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VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS MAY 25

FDI disbursement rises 6.8% despite COVID-19 threats

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The country’s foreign direct investment (FDI) disbursement during the opening four months of the year recorded an increase of 6.8% on-year to US$5.5 billion, according to the Foreign Investment Agency.

The agency notes that FDI inflows into Vietnam reached US$12.25 billion in the first quarter of the year.

Long An took the lead with total registered investment capital reaching roughly US$3.3 billion, accounting for nearly one third of the country’s total. It was followed by Can Tho with over US$1.3 billion, and Ho Chi Minh City with US$1.1 billion.

Among operational FDI projects nationwide, the Long An I and II LNG Power Plant projects have the largest registered capital of over US$3.1 billion.

Meanwhile, Hanoi capital was considered to be one of the localities that offers a favourable investment environment for high-tech financiers.

Data provided by the Hanoi Department of Planning and Investment shows the capital had 25 newly-licensed FDI projects with a total registered capital of US$11.9 million in April. The first quarter saw the city attract US$10.5 million worth of FDI capital, including US$49.8 million from 69 newly-licesed projects and US$51.7 million from 22 operational projects asking for increased investment.

The Foreign Investment Agency states that FDI enterprises continue to recover amid complicated developments of the COVID-19 pandemic, with FDI disbursement over the first four months of the year increasing by 6.8% to US$5.5 billion compared to the same period from last year.

Experts have outlined that the increase in FDI inflows represents a positive sign for the Vietnamese economy, noting that FDI attraction should primarily focus on high-quality projects moving forward.

COVID-19 resurgence leaves textile-garment makers restless

Vietnam’s textile and garment exports grew 9 percent to over 9.5 billion USD in the first four months of 2021, with shipments of cord fabric and fibre and yarn increasing 35.7 percent and 43.4 percent, respectively, year-on-year.

It was an especially encouraging performance given that the sector witnessed a 10.5 percent decline in generating 35 billion USD from exports last year. The industry is aiming for up to 39 billion USD in shipments this year.

However, exporters and producers can’t rest easily as the country’s fourth wave of COVID-19 is ravaging industrial parks in the north, where a large number of textile and apparel factories are located.

If a company is put under quarantine and must suspend production for 14 to 21 days, its plan for the year as a whole would be in tatters, according to Chairman of the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS) Vu Duc Giang. The consequences could be enormous, leaving firms on the brink of bankruptcy and workers without jobs, he added.

Textile and garments is a labour-intensive industry and the damage caused by the COVID-19 resurgence may be incalculable, he explained. Delays in delivery can lead to cancelled orders or delay penalties, resulting in losses in the billions of USD and reputational damage for the industry.

It is vital to protect workers’ health to maintain continuous production, Giang said.

To deal with the situation, VITAS has proposed the government and the Ministry of Health help producers buy and administer COVID-19 vaccines, with priority given to those in areas hit hardest by the pandemic.

The association has also suggested firms in the industry provide financial support for procuring vaccines, to speed up nationwide vaccination efforts./.

Binh Duong hands over investment certificates to five FDI projects

The People's Committee of the southern province of Binh Duong presented investment certificates to five foreign direct investment (FDI) projects worth nearly 1 billion USD in total during a recent ceremony.

They include two newly registered projects with a combined capital of 219 million USD and three others having capital adjusted up by about 755 million USD.

Of note, the 185-million-USD project of New Motion Pte Ltd of Singapore will be launched at Phu Tan Industrial Park (IP).

Meanwhile, Polytex Far Eastern Vietnam Co., Ltd will add 610 million USD to its current project at Bau Bang IP, raising its total investment to 1.37 billion USD.

Chairman of the Binh Duong People’s Committee Nguyen Hoang Thao said that the province has exerted efforts in realising the dual targets of curbing the spread of COVID-19 and ensuring socio-economic development by creating a favourable investment climate and bolstering external relations.

The province lured additional 1.25 billion USD in foreign direct investment in the first five months of 2021, a year-on-year surge of 59 percent.

As of May 15, Binh Duong had 3,974 projects totalling 36.5 billion USD from 65 countries and territories, ranking third in the country, only after Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi./.

Binh Duong’s per capita income highest in Vietnam

The southern province of Binh Duong surpassed Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to top the nation’s per capita monthly income in 2020, the General Statistics Office (GSO) has said.

