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VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS DECEMBER 3

Strong economic growth creates platform for M&A market
Strong economic growth creates platform for M&A market hinh anh 1

Vietnam’s economic growth is forecast to reach 8% this year before falling to 6.5% in 2023. The strong growth has created a positive “platform” for investment and business activities, especially mergers and acquisitions (M&A).

Data from KPMG, a global network of professional firms providing audit, tax and advisory services, showed that in the first 10 months of 2022, the total value of M&A deals in Vietnam reached 5.7 billion USD, down 35.3% compared to the same period in 2021.

The scale of the M&A market is slowing down in terms of the number and value of deals. In 2021, there were more than 700 deals, but in the first 10 months of 2022, the number was only about 350. The average value of a deal also decreased from 31 million USD to about 15 million USD.

However, foreign investors still view Vietnam in general and its M&A sector in particular as a safe, attractive and promising market, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Tran Quoc Phuong told Vietnam Investment Review.

Both domestic and foreign investors have shown confidence in solutions taken by the Vietnamese Government to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, manage the macro economy, and improve the domestic investment environment, he continued.

World Bank (WB) experts attributed the 122% jump in foreign direct investment (FDI) in Vietnam to 3.7 billion USD in October to major investments in new production and business facilities in electricity, gas and water.

Vietnam’s strategy for foreign investment cooperation for 2021-2030 has just been deployed, with new institutions and policies, including incentives for large-scale projects and others in the high-tech sector of great influence.

The Vietnamese government has established a working group in charge of removing difficulties to projects so they can push ahead with implementation, while calling for further investment in the country.

The efforts are expected to help lure more foreign investment to Vietnam and accelerate recovery of the local M&A market.

Bac Lieu grants investment certificate to 13 projects worth $740 million

Bac Lieu People’s Committee granted investment certificates for 13 projects with the total investment capital of VND17 trillion ($739.1 million).

One of the outstanding projects is a complex of a hypermarket, cinemas, restaurants and a food court, and an entertainment area invested by Central Retail with a total investment capital of $17.4 million. The construction of the complex, which covers an area of 25,000 sq.m, is set to start construction and open a mall in December of next year.

BEDA T&C JSC was granted the investment certificates for five real estate projects with a total investment of $442.17 million. Its projects combine housing and apartment segments in collaboration with eco-park, trading, and service areas.

Also, Kosy JSC was licensed to develop an urban project with a total investment capital of $63.04 million.

Bac Lieu has called for investment in 195 projects in industry, agriculture, trade-housing, culture-sport-tourism, infrastructure, healthcare, education, and the environment.

The largest investment project registered to invest in the province is the $4 billion LNG Bac Lieu project, invested by Delta Offshore Energy Pte., Ltd. (DOE). The investor has completed almost procedures to start the construction of the project. However, DOE is facing difficulties in negotiating the power purchase agreement with EVN as the parties have yet to reach a compromise over the selling price of power and the power purchase volume.

Rubber producers continue to brood over tough prices and tax complexities

The Vietnam Rubber Association (VRA) last month proposed to the Ministry of Finance (MoF) to consider applying a VAT policy on preliminarily processed rubber and latex, similar to other agricultural products. The VRA also urges for the application of preferential corporate tax for income from the harvest of liquidated rubber trees, like other crop products, and a land rent exemption policy for replanted rubber areas during the construction period. The goal is to remove difficulties for the entire value chain, from rubber growers to exporters.

In the last two months of the year, rubber exports will continue to face difficulties due to the fall in rubber prices and the appreciation of the US dollar, An said. Prices for different kinds of rubber have fallen since Q3 by 5.5-10.5 per cent, compared to the same period in 2021.

In 2021, Vietnam exported 1.4 million tonnes of rubber to China, bringing in $2.3 billion, according to Vietnam Customs. A report by Forest Trends released in June stated that the selling price of Vietnamese rubber was very low, even remaining unsold in many markets because almost all rubber and latex suppliers do not have sustainable certificates.

