BUSINESS NEWS IN BRIEF 15/1

Created 15 January 2019
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Viet Nam exports molasses to drought-affected Australian regions,Over 32,000 tonnes of colour-coated iron exempted from safeguard measures,Vietravel ranks first in top 10 travel firms 2018

Viet Nam exports molasses to drought-affected Australian regions, Over 32,000 tonnes of colour-coated iron exempted from safeguard measures, Vietravel ranks first in top 10 travel firms 2018

Azerbaijani investors eye Vietnamese market

Azerbaijani investors with strong financial capacity and professional performance are keen on landing investments in Vietnam, has said Anar Imanov, Azerbaijani Ambassador to Vietnam.

In his remarks at a recent workshop themed “Meet Azerbaijan” in Hanoi, the Azerbaijani Ambassador highlighted Azerbaijani enterprises' advantage of plentiful capital and practical experience in implementing projects in Europe, adding that many are seeking investment opportunities in Vietnam.

As one of the world’s leading crucial oil and gas producers and suppliers, Azerbaijan also has great potential to boost its bilateral cooperation with Vietnam in three key fields, including tourism, logistics, and agriculture. 

The diplomat cited a FAM tour jointly held by the Azerbaijan Embassy in Vietnam and Qatar Airways last year as a big effort to bolster tourism cooperation between the two countries.

The FAM tour provided many Vietnamese tourism operators with a fact-finding trip of Azerbaijan’s potential and favorable conditions in developing its tourism sector. These operators, right after the tour, teamed up with Azerbaijani partners to design tours in a bid to bring Vietnamese tourists to Azerbaijan and vice versa.

The diplomat called upon Vietnamese businesses and localities to send representatives to annual Azerbaijan International Tourism and Travel Fair, slated for April toward their broader tourism cooperation with Azerbaijan partners.

Logistics is another advantage of Azerbaijan. The Trans-Caspian East-West transport corridor would help to increase linkages between China and Europe while the North-South corridor aims to accelerate connections between Russia and Northern Europe, he noted. 

Azerbaijan also has the added advantage of developing other sectors such as railway, seaport and shipbuilding, and airport.

Regarding agricultural cooperation, the ambassador said that his nation acknowledges the advantage and production capacity of Vietnam's agricultural sector, especially the cultivation of fruits, coffee, cashew nuts, and pepper.

He assured Azerbaijani businesses' desire to make investments in the Vietnamese farm product market, revealing that some businesses wish to have several Vietnamese varieties planted in Azerbaijan.

At the workshop, provincial representatives from Ha Giang, Quang Ninh, Tien Giang, Danang and Dak Lak, updated participants on investment and cooperation opportunities these localities are calling for.

Anar Imanov, in turn, stated that the Azerbaijan Embassy pledged their best efforts to foster connections among enterprises of the two nations.

Firms more satisfied with customs: survey     

Businesses have been increasingly satisfied when dealing with administrative procedures in export-import activities. However, more reforms are needed to further facilitate firms’ operation, heard attendants at a conference in Ha Noi on Tuesday.

The Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) in collaboration with the General Department of Viet Nam Customs, and the US Agency for International Development conducted the survey as part of a 2018 report on business satisfaction concerning administrative procedures for import and export activities.

The survey included more than 3,000 domestic enterprises, foreign-invested firms and State-owned enterprises, covering aspects such as access to information, customs officers’ services and goods inspections.

“The satisfaction of the business community towards the customs sector has improved in most aspects,” said VCCI’s head of Legal Affairs Department Dau Anh Tuan.

He said that 91 per cent of the surveyed enterprises considered the information provided by customs agencies consistent and 90 per cent reported that the available customs information was easy to find.

The respective figures for 2015 were 77 per cent and 81 per cent.

In addition, the ratio of enterprises reporting difficulties also dropped considerably compared with the findings in 2015.

The report showed that ‘unofficial fees’ which firms sometimes had to pay to customs officers in implementing import-export procedures have reduced sharply. Only 18 per cent of surveyed companies said they had to pay the fees, which was much lower than that of 28 per cent in 2015.

However, up to 70 per cent of the 3,000 import-export firms polled nationwide said they wanted simpler administrative procedures.

According to the report, 56 per cent and 53 per cent of the surveyed firms faced difficulties in looking for information about the procedures and in checking the codes of their submitted documents, respectively.

Some 53 per cent of them suggested relevant agencies increase their application of IT, while 43 per cent asked for boosted customs openness and transparency as well as better performance of public personnel.

Approximately 30 per cent recommended the customs sector improve its infrastructure system.

Tuan said the survey was carried out amid the emerging need of customs reform in line with the Government’s Resolution 19 on improving the business climate and national competitiveness.

It focused on categories of information access, customs administrative procedures, customer service, the national single-window information portal, and unofficial fees, among others.