According to the GSO’s survey on local living standards in 2020, which covered nearly 47,000 households across 63 cities and provinces, the province’s per capita income was more than 7 million VND (303.93 USD) per month, while that of the southern hub was 6.537 million VND, and Hanoi 5.981 million VND.

The national average was 4.23 million VND, with the per capita income in urban areas reaching more than 5.5 million VND, rural areas 3.48 million VND.

In terms of regions, the southeast region had the highest monthly per capita income, at over 6 million VND, 2.2 times higher than that of the northern midland and mountainous region which had the lowest monthly per capita income.

The survey pointed out that housing quality played an important role in deciding people’s living quality. Last year, 95.6 percent of households lived in permanent houses and semi-permanent houses. Only a small number of families resided in less-temporary houses and simple houses due to their long-standing practices, like those in the Mekong Delta and the northern midland and mountainous regions.

Although Binh Duong had a low percentage of households having permanent houses (6.3 percent), the province had no less-temporary and simple houses.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of poor families has continued to decrease thanks to social welfare policies, the GSO says. Policymakers, however, need to address the wealth gaps between urban and rural areas, the rich and poor as well as between regions./.

RoK opens new container route to Thailand, Vietnam

The Republic of Korea (RoK)’s Incheon Seaport Corporation announced on May 24 that it has begun tapping a new container route from Incheon port to ports in Thailand and Vietnam.

Named “New Korea Thailand”, the route starts from Incheon, passes through the RoK’s Gwangyang and Busan ports, Hong Kong (China), Shekou in China’s Shenzhen, Laem Chabang and Bangkok in Thailand, and ends at Tan Cang – Cat Lai port in Ho Chi Minh City.

Three maritime companies, namely Korea, Chun Kyung and Namsung, will operate three container vessels with a capacity of 1,500 – 1,600 TEU on the route, with one trip each week.

The Incheon Seaport Corporation hoped that the new route will contribute to promoting export-import and supply stable transportation services between the RoK and Southeast Asia./.

First shipment of Vietnamese fresh lychees arrives in Japan

A batch of fresh lychees grown in Thanh Ha district of the northern province of Hai Duong arrived in Japan on May 22 to cater to local consumer tastes.

Their arrival marks the first shipment of Vietnamese lychees to be exported to the Japanese market this year.

The lychees were purchased, packed, and sent by Ameii Vietnam Joint Stock Company to Bac Giang to undergo methyl bromide fumigation before they were subsequently exported to Japan by air.

According to a representative of the firm, a second batch of the lychees was also sent to the Far East nation at midnight on May 23.

From May 24 the company is set to export five tonnes of lychees each day as part of efforts to meet Japanese partners’ demand.

Ameii Vietnam has planned to ship approximately 300 tonnes of Thanh Ha lychees to Japan. It has also developed plans to export between 700 and 1,000 tonnes of the fruit to other markets, including Singapore, the United States, and Australia.

Last year witnessed the Vietnamese enterprise send a total of 30 tonnes of Thanh Ha lychees to Japan.

Wine, beer consumption up despite pandemic

A Vietnamese person consumed an average of 1.3 liters of wine and beer per month in 2020, higher than the 0.9 liter in 2018, despite the COVID-19 outbreak, according to the General Statistics Office.

The office’s survey on the living standards in 2020 showed that the wine and beer volumes consumed monthly by the richest and poorest households were 2.4 and 1.3 liters, respectively, Nguoi Lao Dong newspaper reported.

In addition, the volume of wine and beer consumed in urban areas was lower than that of rural areas, at 1.2 and 1.3 liters, respectively.

The General Statistics Office also announced that consumers’ average monthly spending reached VND2.89 million due to low incomes triggered by COVID-19.

Households in urban areas spent some VND3.8 million monthly on average, while those in rural areas spent VND2.4 million on average.

The southeastern region, with the highest monthly per capita income, reported the highest spending of households at VND3.9 million, rising 17.3% against 2018.

Meanwhile, the average spending of the northern midland and mountainous region, which posted the lowest monthly per capita income, was also the lowest in the country, at VND2.1 million.

The General Statistics Office’s survey, conducted on nearly 47,000 households nationwide, was aimed at assessing the living standards, incomes and gap between the rich and poor in the country.

Đồng Tháp uses IT, smart devices to restructure agricultural production

The Cửu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Đồng Tháp is expanding its use of information technology (IT) and advanced farming techniques to restructure agricultural production and achieve sustainability.