Small and fragmented production renders the quality of input rubber low, and it is difficult to apply for a certificate of sustainability. Meanwhile, creating connections between international buyers and small associations through Vietnamese rubber companies in jointly building chains also remains limited.

For the Vietnamese rubber industry, selling more rubber could bring sustainable growth to businesses and rubber growers. Rubber exports have increased since the beginning of the year, but falling rubber prices have reduced the value. According to statistics of the General Department of Customs, Vietnam’s rubber exports in the third quarter reached over 609,000 tonnes worth around $930 million, up 6 per cent in volume but down 1.8 per cent in value compared to the previous period in 2021.

The pressure of sustainable development pushes the rubber industry to continue to strengthen its role in improving the environment and social conditions in the rubber area. According to the VRA, Vietnam has about 265,000 small rubber growers, with an area of ​​479,600 hectares, equivalent to 51 per cent of the total rubber area of ​​the country.

About 426,000 hectares are in the tapping stage, with a supply of over 732,000 tonnes of dried latex per year, accounting for nearly 62 per cent of the total amount of latex exploited in the entire rubber area of ​​Vietnam.

The industry annually contributes $7-8 billion to Vietnam’s export turnover, with three main products being natural rubber, industrial products from rubber, and rubber wood.

Textile groups at pains to regather momentum

The Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (Vitas) forecasts that the business results of textile and garment enterprises in the fourth quarter will decline compared to the same period last year due to the impact of many geopolitical factors. Importers in the United States, EU, and Japan have been lowering prices and reducing orders. Despite this, textile and garment exports in the first 10 months of 2022 reached $37.9 billion, up 17.2 per cent over the same period last year.

Vitas chairman Vu Duc Giang said, “Enterprises’ warehouses are full and inventories are so large that many customers are forced to stop ordering or even delay the delivery time. Businesses are missing 35-50 per cent of orders for November and December.”

The outlook for apparel orders in 2023 is clouded by the effect of the inventory cycle extending from Q4. This is also an indicator that the textile and garment industry will face more difficulties at the end of the winter and while preparing for spring, according to Giang.

Giang reported some businesses received orders, but with fierce competition on selling prices. In particular, in the US and EU, unit prices decreased by about a third, while the source of raw materials has been slow due to China’s anti-pandemic policy.

Meanwhile, Thanh Cong JSC has come close to its business target in 2022, with about 80 per cent of orders guaranteeing Q4 revenues. Chairman Tran Nhu Tung said, “The company is taking orders for the first quarter of next year but new orders are slowing down.”

Thanh Cong is one of the few textile companies to maintain sales as the growth of textile production slowed down. At the end of the Q3, Thanh Cong estimated its revenue to reach more than $142.8 million, up 25 per cent over the same period. Meanwhile, profit after tax reached well over $9 million, up 85 per cent compared to the same period last year and about 84 per cent of the year’s plan.

Elsewhere, Luong Van Thu, general director of Dap Cau JSC, said, “Orders to the US market decreased in both quantity and unit price, with some large-scale orders decreasing by half.”

Likewise, the production of Nam Dinh Textile Co., Ltd. is also deteriorating as the company reported a loss of more than $366,000 in the third quarter’s consolidated financial statements, while in the same period last year the profit was around $940,000.

The main reason is that the price of input materials for cotton and fibre is fluctuating continuously. At the same time, the selling price of yarn products decreased, and so did the volume of goods sold in the country as well as exports. In the first nine months, Nam Dinh Textile achieved revenues of $40 million, with profit after tax reaching over $1.9 million, down 27 per cent over the same period.

Many domestic analysts commented that the global economy remains unstable, and that the probability of a crisis or recession is increasing. Currently, sales contracts for the first half of 2023 have come to the point of negotiation, but are often temporarily delayed.

This development has also been reflected in the business results of Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex). General director Cao Duc Hieu said the group’s consolidated profits in Q3 were estimated at $8 million, down more than half compared to the average of the first two quarters of the year and only equivalent to the time of the pandemic outbreak.