The survey was conducted as a way to make recommendations to relevant authorities for suitable amendments to legal regulations that could facilitate the business community.

Deputy General Director of Viet Nam Customs, Hoang Viet Cuong, said the sector had been working to implement comprehensive reform toward reinforcing the customs – enterprise partnership and increasing activities that facilitate import and export activities.

The customs authority had conducted numerous surveys to learn of businesses’ difficulties and gather their feedback regarding procedures, he noted, adding that the comments had been turned into proposals to relevant State agencies.

In addition, the customs sector had increased check-ups using modern technology. The General Department of Customs has installed a system of container scanners and cameras, as well as implementing an automatic customs supervision system which helps reduce customs clearance time and the supervision of customs officers.

Navico invests VND4 trillion in aquaculture   

Viet Nam exports molasses to drought-affected Australian regions, Over 32,000 tonnes of colour-coated iron exempted from safeguard measures, Vietravel ranks first in top 10 travel firms 2018  

Nam Viet Joint Stock Company started the massive Nam Viet Binh Phu high-tech aquaculture project in An Giang Province’s Chau Phu District on Tuesday.

The project is developed by Navico’s Nam Viet Binh Phu Seafood Co, Ltd on an area of 600 hectares with a total investment of VND4 trillion (US$171.7 million) in the district’s Binh Phu Commune.

It will be the country’s largest-ever tra fish farming project.

The project will have one zone devoted to high-quality fingerlings of tra fish with an investment of VND1 trillion and an annual capacity of 360 million units for the local market.

The other zone will use high-tech applications to rear commercial tra fish with an investment of VND3 trillion and an annual capacity of 200,000 tonnes for export processing.

According to Navico, one of the project’s goals is to complete a sustainable value chain. With this project, Navico will have its own supply meet export processing demand and improve fingerling production. That will help the corporation increase exports in the future.

Doan Toi, Navico chairman, said the company’s total export value is expected to double to between US$250 million and 300 million, including $150 million contributed by the Binh Phu project when it comes into operation.

Fingerling shortages have been a key problem for the domestic tra fish industry, leading to a lack of raw material for export processing. Over the past three years, the lack of raw materials has pushed up the price of tra fish by 66 per cent.

Development of the production chain will help Navico lower production costs and increase the competitiveness of its products.

In 2018, Navico gained VND4.1 trillion in revenue, of which, export value reached $150 million and after-tax profit was more than VND600 billion. Navico’s main export markets are South America, the Middle East, Europe and Asia.

Vietravel ranks first in top 10 travel firms 2018     

Tour operator Vietravel was ranked first in the list of Viet Nam’s top 10 prestigious travel and tourism companies in 2018, announced by the Viet Nam Report Company.

Saigon Tourist came second, followed by Fiditour, Ben Thanh Tourist and Hanoi Tourist.

The next five companies in the Top 10 prestigious travel and tourism companies in 2018 are new names including Exotissimo Travel Viet Nam; Vietnamtourism - Hanoi JSC; Company TST Tourist Service & Trading Corporation; Buffalo Tours Co., Ltd and Anex Viet Nam Travel And Trading Co., Ltd.

These companies are evaluated and ranked based on these main criteria: financial capacity shown in the most recent financial statements; prestige communication evaluated by Media Coding method; tourists and experts survey; and the enterprise survey conducted in December 2018 on the size of capital, market, labour, revenue growth rate, profit and operation plan in 2019.

In recent years, Viet Nam’s tourism industry has seen steady growth, with an average increase of over 15 per cent in both the number of domestic tourists and international visitors. The year 2018 continues to be evaluated as a successful year for the sector, with the country receiving about 15.6 million international visitors, serving over 80 million domestic tourists and total revenue from tourism reaching VND620 trillion (US$26.5 billion).

With the strong development of the economy as well as rising incomes, Viet Nam’s tourism has good prospects of further development, towards the completion of the target by 2020 to attract 17-20 million international tourists, 82 million domestic tourists, contributing over 10 per cent of GDP, total revenue from tourists reaching $35 billion, export value through tourism reaching $20 billion and creating four million jobs.

However, to achieve that goal, Viet Nam’s tourism industry needs to overcome three major challenges, including exploiting tourism resources not commensurate with the available potential; lack of resources mobilised to support tourism development; and lack of infrastructure. 

Over 32,000 tonnes of colour-coated iron exempted from safeguard measures     

The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) has decided to lift safeguard measures from imports of colour-coated iron for 11 enterprises, totalling more than 32,000 tonnes, in 2019.

On May 31, 2017, the MoIT issued Decision No 1931/QD-BCT applying safeguards on colour-coated iron sheets imported from various countries and territories.

Since the decision, the MoIT’s Viet Nam Competition Authority (VCA) has received dossiers requesting exemptions of safeguard measures on imported high-quality colour-coated iron for production purposes.