Among the models being used is an "ideal rice farming model" with modern facilities and smart fertiliser.

The "My home mango tree” model and the “My orchard orange tree” farming models sell fruits of a whole mango tree or orange tree to consumers online.

Other initiatives include computer chips to manage parent tra fish to produce fry, an app with information about diseases of animals, fruit-growing areas with production unit codes for export purposes, and cultivation of organic vegetables.

Đồng Tháp is the country’s first province chosen to implement the country’s agriculture restructuring plan. It has developed many effective farming models, which have improved incomes for farmers.

Nguyễn Hồng Sự, chairman of the Cao Lãnh District People’s Committee, said the district is Đồng Tháp’s first locality applying IT in agriculture. It uses the “My home mango tree” model and ideal rice farming model.

Launched in 2016 by the Mỹ Xương Mango Co-operative in Cao Lãnh District, the “My home mango tree” model sells fruits of a whole mango tree planted to Vietnamese good agricultural practices (VietGAP) standards directly to customers through its website.

Each mango tree is identified by a number, and customers can view the current status of the mango tree on the website.

Buyers have to pay VNĐ3- 5 million (US$130 - 216) a year to buy a mango tree sold under the “My home mango tree” model. The price is calculated based on the yield in previous years of the sold mango tree.

Buyers can get 100 – 150kg of mangoes for a year from their tree, or 70 per cent of the quantity guaranteed in the contract if there is a poor harvest.

When a tree is sold, the owner of the mango tree tends the tree, harvests the ripe fruits and sends them to the buyer.

The selling of mango trees on the website offers co-operative members a profit 1.5 – 2 times higher than selling mangoes to traders.

The Mỹ Xương Mango Co-operative has sold 420 mango trees to buyers in Đồng Tháp and other provinces and cities nationwide, including HCM City and Hà Nội.

Last year, the province started its first advanced rice farming model that uses modern techniques in all production stages and irrigation water efficiently.

The model is being implemented by the Mỹ Đông 2 Commune Co-operative in Tháp Mười District. The co-operative is growing 570ha of rice.

Under the model, the co-operative’s farmers use machines and smart devices for sowing seeds, fertilising, harvesting and post-harvest handling. 

The co-operative’s farmers also use slow -release fertiliser in soil and use smartphones to monitor and control the irrigation of their fields to save water.

They also use smart devices to monitor brown plant hoppers in rice fields and drones to spray pesticides.  

The model has helped farmers increase profit by VNĐ10 million ($430) per hectare a crop compared to traditional rice farming methods.

Bùi Văn Sơn, head of the Tháp Mười District Bureau of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the model has helped farmers cut production costs by reducing the quantity of seeds, fertiliser and pesticides.

“The model also protects the natural enemies of rice pests and minimizes the adverse impact on the environment,” he said.

Ngô Phước Dũng, director of Mỹ Đông 2, said: “The model is being expanded in many localities.”

The province’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development is co-operating with localities to train farmers in advanced techniques so they can expand these farming models.

The department has encouraged farmers to grow their crops to VietGAP standards. The province has 100ha of vegetables and 444ha of fruits grown under VietGAP, global GAP, or other food safety standards, according to the department.

Around 5,870ha of fruit growing areas have been granted production unit codes for export purposes. Most of these areas grow mango, longan, dragon fruit, jackfruit and rambutan.

Each fruit growing area with a production unit code has a minimum of 10ha, and grows only one type of fruit to VietGAP or other equivalent standards. 

Key products

As an agrarian province, Đồng Tháp has identified rice, mango, flowers, ornamental plants, tra fish and ducks as key agricultural products in its agricultural restructuring plan.

Đồng Tháp is the largest producer of mango, flowers, ornamental plants, tra fish and ducks in the delta. It is also one of the delta’s largest rice producers.

In rice production, the province reached a production value of VNĐ21 trillion ($911 million) last year, up VNĐ3 trillion against 2017, according to the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The province’s average rice yield last year increased by 383kg per hectare compared to 2017.

The province’s key products are exported to many markets. Fresh mangoes are exported to the US, EU, Russia, South Korea, Australia, and Japan, among others.

The province’s mangoes are processed into many products like dried mango, frozen mango, mango wine and mango glutinous rice paper.

The value of agricultural production accounts for 30 per cent of the province’s total economic value. Agriculture has an average growth rate of 3 per cent each year and creates jobs for 50 per cent of the province’s total workforce. 