11-month FDI attraction reaches US$25.1 billion

The nation attracted US$25.1 billion in foreign investment over the past 11 months, an increase of 0.5% from the previous month, but down 5% on-year, the Foreign Investment Agency (FIA) under the Ministry of Planning and Investment has said.

During the reviewed period, new capital registered in the country by foreign investors endured an annual  fall of 18% to US$11.5 billion, while capital contributions and share purchases also dropped by 7% on-year to nearly US$4.08 billion.

The agency underlined two key factors behind the falling registered capital, including stringent COVID-19 preventive measures imposed at the start of the year and global uncertainties.

It noted that strict COVID-19 preventive measures imposed in the opening months of the year had made it increasingly difficult for foreign investors to travel to Vietnam to seek new investment opportunities. These hindrances therefore held back the number of newly-registered projects during the opening months of 2022.

Global uncertainties, including geopolitical conflicts, inflationary pressures, and supply chain disruptions, all combined to compound the situation by scaling down the capital flows from major economies, especially Vietnamese partners.

One bright spot in the reviewed period was adjusted capital which soared by 23.3% on-year to US$9.54 billion, the FIA noted.

Hanoi tourism enjoys successful year despite difficulties

Despite impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of tourists to Hanoi has so far surpassed the target for the whole year, thanks to the city’s efforts to provide attractive and high quality tourism products.

In late November, Hanoi is full of visitors who enjoy Da quy (daisy) flower season in Ba Vi National Park, and tours in Thang Long Imperial Citadel or Hoa Lo Prison. This manifests the strong tourism recovery and development of the capital city - Asia’s Leading City Break Destination 2022 by World Travel Awards (WTA).

In May, the US travel website TripAdvisor placed Hanoi in the 13th position in the 25 most popular destinations in Asia in 2022. It also included the city in the list of 25 best places for food lovers in 2022.

This year, Hanoi aims to welcome 7-8 million domestic tourists and 1.2-2 million foreigners. But so far the city has received 17.02 million visitors, over 5 times higher than that in the same period last year, including 1.27 million foreigners.

To continue its recovery trend, the city has planned a number of activities in the rest of the year with a focus on luring more foreign tourists.

Vietnam’s rice export to hit 7 million tonnes this year

Experts said prices of Vietnamese rice will continue to stay high as economic and political uncertainties will push up food demand. They, therefore, suggested exporters utilise opportunities in market access and expansion.

If the export volume is maintained at over 400,000 tonnes each month in the remaining two months, the whole year’s export volume of the agricultural product will reach from 6.8-7 million tonnes.

Export businesses were urged to pay due attention to China, a big and promising market of Vietnamese farm produce. Recently, China has made changes in import requirements, from plant quarantine to packaging, tracking of origin and growing area codes.

So far, a total of 22 Vietnamese firms have been licensed to ship rice to China, and Vietnam has proposed China expand the list.

Strong economic growth creates platform for M&A market

Vietnam’s economic growth is forecast to reach 8% this year before falling to 6.5% in 2023. The strong growth has created a positive “platform” for investment and business activities, especially mergers and acquisitions (M&A).

Data from KPMG, a global network of professional firms providing audit, tax and advisory services, showed that in the first 10 months of 2022, the total value of M&A deals in Vietnam reached 5.7 billion USD, down 35.3% compared to the same period in 2021.

The scale of the M&A market is slowing down in terms of the number and value of deals. In 2021, there were more than 700 deals, but in the first 10 months of 2022, the number was only about 350. The average value of a deal also decreased from 31 million USD to about 15 million USD.

However, foreign investors still view Vietnam in general and its M&A sector in particular as a safe, attractive and promising market, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Tran Quoc Phuong told Vietnam Investment Review.

Both domestic and foreign investors have shown confidence in solutions taken by the Vietnamese Government to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, manage the macro economy, and improve the domestic investment environment, he continued.

World Bank (WB) experts attributed the 122% jump in foreign direct investment (FDI) in Vietnam to 3.7 billion USD in October to major investments in new production and business facilities in electricity, gas and water.