After appraising the dossiers, the MoIT chose to exempt safeguard measures for the production of welding materials on imports for 11 enterprises including Superior Multi Packaging Viet Nam Company Limited, LG Electronics Viet Nam Hai Phong Company, Savican JSC, Minh Quan Food Packaging Company, Panasonic Appliances Viet Nam Company Limited, Panasonic Viet Nam Company Limited, Hoa Phat Refrigeration Engineering Company, Aqua Viet Nam Company, Dong Anh Investment Contruction and Materials JSC, Tan Ha Education Equipment Company Ltd and Viet Nam Printing And Metal Packaging Joint Stock Company.

The ministry would continue to review other applications for exemptions in the future.

Enterprises exempted from safeguards must submit reports on the imports to the VCA within the first 15 days of the following quarter. Any queries and opinions of organisations and individuals on the application of safeguard measures for imported painted steel products should be sent to Injury and Safeguards Investigation Division under the Trade Remedies Authority.

Vinacomin asked to ensure coal supply, enhance quality     

Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung asked the Viet Nam National Coal – Mineral Industries Holding Corporation Limited (Vinacomin) to ensure sufficient coal supply and seek measures to improve coal quality in 2019.

Speaking at Vinacomin’s conference on Wednesday to review 2018 business results and develop orientations for 2019, Dung said that coal demand was increasing, especially for power generation, which was estimated at 58 million tonnes this year, 90 million tonnes in 2025 and 130 million tonnes in 2030.

“Vinacomin must strive to ensure enough coal supply for socio-economic development,” Dung said.

In addition, focus must be placed on improving coal quality through applying modern technologies in production as well as on protecting the environment, Dung said.

He also urged Vinacomin to improve the efficiency of its bauxite projects with focus on environmental protection and promoting local socio-economic development.

Vinacomin’s general director Dang Thanh Hai said that as coal production was more difficult, the company this year would renovate production technology, strengthen automation to ensure labour safety, improve productivity, reduce cost and enhance product competitiveness for sustainable growth.

In 2019, Vinacomin targeted to reach a production output of 40 million tonnes, revenue of VND128 trillion (US$5.6 billion) and average monthly salary of VND11.3 million, from VND10.8 million in 2018. It estimated total coal consumption demand at 42 million tonnes in 2019.

Vinacomin’s report showed that the company achieved positive business results in 2018 with all indicators exceeding the targets.

Coal production in 2018 reached 35.96 million tonnes, equivalent to 107 per cent of the target for the full year. Sales of coal in the domestic market were estimated at 38.7 million tonnes while exports totalled 1.8 million tonnes.

Aluminium production was at VND1.31 million tonnes, 170,000 tonnes higher than 2017. Vinacomin’s electricity output totalled 9.4 billion kWh, accounting for nearly 5 per cent of the country’s total electricity output.

Vinacomin earned VND121.7 trillion revenue in 2018, seven per cent higher than the target. Its export revenue was estimated at $780 million, 36 per cent higher than the target.

Its profit in 2018 doubled the target to reach VND4 trillion and VND1 trillion higher than 2017. Vinacomin contributed VND16 trillion to the State budget last year.

The company also focused on restructuring in 2018, collecting VND235.9 billion from divesting out of non-core businesses. 

PVN aims to exceed VND31 trillion in after-tax profit in 2019     

The Viet Nam Oil and Gas Group (PVN) has set targets of VND612.2 trillion (US$26.3 billion) in total revenue and VND31.3 trillion in after-tax profit for this year, according to the group.

With those targets, PVN will strive to exploit 22.06 million tonnes of oil and gas, including 12.37 million tonnes of crude oil and 9.69 billion tonnes of gas.

To gain success in implementing the tasks and targets for this year, the group will continue to promote exploration plans, meaning to increase oil and gas reserves by 5-10 million tonnes this year. At the same time, it will prioritise development of Block B and Blue Whale projects.

PVN will closely follow fluctuations in oil prices this year and develop solutions to deal with them. It will also focus on scientific and technological solutions and apply new technology to improve efficiency in production and business.

"The Group will coordinate exploitation, export and processing output to ensure growth in gross domestic product (GDP) of the domestic economy, energy security and efficiency of the group," said PVN representative.

2019 is the fourth year PVN will implement the Viet Nam Oil and Gas Industry Development Strategy to 2025.

According to PVN, total exploitation output last year reached 23.98 million tonnes of oil and gas, 5 per cent higher than the yearly plan. Of which, crude oil output reached 13.97 million tonnes, 5.6 per cent higher than the yearly plan.

Domestic crude oil exploitation output stood at 12 million tonnes for the whole year of 2018, 6 per cent higher than the year’s plan while crude oil exploitation output from overseas oil fields was 1.97 million tonnes, up 3.1 per cent against the year’s plan.