Viet Nam-Australia trade revenue surges nearly 34 per cent

Two-way trade turnover between Viet Nam and Australia topped US$3.63 billion in the first four months of this year, a year-on-year rise of 33.85 per cent, according to Vietnamese Consul General to Australia Nguyen Dang Thang.

Speaking at a business co-operation conference held by the Vietnamese Entrepreneurs Association in Sydney (VEAS) late last week, Thang said that exports of both nations to each other’s market increased in the period.

He described this as significant in the context that the COVID-19 pandemic caused an unprecedented disruption to the global economy and several nations, including those in Southeast Asia. However, Thang said the trade value did not reflect the economic potential between the two nations, adding Vietnamese and Australian enterprises should not only trade traditional products like seafood, farm produce, minerals, garment and textiles, footwear and building materials, but also capitalise on the products that both sides have gained competitive edge in the global market.

He also called on the Australian businesses to invest more in the Vietnamese market, particularly in the fields they hold considerable experience and advantages such as processing, manufacturing, high-tech agriculture, and logistics.

Meanwhile, Chairwoman of the Export Council of Australia Dianne Tipping affirmed Viet Nam and Australia have enjoyed the fastest trade growth in recent years, and the Southeast Asian country has become a more important trade partner of Australia.

Besides goods, they have seen impressive growth in their trade in services, including fintech, healthcare and education, she said.

Boasting fast economic growth, expansion of middle-class population, young and dynamic workforce, stable socio-political environment, and better business climate, Viet Nam is truly an ideal destination for Australia firms, she said, adding the Viet Nam – Australia ties have been deepened across the fields of economy, security, defence, culture, education and people diplomacy.

Tipping affirmed that the two countries have many opportunities to branch out their economic-trade relations in the post-pandemic era.

The Export Council of Australia encourages Australian businesses to expand their business in Viet Nam, particularly in the fields that have good growth in the future such as information technology, digital transformation, finance-banking, environmental services, healthcare, and beauty.

Tipping said her council has advised the Australian government to back trade promotion with Viet Nam, especially giving support to small- and medium-sized companies who are interested in investing in the Vietnamese market, as well as consider establishing a travel corridor between the two countries. 

Slashed Philippine rice tariffs an opportunity for Vietnamese exporters

The Philippines’s move to lower tariffs on imported rice will open opportunities for Viet Nam to maintain stable supply of the product for the country and help it stabilise the domestic market, the Vietnamese Ministry of Industry and Trade has said.

However, given fierce price competition with traditional rice exporters like Thailand and India, the ministry urged domestic firms to foster co-operation and connectivity with co-operatives and major farming households to minimise intermediate stages, thus cutting costs and enhancing competitiveness.

At the same time, exporters should study and observe regulations set by the Philippines, including those on customs declaration, the ministry said, noting that they should negotiate and sign contracts with only businesses that have been granted with the Sanitary Phytosanitary Import Clearance (SPS-IC) by the Philippine Department of Agriculture.

They also need to keep updated on the market, as the tariff cut under the Philippine President's order can be changed anytime, and draw up plans to prevent business risks, while stepping up inspections and supervisions over rice quality to ensure the prestige of Vietnamese rice, the ministry suggested.

Earlier, in an executive order, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte cut the Most Favoured Nation (MFN) tariff rates on rice to 35 per cent from 40 per cent for in-quota purchases and 50 per cent for out-quota volume for one year.

According to the General Department of Viet Nam Customs, in the first four months of this year, Viet Nam shipped more than 715,000 tonnes of rice valued at some US$380 million to the Philippines, accounting for 36.27 per cent of total rice exports.

Masan Consumer to pay cash dividend of 45 per cent

Masan Consumer (MCH) will pay a 45 per cent cash dividend for 2020 on June 14.

June 2 is the record date.

Shareholders whose shares are not in the depository can get the dividend at the company’s accounting office at MPlaza Saigon, 39 Le Duan in HCM City’s District 1.

MCH, which has a free float of 708.9 million shares, will pay out over VND3.19 trillion (US$138.5 million).

It targets net revenues of VND 27 - 30.5 trillion ($1.17-1.32 billion) this year, an increase of 16-31 per cent, and profit after tax of VND5- 5.5 trillion ($217-238.7 million), an increase of 11-22 per cent.

