects worth 3 billion USD. Vietnam Rubber Group invested in 23 projects worth 1.3 billion USD.
The ministry said that some overseas projects of SOEs were running efficiently while some were struggling.
Around half of overseas projects of PetroVietnam were in stagnation or could not be implemented, the ministry pointed out.
Vietnam National Coal and Mineral Industries Group was also seeking to transfer five projects in Cambodia and Laos due to inefficiencies.
Vietnam Airlines was also seeking to divest from the loss-making Cambodia Angkor Air in which it held a stake of 49 percent.
The ministry also warned about several risks in overseas investment.
Some projects were heavily dependent of banking loans for capital, the ministry said, urging reviews to be carried out to ensure safety and efficiency for the banking system.
The ministry also warned about risks which might arise when investing in localities involved in armed conflicts or with political-social instabilities, localities with legal risks and tax havens.
Currently, there were no regulations which set requirements or limit investments in these risky localities, the ministry said.
The Government Office has asked the ministry to evaluate the results of 10 years implementing the project of promoting overseas investment and develop orientations for investing abroad by 2025 then report to the Prime Minister within the last quarter of this year.
The Ministry of Finance was asked to study amendments to the law on State capital at enterprises towards tightening overseas investment of SOEs to improve efficiency.
The State Bank of Vietnam would cooperate with the Ministry of Planning and Investment to evaluate overseas investment of commercial banks, loans to overseas projects to ensure system safety.
A list of risky localities for investment would be developed to limit risks for Vietnamese investors.
The ministry’s statistics revealed that Vietnamese firms invested 222.67 million USD abroad in the first half of this year, up by 11.4 percent against the same period last year./. VNA
Currently, there is a movement of foreign direct investment (FDI) capital flow from China to other countries, especially in the ASEAN region.
Vietnam is generally regarded as having great prospects to seize overseas investment flows moving away from China.