Last year, the group achieved total revenue of VND626.8 trillion, a year-on-year increase of 26 per cent. It paid VND121.3 trillion to the State budget, an increase of 24 per cent compared to 2017.

Tran De seaport in Soc Trang to be developed with private capital     

The Ministry of Transport plans to develop Tran De seaport in Soc Trang Province into a national deep-water seaport with large scale by using private investment.

Minister of Transport Nguyen Van The made the statement at a meeting on adjusting port plans in the southern province of Soc Trang held on Tuesday in Ha Noi.

The construction of Tran De seaport will not use State funds, The said.

“The ministry will build a legal framework, create mechanisms and announce a clear development plan on deep-water ports in the province to call for private investment like the Van Don international airport,” Giao thong (Transport) newspaper quoted The as saying.

This project is estimated to need total capital of US$4.1 billion, according to the Construction Consultation Joint Stock Company of Maritime Building (CMB). When the seaport comes into operation, it will be able to receive vessels with capacity from 50,000 DWT.

The said now, both the east and the west of the Mekong Delta (Cuu Long Delta) do not have any large general ports. The major seaports are inland ports depending on rivers such as Tien River, Hau River and Ganh Hao River.

Exports and imports must be shipped via the Can Tho port and the Cai Mep – Thi Vai port, or via the Can Tho port and ports in Singapore. That has made increased transport costs for these activities, reducing the competitiveness of goods.

Therefore, it is urgent to build a large seaport, creating a breakthrough for the whole Mekong Delta region.

If a large seaport is built in Soc Trang, all import and export goods will be transported faster, increasing revenue, he said. The seaport will create opportunities to develop industrial parks for farming regions with low efficiency.

Viet Nam exports molasses to drought-affected Australian regions     

Thanh Thanh Cong One-Member Company Limited, a member of Thanh Thanh Cong Corporation, plans to ship 1,000 tonnes of molasses to Australia’s Queensland this month, which is dealing with an ongoing drought.

Huynh Phuong Trang, head of public relations at the corporation, told Viet Nam News that the molasses would be used as cattle feed supplement.

This is the second batch of molasses to be exported to Australia through Brisbane Port.

“The shipment volume is expected to be higher in the future because it’s at the end of the Australian sugarcane crop,” Trang said.

Trang did not disclose the value, but according to Peter Anderson, Central Queensland’s elected representative for Agforcem, buyers paid $310 a tonne at Brisbane Port and then another $130 a tonne to freight it up to Clermont.

“It’s normally around $220 a tonne," Anderson told www.abc.net.au last month.

This is the first time Viet Nam has exported molasses to Australia. 

Mekong Delta aims for high-quality agriculture in 2019     

Localities in the Mekong Delta have set ambitious targets this year with a focus on high-quality agriculture combined with eco-tourism, services and industry.

Last year, though the Delta faced unseasonable weather, flooding and a decline in agricultural product prices, the localities achieved positive socio-economic targets.

Located in a key economic region, with advantages in tourism, aquaculture and rice production, Kien Giang Province, for instance, achieved an economic growth rate of 7.5 per cent last year.

The province’s total Gross Regional Domestic Product (GRDP) reached more than VND62.3 trillion (US$2.68 billion), and budget revenue collection VND9.95 trillion, 7.7 per cent higher than estimated.

Pham Vu Hong, chairman of the Kien Giang People’s Committee, said in 2018 the province created 213 large-scale fields to help farmers apply technology to rice production.

The province produced more than 4.2 million tonnes of rice in 2018. At least 76 per cent of high quality rice was exported, he said. The province’s aquaculture yielded about 815,400 tonnes, exceeding 4 per cent of the plan.

It welcomed over 7.6 million visitors, of which international visitors were 580,000, exceeding 34.8 per cent of the year’s plan, he added.

Nguyen Van Duong, chairman of Dong Thap Provincial People’s Committee, said that export turnover of the province reached a record US$1.2 billion last year, a surge of over 40 per cent compared to the previous year.

The province sent more than 2,000 people to work overseas in Japan and South Korea (the target was 1,000).

The province also focused on smart agricultural production, applying advanced technologies to ensure sustainable agriculture.

In addition, in 2018 Vinh Long Province achieved VND10.593 trillion worth of agricultural production, according to the provincial People’s Committee.

The province’s investment environment improved with 22 new projects with total registered capital of VND5.893 trillion, up by 10 projects over the same period.

The number of tourists to Vinh Long also increased by more than 8 per cent over the previous year.

Tien Giang Province also achieved good results in industry, export, tourism, rice production, and fisheries, among others.

Income per capita in Tien Giang increased to VND47.6 million last year, exceeding the set target, which was higher than the average of the entire Mekong Delta region.

Le Quang Trung, vice chairman of Vinh Long Provincial People’s Committee, said this year Vinh Long planned to improve its growth models by increasing labour productivity and competitiveness.