Its net revenues in the first quarter grew by 18.8 per cent to VND5.494 trillion, with 42 per cent of growth contributed by new products launched in 2020.

MCH is one of the largest branded consumer goods company in Viet Nam with a focus on power brands and innovation. 

SSI eyes highest profits among securities companies in 2021

SSI Securities Corporation targets revenues and pre-tax profits of VND 5.26 trillion (US$228.5 million) and VND1.87 trillion ($81.2 million) this year, the latter being the highest among listed securities companies.

They were approved at the company’s annual general meeting held online last week.

Shareholders also approved a number of other important proposals, including one to increase charter capital to VND11 trillion ($447.5 million) through a share issuance to expand operations, improve underwriting, investment and margin lending capacity, and provide better support to investors.

SSI already has the largest charter capital in the industry, VND6.498 trillion.

The stock market is expected to sustain the current upward trend this year as economic growth drivers remain the right track and monetary and fiscal policies continue to support economic growth, Nguyen Duy Hung, the company’s chairman, said.

Retail investors and ETF flows would boost market growth, he said.

In the first quarter of this year SSI’s pre-tax profits increased by 34 times year-on-year to VND528.2 billion ($22.9 million) on revenue of VND 1.503 trillion ($65.2 million).

Its consolidated revenues last year were VND 4.58 trillion ($199.1 million) and profit before tax was VND1.557 trillion ($67.7 million).

In 2020 its ETF SSIAM VNFIN LEAD, the first industry index fund in Viet Nam, achieved a return of 35.6 per cent.

VN-Index inches closer to 1,300 point-level

Viet Nam's stock market opened Monday on a positive note, heading to new historic high of 1,300 points. Meanwhile, foreign investors still fled the market with a total net sell value of nearly VND668 billion.

The market benchmark VN-Index on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE) closed the trading day at 1,297.98 points, edging 14.05 points higher, or 1.09 per cent. Last week, the index gained 1.39 per cent.

The market breadth stayed positive with 259 stocks rising while 158 stocks slid. And 46 stocks ended flat.

The liquidity surged as local investors poured nearly VND23.64 trillion into the market, equivalent to over 715.5 million shares being traded.

Bao Viet Securities Company said that the market is expected to fall in the last session.

"The VN-Index will face strong fluctuations when it approaches the resistance territory of around 1,285 points," the securities firm added.

According to the company, the market and stock groups will not receive much supportive information during this period. Therefore, the market continues to see strong divisions between stocks' lines, as well as some large-cap stocks.

The market was supported by pillar stocks, especially stocks in banking, material and real estate sectors.

The VN30-Index, tracking 30 biggest stocks on HoSE, posted a gain of 0.38 per cent to 1,430.48 points. Twenty-three of 30 stocks in the VN30 basket jumped, while only seven stocks fell.

Vietinbank (CTG) was still the leader of the market's rally, up 6.11 per cent. Other stocks like Vietnam Rubber Group (GVR), Vinhomes JSC (VHM), JSC Bank For Investment and Development of Vietnam (BID) and Vietnam Dairy Products JSC (Vinamilk, VNM) also witnessed outstanding performance with these stocks up in the range of 2 - 7 per cent.

On the Ha Noi Stock Exchange (HNX), the HNX-Index climbed 0.79 per cent to 300.33 points. The index was also boosted by large-cap stocks as the HNX30-Index increased 1.44 per cent to 453.52 points.

During the trading session, over 110.87 million shares were traded on the northern bourse, worth VND2.54 trillion.

Despite the market remaining bullish, foreign investors kept fleeing as they net sold a total value of nearly VND668 billion.

Of which, they net sold a value of VND645.3 billion on HoSE, a value of VND3.86 billion on HNX and a value of VND18.82 billion on UPCOM.

Masan in strategic tie-up with Phuc Long to open coffee-tea kiosks at VinMart+ stores

The Sherpa Company Limited, a subsidiary of Masan Group Corporation, announced on Monday the signing of an agreement to acquire 20 per cent of Phuc Long Heritage Joint Stock Company for US$15 million.

The latter owns Phuc Long, one of the leading tea and coffee brands in Viet Nam.

As part of the transaction, VinCommerce entered into a strategic co-operation agreement with Phuc Long to jointly develop ‘Phuc Long Kiosk’ at more than 2,200 VinMart+ stores nationwide.