Vietnam’s strategy for foreign investment cooperation for 2021-2030 has just been deployed, with new institutions and policies, including incentives for large-scale projects and others in the high-tech sector of great influence.

The Vietnamese government has established a working group in charge of removing difficulties to projects so they can push ahead with implementation, while calling for further investment in the country.

Thai Vietjet resumes Da Lat-Bangkok route, offering discounted tickets

Thai Vietjet on December 2 resumed the only direct service between Da Lat, the city of flowers, and Thailand’s Bangkok capital after nearly three years of suspension due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Flight VZ940 from Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi) was welcomed by Lam Dong province’s leaders and Lien Khuong International Airport’s authorities, along with water salute, lion dance, lively performances and flower wreaths upon arrival at Lien Khuong International Airport. Passengers onboard the resumed flight to Da Lat also enjoyed lucky draws for air tickets and complimentary moon cakes.

The international service between Da Lat and Bangkok operates four flights a week on every Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday with the flight time of 1 hour and 45 minutes per leg. More flight frequency could be added subject to market demand.

Customers can book flight tickets from Dalat to Bangkok with fares as low as 360,000 VND/one-way (14.5 USD) at www.vietjetair.com, Vietjet Air mobile app and authorised ticket agents worldwide.

Second national culture and business forum 2022 opens

The second edition of the annual National Culture and Business Forum 2002 opened in Hanoi on December 3.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Van Hung said many Vietnamese firms are striving to build corporate and business culture based on inheriting and upholding national cultural values as a power of soft culture.

It is the depth of culture that helps businesses not only run after profit and get rich at all costs but also know how to comply with business ethics, social responsibility, respect the law and fair competition, and protect the environment, thus building the trust, prestige and brand of enterprises, he said, adding that it is key to their stable and sustainable development.

Hung called for creating a healthy business environment to draw foreign investors and upholding the internal strength of culture to develop cultural industries in the country. Each business should become an ambassador to promote the image of Vietnam, its culture and people to the world, he added.

Participants at the event offered their opinions on the role and impact of cultural revival on sustainable economic development, practical lessons and solutions to promoting the role of culture in economic recovery and development, especially during and after COVID-19 pandemic, and geopolitical conflicts and global economic downturn at present.

On this occasion, 24 enterprises meeting the standards of business culture this year were honoured.

Newly-established, re-operating enterprises up over 33%

Vietnam saw nearly 194,700 newly established and re-operating enterprises in the first 11 months of 2022, up 33.2% over the same period in 2021, according to the Business Registration Agency under the Ministry of Planning and Investment.

In November alone, the country counted 11,943 new enterprises with a total registered capital of some 4.3 billion USD, and 74,000 laborers. Meanwhile, about 6,300 enterprises resumed their operation in the month, up over 26% year-on-year.

On the opposite side, there were over 132,000 enterprises withdrawing from the market in the last 11 months. A total of more than 70,000 enterprises temporarily ceased operations, a yearly hike of nearly 35%. 

Vietnam named among leading sources of seafood supply for US

In the first nine months of this year, Vietnam was the third largest seafood supplier for the US in terms of volume and the 5th largest in value, data from the US National Marine Fisheries Service showed.

Between January and September, Vietnam shipped 244,4000 tonnes to the US market and earned 1.78 billion USD, up 14% and 33% annually, respectively.

Vietnam's share in the US’s total seafood imports, meanwhile, increased to 9.6% from 8.4% of the same period last year.

Currently, shrimp is the fishery product that recorded the highest import volume and value in the US, with Vietnamese shrimps accounting for nearly 10% of the market share.

Trade forum supports firms to boost trade, investment with Eurasia region

The Trade Forum on Cooperation with Partners from Eurasia Region 2022 took place in Hanoi on December 2, providing the Vietnamese business community with up-to-date information on market conditions, foreign trade policies, and investment opportunities in the region.