The province plans to enhance cooperation activities among other localities in the region to develop its trade, service and tourism sectors.

Vinh Long will continue to restructure agriculture with the building of new rural areas, and focus on building value chains for production and promoting major agricultural products.

The Kien Giang Provincial People’s Committee plans to improve the quality of human resources and administrative reforms, promote investment in major transport infrastructure, and develop Phu Quoc island district as a special economic zone and driving force of the province.

Kien Giang will also continue to restructure the agricultural sector with a focus on building new rural areas, and issue more incentives to attract investment in clean and organic agriculture.

The province will enhance investment promotion and recover delayed projects or those that have been implemented slowly.

Kien Giang aims to achieve a growth rate of more than 7.8 per cent, the top figure in the Mekong Delta region.

In addition, Soc Trang will also improve its business environment and promote agricultural development with linkages to value chains, with priorities given to clean rice and aquatic products, use of high technologies, and promotion of tourism and renewable energy.

Soc Trang targets a growth rate of between 7.3 per cent and 7.5 per cent this year, with income per capita of more than VND42 million.

It will continue to reduce the rate of poor households in the Khmer community people to 3 – 4 per cent per year.

Vo Thanh Thong, chairman of Can Tho City People’s Committee, said Can Tho is playing a major role in the Mekong Delta in many fields such as education and training, healthcare, science and technology, industry, trade, services and tourism.

Can Tho will continue to reform its growth model, restructure the economy towards sustainable development, and promote administrative reform, as well as create more favourable conditions for local and foreign enterprises to operate effectively.

Can Tho will also promote a knowledge-based economy.

The Mekong Delta accounts for 12 per cent of the national area and 19 per cent of its population. It contributes 50 per cent of the rice crop, 65 per cent of aquaculture, 70 per cent of fruit, 95 per cent of exported rice and 60 per cent of exported fish. 

HVG posts $387,000 in profit for FY 2017-18     

Seafood processors Hung Vuong JSC (HVG) has reported its post-tax profits gained VND9 billion (US$387,000) to VND16 billion for the financial year.

This amount is for the period starting on October 1, 2017 and ending on September 30, 2018, after the firm’s financial report was audited.

The company recorded a loss of VND705 billion in the financial year 2016-17.

The company earned big from selling its assets. In November 2017, HVG collected VND486.8 billion from selling its 54.3 per cent stake at Sao Ta Foods JSC.

In July 2018 last year, the company offloaded its 57.2 per cent stake in Viet Thang Feed JSC to earn VND861 billion. In September 2018, the firm earned VND151 billion from selling one of its cold stores.

But total revenue in the financial year 2017-18 dropped 47.6 per cent year on year to VND8.23 trillion as its business activities saw a steep decline.Export revenue fell to VND3.3 trillion from VND7.4 trillion.

Another factor that keeps weighing on the future prospects of the seafood business is the firm’s short-term liabilities owed to the Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade (Vietcombank) and the Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV). The loans are still to be paid back.

According to Hung Vuong JSC’s audited financial statement, the company borrowed a total VND2.76 trillion ($119 million) from the two banks in July 2018 and October 2017. The loans are due in March, June and August 2019.

Of the total borrowings, current portions of short-term liabilities were VND52.5 billion for BIDV and VND554.2 billion for Vietcombank as of September 30, 2018.

The seafood processing firm had asked Vietcombank to extend the due date for the short-term liabilities to the next eight years, Hung Vuong JSC said in its audited financial statement.

HVG also made loans from other commercial banks such as Vietinbank, HDBank and Agribank. The borrowings are due before June 2019.

The company mortgaged its land use licences to those banks as parts of the borrowing contracts.

According to Ernst & Young Vietnam, the short-term liabilities raised the doubts about the consistent operation of the seafood business.

“The future business condition of Hung Vuong JSC depends on how the management board re-allocates the cash flow, make it profitable in coming financial years and re-structure the amount of bank loans.”

The company is listing 227 million shares on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange with code HVG. Its shares has plunged 7.4 per cent in the last two sessions after gaining a quarter in four trading days to VND5,500 per share on Wednesday. 

VIB relocates its Dong Nai branch     

The Vietnam International Bank (VIB) has relocated its branch in the southern province of Dong Nai as part of its increasing effort to bring convenience and a safe experience to customers.

The Dong Nai branch is now based on Vo Thi Sau Street, Thong Nhat Ward, Bien Hoa City, the bank said in a statement.

After more than 13 years operating in Dong Nai Province, VIB has become one of the leading banks with one branch and four transaction offices.

To date, VIB Dong Nai has served more than 100,000 individual customers and hundreds of medium and large enterprises, helping meet the financial needs of local people and supplementing business capital for households and companies.

