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Filipino investors do roaring trade in Vietnam

Cash flow from the Philippines is gradually encroaching on the Vietnamese market, but its presence is not well known.

VietNamNet Bridge – Cash flow from the Philippines is gradually encroaching on the Vietnamese market, but its presence is not well known.

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Analysts say that the biggest investors from the Philippines, the hottest economy in Asia, have been heading for Vietnam, where they can see great business opportunities in essential sectors, including food and beverage, infrastructure, clean water and pharmaceuticals.

Vinh Hoan Company (VHC), a Vietnamese big seafood exporter, in late May 2014, unexpectedly announced it had transferred 70 percent of the stakes VHC held in Vinh Hoan 1 Feed Company (VHF) to a Filipino company, reaping $19.6 million.

The buyer was Pilmico International, a subsidiary of Aboitiz Equity Ventures, specializing in making animal feed in the Philippines.

Analysts noted that the sale of the fourth largest feed plant in Vietnam with the capacity of 130,000 tons per annum, brought high profits to Vinh Hoan, which built the plant with VND70 billion, or $3.4 million only.

The two sides agreed that the other 30 percent of VHF that VHC is holding will be transferred to Pilmico within five years at negotiable prices.

Prior to that, a Filipino fast food chain, Jollibee, spent $25 million to buy 50 percent of Pho 24, a well-known pho (noodles served with beef or chicken) brand, and a famous café brand, Highlands Coffee.

With the deal, Jollibee became better known to Vietnamese and the brand is mentioned with McDonald’s and KFC when people list the big fast food chains in Vietnam.

Most recently, a large Filipino food group, Universal Robina Corp (URC), has taken big steps in its plan to expand its business plan in Vietnam.

The group announced it will turn Vietnam, with 90 million consumers, into a key market which can bring $1 billion.

URC emerged in the domestic food and beverage (F&B) market recently when it launched C2 bottled green tea, a product considered a direct rival to Tan Hiep Phat, and Coca Cola and Pepsi Cola.

Analysts noted that Filipinos have also been keen on infrastructure projects. In late 2013, Manila Water South Asia Holdings Pte Ltd, a subsidiary of the Filipino Manila Water Company Inc, bought 18.37 million SII’s stakes, a Vietnamese water infrastructure company, worth VND310 billion.

The fact that Manila Water injected money into SII was not a surprise at all. Analysts noted that infrastructure is one of the business fields Filipino investors are most interested in.

Ayala Group, the holding group of Manila Water, is a big infrastructure investor in HCM City which has poured big money into many infrastructure development firms, including CII, where it holds 10 percent of shares, SII (44 percent), Kenh Dong Water Supply Company (47 percent) and 49 percent of Thu Duc Water Supply Company.

Reuters has recently reported that Metro Pacific Investments Corp, another major Filipino infrastructure investor, is considering a transport infrastructure project in Vietnam.

Analysts have noted that the investments by these major companies from the Philippines in Vietnam have been profitable, and have resulted in bigger market share.

Manh Ha

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