Phuc Long Kiosk will bring fresh and delicious tea and coffee drinks to 100 million Vietnamese consumers, playing an important part in converting the VinMart+ stores into a destination that satisfies the daily essential needs of consumers of all ages.

Viet Nam’s tea and coffee market is valued at $2.3 billion and expected to grow by more than 10 per cent a year. But branded tea and coffee retail chains, including popular brands such as Highlands Coffee (over 300 stores), The Coffee House (over 150 stores) and Starbucks (over 70 stores), only account for 25 per cent of the market.

Given a young consumer base that aspires for innovative products and services, both Masan and Phuc Long believe that branded tea and coffee chains will explode in the next decade.

With the trial results of four kiosks in HCM City in the last three months, the two sides are confident of achieving the target of 1,000 Phuc Long Kiosks in the next 18-24 months.

Lam Boi Minh, founder of Phuc Long Heritage, said, “After 50 years of experience growing and developing the highest quality of tea leaves and coffee beans coupled with relentless innovation and strong passion, the Phuc Long team has created for consumers coffee and tea drinks with unrivalled quality.

“We are proud to have achieved important milestones in our first phase of development - building a network of 82 stores and a Phuc Long brand that is trusted and loved by consumers, especially youths.

“I believe that by partnering with Masan Phuc Long will unlock the next phase of growth and continue to offer Vietnamese consumers high-quality products and delightful experiences in enjoying tea and coffee drinks while making Phuc Long a long-lasting brand for many generations.”

Truong Cong Thang, CEO of VinCommerce, said: “As two Vietnamese power brands who are synergising their strengths, VinMart+ and Phuc Long are proud to serve Vietnamese people by uplifting their material and spiritual lives. Masan deeply appreciates the achievements of Phuc Long, as well as the passion and enthusiasm of its founder Lam Boi Minh.

“I believe that in combining the Phuc Long products and VinMart+ network of more than 2,200 stores today and 10,000 stores in the next five years, we will provide 100 million Vietnamese consumers with the opportunity to enjoy the freshest, most delicious tea and coffee drinks. With the goal of serving daily essential products that meet ‘The Very Best of Fresh’ standards, we believe that each VinMart+ store will transform into a symbol of modern lifestyle, a destination for all ages, from youths to housewives, across Viet Nam.

“In the near future we hope to take the Phuc Long tea and coffee brands global, contributing to spreading our cultural identity and promoting the signature drinks of Viet Nam. At the same time this partnership also helps speed up Masan’s strategy to develop the Point of Life consumer ecosystem.”

Under the agreement with VinCommerce, Phuc Long Kiosk will share 20 per cent of its revenues with VinMart+.

If the results of the trial are an indication, the partnership will increase the profit margin for VinMart+ by more than 4 per cent.

Founded in 1968 at Bao Loc, the upland famous for its tea, and with its first retail store opened in HCM CIty, Phuc Long began supplying high-quality coffee and tea products in which the traditional Vietnamese taste was preserved and combined with an appealing modern style.

Dragon Capital sells 800,000 shares of HPG

A group of investment funds run by Dragon Capital said on Monday it has sold 800,000 shares of steel giant Hoa Phat Group (HPG) to reduce its holdings to about 198.15 million shares, or 5.98 per cent.

The transaction date was May 19.

The funds that sold HPG shares were CTBC Vietnam Equity Fund selling 650,000 shares, DC Developing Markets Strategies Public Limited Company, 100,000 shares, and KB Vietnam Focus Balanced Fund, 50,000 shares.

At the beginning of April, this group bought 1.2 million HPG shares to increase the volume from 198.7 million to 199.92 million shares, equivalent to an increase of 5.99 per cent to 6.03 per cent of ownership.

HPG shares in the past three months have increased sharply from VND46,000 (US$1.99) per share to VND65,600 per share, equivalent to an increase of 42 per cent.

Based on the current price range, Dragon Capital group has collected about VND52.5 billion after selling 800,000 shares and currently holds a volume of HPG stock worth VND13 trillion.

HPG's gain was supported by positive business results in the first quarter. The corporate revenue reached VND31.18 trillion, up 62 per cent. Profit after tax was VND7 trillion, thee times higher than the same period last year.

Regarding sales of steel products, in the first four months of this year, the enterprise sold 2.66 million tonnes of billet, finished construction steel and hot-rolled coil (HRC).