Addressing the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT)'s annual event, Ta Hoang Linh, Director of the MoIT's Europe-American Market Department, said the 28-nation Eurasian region, whose accumulated GDP nears 3.4 trillion USD, is a traditional and potential market for Vietnamese firms.
 
Bilateral trade between Vietnam and Eurasia region reached 14.7 billion in 2021, up 17.6% from the previous year. The figure dropped 5.6% to nearly 11 billion USD in the first 10 months of 2022.

According to data from the Ministry of Planning and Investment, by the end of October 2022, Eurasian countries had 339 investment projects in Vietnam valued at nearly 1.8 billion USD in total, equivalent to 0.4% of the total registered foreign capital from 140 countries and territories investing in the country.

Vietnam, meanwhile, invested in 24 projects in the region, mainly in Russia, which were worth 1.65 billion USD, or 8% of Vietnam’s total registered investment abroad.

The MoIT will continue to coordinate with the business community, embassies, and commercial agencies of countries in the region to organise more frequent activities to enhance connectivity and trade between Vietnam and the Eurasian region, Linh said.

Vietnam, Singapore hold 16th connectivity ministerial meeting

The 16th Singapore-Vietnam Connectivity Ministerial Meeting was held in Singapore on December 2 under the chair of Vietnamese Minister of  Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung and Singaporean Second Minister for Trade and Industry, and Minister for Manpower Tan See Leng.

Also attending the conference were representatives of the two nations’ ministries and sectors related to economic cooperation activities under the pillars of investment, trade and services, digital economy, energy, innovation, sustainability, transport, education, and finance.

At the event, the two sides discussed cooperation since the 15th meeting was held in Hanoi in November last year. They also tabled orientations to expand cooperation in the fields of renewable energy and innovation, which were agreed between senior Vietnamese and Singaporean leaders during recent high-level visits.

Vietnam affirmed its views and interests in economic cooperation with Singapore in order to further deepen the two nations’ strategic partnership, requesting the Singaporean side to make efforts to coordinate in the implementation of new initiatives within the framework of the Vietnam-Singapore economic connectivity agreement signed in 2005.

Vietnam welcomed Singaporean businesses to come up with new cooperation proposals and increase investment in the country.

After the meeting, Dung and Tan witnessed the signing ceremony of an MoU on innovation collaboration between the Vietnam National Innovation Centre and the Southeast Asia and Oceania Division under Singapore’s Ministry of Trade and Industry.

CPTPP still holds untapped potential for Vietnamese businesses

There is still a lot of untapped potential for Vietnamese businesses in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) three years after it went into effect, said policymakers and industry experts during an online conference in Hanoi on December 1.

Ngo Chung Khanh, Deputy Director of the Multilateral Trade Policy Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT), said Vietnamese businesses have been increasingly interested in taking advantage of the trade agreement, the largest of its kind signed by the Southeast Asian country in recent years.

According to a survey conducted by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), 9% of businesses now said they possess a "deep understanding" of CPTPP, a significant improvement from just over 2% from two years ago.

During the same period, the country's export turnover to CPTPP markets improved significantly, notably to Canada and Mexico. Last year, Vietnam reported a trade surplus of more than 8 billion USD with the two mentioned-above countries alone. It has reflected a growing interest among Vietnamese exporters in CPTPP markets.

However, Canada and Mexico could be considered small to medium-sized markets. While growth has been impressive, they only accounted for just under 3% of Vietnam's total trade with the bloc.

Another issue, according to Khanh, was even traditionally strong Vietnamese export products still struggled to penetrate CPTPP markets.

Nguyen Xuan Duong, Chairman of Hung Yen Garment Corporation (HUGACO), said that major hurdles for Vietnamese textile manufacturers included difficulties in meeting CPTPP's product origin protocols, inadequate investment in expanding production and technology.

Nguyen Thi from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental said many new-generation free trade agreements placed great importance on preserving the natural habitat, biodiversity and workers' well-being.re to revamp the production model.