At the end of 2018, lending and deposits at VIB’s branch and transaction offices in Dong Nai reached more than VND2.2 trillion (US$94.4 million) and VND4.2 trillion ($180.3 million), respectively.

“The strong investment in facilities at VIB Dong Nai demonstrates our long-term commitment and powerful development in the locality to meet financial plans of individual and corporate enterprises in the area,” Ho Van Long, VIB Deputy CEO and Head of Retail Banking – Core Business, said.

“This is also a part of VIB’s roadmap for its new sales and service model putting customers at the centre since 2009,” Long said. 

Credit growth among Ha Noi lenders reaches nearly 17%     

The total value of outstanding loans and investment capital among Ha Noi-based credit institutions in 2018 surged by 16.92 per cent against the previous year to VND1,870 trillion (US$80.26 billion), the State Bank of Viet Nam (SBV)’s Ha Noi branch reported.

The growth was much higher than the 14 per cent average across the entire banking system.

Of the total, outstanding loans accounted for 88.35 per cent and surged 18.69 per cent, of which short-term loans rose by 19.75 per cent and medium- and long-term loans increased by 17.93 per cent.

Credit institutions also actively participated in funding new rural development projects, which are among the Government’s five priority areas of agriculture businesses, firms producing goods for export, small- and medium-sized enterprises, enterprises operating in auxiliary industries and high-tech enterprises including start-ups.

The Commercial Joint Stock Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development of Vietnam (Agribank), Commercial Joint Stock Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV), Commercial Joint Stock Bank for Industry and Trade of Vietnam (VietinBank), and Commercial Joint Stock Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam (Vietcombank) took the lead with the largest outstanding loans of nearly VND36 trillion, accounting for 87.37 per cent of the banking industry’s total.

Some 85,529 individual customers, 982 businesses and 10 co-operatives enjoyed incentive programmes from Ha Noi-based lenders.

The institutions also strictly controlled credit quality and accelerated bad debt settlement, helping their bad debt ratio stay at 2.3 per cent of total outstanding loans. 

BIDV named Best Retail Bank in Viet Nam     

The Bank for Investment and Development of Viet Nam (BIDV), one of the largest in the country, was named the Best Retail Bank in Viet Nam at The Asian Banker Viet Nam Country Awards.

The award ceremony was held in conjunction with The Future of Finance Viet Nam, an annual gathering for senior decision makers in the financial services industry, in Ha Noi, on January 10.

Growing its market share of retail deposits to 17 per cent, BIDV continues to grow its customer base at an impressive annual average rate of 11 per cent.

In 2018, the bank launched BIDV e-zone, its digital lab which reduced the transaction processing time to 7 minutes from 42 minutes. BIDV is also one of the first banks to implement virtual cards, gradually replacing physical cards by co-operating with Samsung Pay for BIDV Samsung Pay.

Many other banks were also honoured at the event.

Vietcombank received the award for Best Mobile Initiative, Application or Programme. The bank has leveraged AI technology to provide customers with a virtual assistant and help users request transactions through voice recognition as well as text messaging via its mobile app.

VietinBank won the Best Mobile Payments Service Award. Its QR-based payment mode comes entrusted with FingerPrint and FaceID biometric security features. VietinBank’s number of monthly transactions for its mobile payment service grew 60 per cent in 2018.

MOMO was recognised as Digital Wallet of the Year. With the largest e-wallet user base in the Viet Namese market, MOMO has been quick to scale up its mobile wallet and payment services via pursuing expansion opportunities in collaboration with 15 top-tier banks, 14 consumer finance institutions and 7 big insurance companies.

Asia Commercial Bank was recognised as Best Cloud Based Initiative, Application or Programme.

Saigon Commercial Bank received the Deposit Product of the Year Award. The bank’s short-term deposit certificate product helped customers maximise returns on their savings and flexibility to manage cash flows.

Credit Card Product of the Year was awarded to SeABank for “SeALady”, the only credit card product in the market exclusively affiliated to a charity programme.

FE CREDIT was awarded the Consumer Finance Product of the Year Award. FE CREDIT is first in the local market to implement a 100 per cent digital lending process in granting loans for the purchase of digital devices and household appliances. 

HSBC wins a clutch of prestigious prizes     

HSBC Vietnam has won a series of honours from FinanceAsia and The Asset, two influential publications in the world of corporate finance and investment banking.

It received awards for Best IPO and Best Vietnam Deal from FinanceAsia and the Asset Triple A awards for Best IPO, Best Syndicated Loan and Best Loan Adviser in Viet Nam.

It earned plaudits for the IPO of Vinhomes JSC, the residential property arm of Vingroup. The record-breaking offering last year raised US$1.35 billion.

For its work as a joint book runner for the IPO, the bank shared the honour for “Best Vietnam Deal” and “Best IPO of the Year” at FinanceAsia’s Achievement Awards, and “Best IPO in Viet Nam” at the Asset Triple A awards.

