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Tran Dinh Long, president of Hoa Phat Group.

Durian prices soared on the last days of 2023. It saw record high export turnover, accounting for 51 percent of total fruit exports. China was the largest consumer of Vietnam’s durian with 97 percent market share, worth $1.9 billion.

Doan Nguyen Duc, president of Hoang Anh Gia Lai Group (HAGL), said current durian prices are still high and only 10 percent of Chinese can buy the expensive fruit. Therefore, he believes that durian will be popular for the next 10 years.

Duc said that HAGL will grow more durian and raise its growing area to 2,000 hectares. The group plans to harvest durian on 700 hectares in the fourth quarter, contributing to the plan to make a profit of VND2 trillion this year. 

It is expected that HAGL will have 2,000 hectares of durian growing area by 2026, including 1,000 hectares which can give fruit this year. HAGL also has an additional 5,000 hectares that could be used to grow durian.

Established as a real estate firm, HAGL shifted to develop hydropower and announced the decision to invest in agriculture in 2013. HAGL sold all of its hydropower projects and shares in a wooden furniture manufacturing company to focus on agricultural production.

HAGL’s revenue from agriculture accounted for only 4.3 percent of total revenue, but the figure soared to 38.94 percent in 2013. However, the investments in agriculture in that period did not bring the desired effects. HAGL had to undergo restructuring and sold one of its subsidiaries in the field.

After years of investment in agriculture and changing crops and livestock, now, with durian being the key crop, HAGL hopes that its high annual profit of trillions of dong may return.

In 2023, HAGL had VND6.93 trillion in revenue and VND1.817 trillion in post-tax profit, the highest profit in the last 12 years. With the sharp profit increase, analysts believe HAGL is likely to pay all its debts by 2026.

The turning point 

Agriculture is an attractive sector to Tran Dinh Long, president of Hoa Phat Group, a steel manufacturer. Long said that agriculture has more potential than steel manufacturing.

In March 2015, Hoa Phat officially set up Hoa Phat Feeds Company with charter capital of VND2.5 trillion. The group has made heavy investment in animal husbandry with farms in many provinces, including Lang Son, Bac Giang, Yen Bai, Hoa Binh, Quang Binh, Phu Tho, Hung Yen, Thai Binh, Dong Nai and Dak Lak.

To compete with pork products available in the market, Hoa Phat is following the 3F model (feed-farm-food). It built two animal feed factories in Hung Yen and Dong Nai with total capacity of 600,000 tons a year.

In terms of poultry husbandry, its annual finance report showed that Hoa Phat is the largest chicken egg supplier in the north with 850,000 eggs provided to the market each day in 2022. Hoa Phat also owned 404,000 pigs the same year. 

Hoa Phat’s husbandry’s sector grew well in 2015-2020. Its revenue from agriculture reached VND10 trillion by 2020, the second largest to steel manufacturing, its core business field.

Hoa Phat Poultry Co Ltd, a subsidiary of Hoa Phat Group, reported that 300 million eggs were sold in 2023, or 10 percent higher than planned and 17 percent higher than in 2022. As many as 300 million eggs were the target initially set for 2025.

Masan Group

In 2015, Nguyen Dang Quang, the owner of Masan Group, acquired 52 percent of shares of Proconco, an animal feed manufacturer, and 70 percent of shares of Anco. Masan set up Masan Nutri Science (MNS) to own the two companies.

In 2021, billionaire Tran Ba Duong, the owner of Vietnamese automobile manufacturer Thaco, took over HAGL Agrico, an agriculture company belonging to HAGL. Reports show that Thaco owned 26.7 percent of shares and managed all the production and business activities of HAGL Agrico.

Ngoc Cuong