Construction steel alone reached 1.28 million tonnes, up 28 per cent. Export output of square billet reached 507,000 tonnes, up slightly over the same period last year.

Sales of hot rolled coil reached 878,000 tonnes. Steel pipes and galvanised steel also grew well, reaching 271,000 tonnes and 93,000 tonnes, respectively, up 32 per cent and 2.6 times over the same period last year, respectively. 

SP Group partners BCG Energy to grow renewable energy portfolio in Viet Nam

SP Group has signed a memorandum of understanding with BCG Energy Joint Stock Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of Bamboo Capital, that provides it exclusive rights to purchase 49 per cent of the latter’s subsidiary, Skylar Joint Stock Company.

Under the agreement, SP will acquire an initial 61.1 MW of rooftop solar assets from Skylar in 14 provinces across Viet Nam.

It will mark SP’s entry into Viet Nam’s renewable energy sector, a strategic growth market for it as it continues to expand its sustainable energy solutions footprint in the region.

The two sides will also jointly explore opportunities to invest and develop solar power projects to enhance Viet Nam’s electricity supply and support its ambitious goal of increasing the rate of electricity produced from renewables to 32 per cent by 2030 and 43 per cent by 2045.

Skylar specialises in rooftop solar and the installation of solar rooftop assets on factories and industrial parks.

BCG Energy is regarded as a pioneer in Viet Nam’s renewable energy industry. In recent years it has focused on researching into and implementing renewable energy projects to create an alternative supply.

It has been working closely with the world’s leading players in the solar industry on solutions, technologies, construction plans, environmental solutions, and analysis of local energy needs, thereby boldly making proposals to invest in large renewable energy plants in Viet Nam.

SP’s group chief executive officer, Stanley Huang, said: “This collaboration with BCG Energy will create a strong platform for us to support Viet Nam’s growing demand for electricity via a renewables-led path.

“Our track record in Singapore and China highlights our operational and technical expertise in sustainable energy projects that deliver on both business and environmental outcomes.

“We are confident this partnership with BCG Energy, a leader in renewable energy in Viet Nam, will offer operational synergies and innovation opportunities to advance Vietnam’s transition to low carbon energy and meet its sustainability ambitions.”

BCG Energy chief executive officer Pham Minh Tuan said: “Our aspiration is to build a leading renewable energy company in Viet Nam and Asia that will build significant market share in its fields. We believe that BCG Energy's cooperation with SP will contribute to promoting Viet Nam's energy industry to develop in a sustainable, environmentally friendly manner and enhance its ability to adapt to climate change.”BCG aims to develop 1.5 GW by 2023, including 500 MW rooftop solar focusing on industrial zones and manufacturing factories across Viet Nam. The new collaboration with SP Group will based on a win-win partnership and fasten up the company’s target pipeline.

In December last year SP established its Vietnam office in HCM city.

By extending its capabilities in sustainable energy and digital solutions, SP aims to create value-added solutions for its customers in Viet Nam and establish SP’s position as a leading sustainable energy solutions player in Asia Pacific.

SP Group is a leading utilities group in the Asia Pacific that seeks to enable a low-carbon, smart-energy future for its customers.

It owns and operates electricity and gas transmission and distribution businesses in Singapore and Australia, and sustainable energy solutions in Singapore and China.

As Singapore’s national grid operator, it benefits around 1.6 million industrial, commercial and residential customers with its world-class transmission, distribution and market support services.

These networks are among the most reliable and cost-effective anywhere in the world.

Beyond traditional utilities services, SP Group provides a suite of renewable and sustainable solutions including solar energy, microgrids, cooling and heating systems for business districts and residential townships, electric vehicle fast charging, and green digital energy management tools for customers in Singapore and the region.

BCG Energy is one of the pioneers in the renewable energy market in Viet Nam.

In recent years BCG Energy has focused on solar farms, solar rooftop and wind energy. It has successfully put into operation BCG-CME Long An 1 (49.6 MW) and BCG-CME Long An 2 (100.5 MW) solar power plants, VNECO Vinh Long solar farms (49.3 MW), Phu My Solar Power Plant (330 MW) and almost 50 MW of rooftop solar in Viet Nam.

In 2021 BCG Energy's revenues are expected to grow rapidly since it has added more than 453 MW of power to the grid.

In the near future BCG Energy will speed up solar energy projects, especially rooftop solar, in industrial zones.