The IPO was also the largest deal in Southeast Asia in 2018 and largest Southeast Asian real estate deal since 2013. 

HSBC Vietnam also won the award for “Best Syndicated Loan” in Viet Nam’s $400 million syndicated term loan facility and was named “Best Loan Adviser”.

Pham Hong Hai, CEO of HSBC Vienam, said: “We are honoured to win these awards from leading publishing organisations and be part of landmark deals in the country.

“These accolades reflect HSBC Vietnam’s capability to utilise the strength of our global network and execute world-class financing transactions to help corporates achieve their business ambitions.”

Last year HSBC had acted as a joint mandated lead arranger and book runner (MLAB) for a $950 million credit facility for VinFast to finance the first made-in-Vietnam automobile and motorcycle manufacturing plant.

This is the first such facility extended to a private sector company in the country. 

Quế Võ potatoes receive trademark certification

Several weeks before Tết (Lunar New Year), Đinh Thị Cẩn and other farmers of Phù Lương Commune in Quế Võ District, the northern province of Bắc Ninh are harvesting potatoes to serve peak demand over the holiday season.

This year, thanks to favourable weather conditions and good-quality seeds, harvest came early after three months of cultivation.

After planting three hectares of potatoes this season, Cẩn said this year‘s crop has higher-than-normal productivity.

“Big-sized potatoes with high levels of nutrition give us hope of a bumper crop,” she said.

Potato cultivation in the commune started humbly from a small number of farmers who sowed the seeds to feed their families.

Farmer Triệu Thị Sáu said local farmers used to only plant two rice crops per year and abandoned the land in the winter season. Realising the empty fields in the winter could be used for another crop, they started cultivating potatoes with the assistance of local authorities. Many farmers have invested in cultivators and rented land to expand their production areas to five to 10 hectares each.

This season, Sáu earned a profit of more than VNĐ50 million (US$2,100) from more than four hectares.

Quế Võ’s farmers have expanded their cultivation areas and turned their district into an area specialising in potato farming.

According to Nguyễn Thị Thu Hiền, head of the district’s agriculture and rural development division, the potato cultivation area for the 2018-19 winter-spring crop is nearly 1,700 ha. Each hectare will produce 1,800-1,900 kilogrammes.

Quế Võ potatoes have brought high profits to local farmers and are known as an agricultural brand not only within the locality but also the whole nation.

The brand was recognised by the National Office of Intellectual Property of Việt Nam and received a trademark.

According to farmers, the features that make Quế Võ potatoes different from others are their yellow colour, attractive appearance and buttery starchy taste.

Farmer Đào Viết Năm told Vietnam News Agency that Quế Võ farmers are proud of their potatoes, especially since it was granted a brand name.

“We have to take responsibility for out product to provide the best quality and safest potatoes to consumers,” he said.

Farmers in the district receive annual training on standardised potato cultivation practices and post-harvest preservation, and are encouraged to apply Việt Nam Good Agricultural Practices (VietGAP) standards in their processing.

Last year the district’s authorities developed 30 potato cultivation zones covering more than 220ha with a separate potato-classifying and processing area. Local authorities are aiming for high-quality, disease-free potatoes with available domestic seeds and reduced imported costs. 

Dai-ichi Life Vietnam Fund Management Company launches DFVN Capital Appreciation Fund     

Dai-ichi Life Vietnam Fund Management Company Limited (DFVN), the wholly-owned subsidiary of Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company of Vietnam, launched its DFVN Capital Appreciation Fund (DFVN-CAF) with charter capital of VND75.121 billion (US$3.29 million) on Friday.

DFVN-CAF is the first open-ended fund (OEF) established and managed by DFVN, which currently manages life insurance funds for Dai-ichi Life Insurance Company of Vietnam with total assets under management of over VND17 trillion as of November 2018.

DFVN-CAF will invest mainly in a diversified portfolio of listed equities in Viet Nam with high growth potential and solid corporate governance. The fund aims to outperform the benchmark VN-Index.

“As of November 30 last year, there were 24 open-ended funds in Viet Nam with total assets under management of nearly VND13.39 trillion and around 30,000 transaction accounts. These figures seem quite modest in comparison with our population and economic growth scale as well to other regional countries,” said Tran Chau Danh, CEO and CIO.

“DFVN will continue its best efforts in marketing, communications and customer approach to raise market awareness and provide investors’ knowledge in order to gradually change their understanding and behaviour towards investing in open-ended funds. We expect more and more people in Viet Nam to invest in our DFVN OEFs in the years to come,” added Danh.

DFVN has selected HSBC Bank Vietnam Limited as the custodian and supervisory bank, as well as the provider of fund administration and transfer agency services for DFVN-CAF. DFVN has appointed BIDV Securities JSC and Viet Dragon Securities JSC as its distribution partners.