Do Thi Thu Huong, Deputy Director of the MoIT's Foreign Trade Agency, said Vietnamese businesses have been able to capitalise on the trade agreement's available tariff advantages, especially Canada, Mexico and Peru, which had not signed free trade agreements with Vietnam before CPTPP.

Da Nang’s industrial production up 8.6% in 11 months

The central city of Da Nang recorded a hike of 8.6% in industrial production in the first 11 months of this year, reported the municipal Statistics Office on December 1.

Specifically, the manufacturing and processing sector expanded by 7.4%, electricity production and distribution grew by 15.2%, water supply-garbage and wastewater management and treatment up 27.5% and mining up 3.8%.

Key industrial products with high output include frozen shrimps, sport footwear and bricks which recorded respective increases of 25.4%, 27.2% and 31%.

The total retail of goods and services during the period was estimated at over 100.63 trillion VND (4.13 billion USD), up 45.7% year-on-year. Of which, revenue from lodging and dining services topped 16.74 trillion VND, up 81.3%.

The total number of overnight visitors reached over 3.37 million, up 197.6% while revenue from tourism and hospitality services rose 9.7 times to more than 2 trillion VND.

An Giang, Cambodian businesses seek opportunities

A conference connecting businesses from the Mekong Delta province of An Giang with those from Cambodia was held in on December 2.

An Giang is considered an economic and trade centre linking Ho Chi Minh City, Can Tho and Phnom Penh, and an important trade gateway between Vietnam, Mekong Delta cities and provinces with Cambodian and ASEAN members.

The An Giang border economic zone is one of the eight national key border economic zones for 2021-2021-2025 with development partnered with Vinh Xuong, Tinh Bien international border gates, and Vinh Hoi Dong and Khanh Binh national border gates.
 
With over 80% of land used for agriculture, An Giang has so far recognised 74 One Commune One Products that hold potential to access Cambodia.

Total import-export via An Giang border gates surpassed 2.2 billion USD in the first 11 months of this year, down 3% annually, but the province’s total trade went up 19% to nearly 906 million USD.

Central bank works to tighten legal framework for cooperative credit institutions

The State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) is collecting comments on its draft circular to deal with risks in the operation of cooperative credit institutions, including cooperative banks and people’s credit funds (PCF).

Under the draft, the SBV mentioned many regulations on internal credit rating, credit granting and debt group management. At the same time, there are higher requirements in the application of digital technology to control risks.

Dr Le Ha Diem Chi, lecturer at the Banking University of Ho Chi Minh City, said the new regulations will help the group of cooperative credit institutions avoid the risk of bad debt arising.

According to Chi, the PCF group, which includes nearly 1,200 units and is a part of microfinance, has made an important contribution to poverty reduction and income improvement in rural areas. However, the risk management activities in many PCFs have not been paid due attention.

Statistics in the 2018-21 period showed the number of PCFs, which were put under special control due to poor governance, increased yearly from 2.0% to 2.5%. The rise proved there was a need for additional legislation to enhance risk management at PCFs.

According to the SBV’s Banking Supervision and Inspection Agency, as for credit institutions that are not cooperatives, the SBV last year promulgated Circular No. 11/2021/TT-NHNN on the classification of assets, risk provisioning, and use of provisions to handle risks in the operations of credit institutions and foreign bank branches. However, the PCF group currently still applies the old legal documents, such as Circular No. 21/2019/TT-NHNN dated November 14, 2019.

Nguyen Quoc Cuong, chairman of the board of directors of the Vietnam Cooperative Bank and chairman of the Vietnam Association of People's Credit Funds, said the internal control and audit have been developed and implemented strictly according to the SBV’s instructions by most PCFs. However, some PCFs only focused on making profits without paying due attention to internal audit standards.

Therefore, if the SBV issues a new circular on credit risk management, credit rating standards and provisioning, as well as requiring PCFs to increase the application of digital technology in risk management, the operation of the PCF group will be closer to commercial banks and other types of credit institutions in terms of capital management, credit quality management, and digital transformation.

Source: VNA/SGT/VNS/VOV/Dtinews/SGGP/VGP/Hanoitimes

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