Skylar JSC, its subsidiary, concentrates on rooftop solar, and is hailed by its partners for its ability to implement projects on schedule.

In 2020 it installed nearly 50 MW of rooftop solar in many provinces and cities across Viet Nam.

In 2021-22 it is expected to instal another 250 MW. 

Car sales go online amid pandemic

Car companies are offering new door-to-door services and digitised shopping experiences to boost consumption amid the latest outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in Viet Nam.

The companies have launch sales consulting programmes at customers' homes where the customers can have a test drive, sign purchase contracts and get the car delivered to their home without having to visit a showroom.

According to car dealers, although this new sales channel has only recently been launched at some automakers and car dealers in Ha Noi, the number of customers ordering cars in this manner is the same as the number of those who went to showrooms pre-pandemic.

Ford Vietnam general director Pham Van Dung told VietnamPlus.vn that the COVID-19 pandemic is a challenging and special time for individuals, firms and countries worldwide. Ford's business has been also affected by the pandemic, but the firm believes keeping its commitments to quality and customer satisfaction as well as ensuring safety is the best way to get through this challenging period.

For the convenience and safety of customers during the COVID-19 pandemic, Ford Vietnam has implemented a programme to support online sales and home test driving.

Customers can stay at home and make online requests or call their nearest Ford dealer. Car dealers will contact the customers online or call them and bring the cars to their home for a test drive.

Dung said the implementation of online sales not only creates an additional sales channel but also helps to better take care of customers in the context of the pandemic.

A representative of VinFast said the latest outbreak has affected many industries, including the auto market.

Therefore, VinFast has launched a door-to-door service for customers to ensure safety, including full processes from consulting, test driving, signing contracts and approving online bank loans.

Along with Ford and VinFast, Mercedes-Benz Vietnam has launched an e-commerce platform for its products at mercedes-benz.com.vn/shop, where it displays all new car models with full information.

Customers only need to choose their favourite model and make online requests.

Bradley Kelly, general director of Mercedes-Benz Vietnam, expected digitalisation would be a great step forward in the journey of buying luxury cars for Vietnamese customers.

US companies concerned about COVID-19 resurgence and vaccine availability in Vietnam

The latest coronavirus outbreak is causing anxiety and uncertainty for US businesses across all sectors in Vietnam, but expectations of more vaccine availability promise more stable operations in the coming time. 

The American Chamber of Commerce in Hanoi (AmCham) surveyed its members last Friday about the business impact of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak in Vietnam. The survey focused on business operations, travel and activity restrictions, burdensome procedures for in-bound arrivals, and the availability of vaccines in Vietnam.

Accordingly, over 90 per cent of AmCham members responding to the survey said the current outbreak has affected their business operations. The biggest challenges are a lack of available vaccines to protect their team members and not being able to bring necessary people into the country due to burdensome travel requirements and paperwork.

Over 70 per cent of respondents say their company is currently restricting work travel in Vietnam. Around 90 per cent of AmCham members have cancelled work or personal travel due to the current outbreak that has found infections in 30 cities and provinces here.

“The health and safety of people in Vietnam should remain the government’s No.1 priority. At the same time, it is important to recognise that in-bound travel brings in the foreign experts and business people necessary to facilitate new investment, efficient operations, key infrastructure, education of Vietnamese children, and more," AmCham's executive director Adam Sitkoff said.

Survey results found that 81 per cent of members say their company would bring more people to Vietnam if the mandatory quarantine period was reduced from 21 days to seven days.

"The pandemic will likely continue causing disruptions and lock people inside a room for many weeks which might seem like a good idea today, but Vietnamese policymakers need to think seriously about a safe and simple system of documentation that will facilitate international arrivals here. Vaccines have proven safe and effective. AmCham encourages authorities to implement less burdensome entry procedures for fully vaccinated business people, foreign experts, and maybe even tourists,” Sitkoff added.

In the survey responses, AmCham members repeatedly stressed the need to get more people vaccinated. In fact, 88 per cent of respondents said they or their company would pay money to receive a high-quality vaccine here.

The AmCham executive director again offered to gather financial resources from companies if the government would guarantee quick vaccine availability for their team members. He added that vaccine availability is the top issue on the minds of AmCham members right now and that until many more people get jabbed in the arm, "we will likely see additional outbreaks and disruption from the virus here."

Source: VNA/VNS/VOV/VIR/SGT/Nhan Dan/Hanoitimes

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