Ongoing transactions and new subscriptions and/or redemptions can be started over again from January 29th, 2019. The minimum subscription amount is VND1,000,000 per order. 

Vietcombank’s profit skyrockets, Vietinbank’s falls

Two of Vietnam’s largest banks reported contrasting performances in 2018, with Vietcombank’s profits rising by 63.5 percent and Vietinbank’s falling by 27 percent.

Vietcombank, the largest listed bank by market capitalization, said profit before tax was VND18.02 trillion ($772.73 million) last year, up 63.5 percent over 2017.

Vietcombank earlier this month raised VND6.2 trillion ($265.86 million) from selling a 3 percent stake to foreign investors. 

Singapore sovereign fund GIC bought 2.55 percent while Japan’s Mizuho Bank bought the remaining 0.45 percent to keep its 15 percent stake unchanged.

Nghiem Xuan Thanh, Vietcombank’s chairman, said at a recent conference his bank had achieved all its target last year.

Bad debts last year accounted for 0.97 percent of total loans and the bank hopes to keep it below 1 percent this year too.

Vietcombank plans to have its total asset value increased by 12 percent, and its capital mobilization up by 13 percent this year. 

Vietinbank, the fourth largest listed bank by market cap, saw profit before tax slip to VND6.7 trillion ($287.3 million) in 2018 from VND9.2 trillion ($394.5 million) in 2017.

Asset growth, credit growth and capital mobilization grew by 6-10 percent, lower than targeted. 

The lender’s proposal to increase charter capital has not been approved.

Its chairman Le Duc Tho said increasing capital is "vital" since it has remained unchanged for years.

The State Bank of Vietnam owns 65 percent of the bank, while foreign ownership has reached the 30 percent cap.

Large-caps expected to drive market up

Large-cap stocks may be a better option for investors at the moment as earnings season is approaching and expectations will be better on large-cap companies thanks to their stable, consistent and less risky performances.

Meanwhile, mid-cap and small-cap stocks, or speculative ones with a high degree of risk, would not be recommended.

Speculative stocks normally catch the eye of investors at the late stage of the market uptrend. At the moment, the Vietnamese stock market is on a recovery after having fallen sharply in December 2018, so large-cap stocks are more attractive, according to Ngo Quoc Hung, an analyst at MB Securities Co.

Vietnam's benchmark VN-Index on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange gained 0.49 per cent on January 11 to finish last week at a two-week high of 902.71 points. It totaled a weekly growth of 2.47 per cent. 

The VN-Index increased by roughly 2.8 per cent from the six-month low of 878.22 points on January 3 after it had dropped total 8.64 per cent since December 12, 2018.

On the Hanoi Stock Exchange, the HNX Index inched up 0.09 per cent to end last week at 101.87 points, totalling weekly growth of 1.01 per cent.

The northern market index has been in the same pattern with the VN-Index as it has gained total 1.34 per cent since January 3. The HNX Index lost 6.65 per cent between December 12, 2018 and January 3.

“Market trading liquidity is now depleted as investors are unwilling to bear the risks, so speculative stocks are not favoured at the moment,” Hung told tinnhanhchungkhoan.vn.

According to Vietinbank Securities JSC, most individual investors are holding onto cash because of the coming Tet (Lunar New Year) holiday and their doubts over a strong recovery of the stock market following a rough year in 2018. 

“It proves the stock market is quite sensitive and vulnerable to negative news while supportive macroeconomic news and earnings prospects have not boosted cautious sentiment.”

An average of 166 million shares was traded in each session of the last trading week, worth VND3.3 trillion (US$141.7 million).

Last week’s trading figures were down 26.6 per cent in volume and 27.5 per cent in value compared to the pre-New Year holiday trading week.

Analyst Pham Duc Hoang at Agribank Securities Co (Agriseco) said speculative stocks would be less attractive than those that had been undervalued by the market overreaction to bad news.

According to the two analysts, speculative stocks should not top the priority list of investors as the earnings season has come and large-cap stocks, especially those undervalued large-caps, would likely beat their earnings expectations and become better investment targets. 

The Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Foreign Trade of Vietnam (Vietcombank) and the Joint Stock Commercial Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) have beat full-year earnings expectations.

Vietcombank is now the fourth largest listed business by market capitalisation with total market value of nearly VND198.6 trillion. BIDV is the seventh with a market value of VND109 trillion.

At the year-end meeting on Thursday, Vietcombank reported its full-year pre-tax profit was over VND18.3 trillion, up 63 per cent year on year. A day earlier at a meeting, BIDV announced its total profit rose 13 per cent year on year but did not give further details.

The two banks’ official financial reports are expected to be released in the near future. 

However, the stock market is having trouble out-performing the 900 point level in the short term despite good news from international markets, according to Agriseco analyst Hoang.

"Market trading liquidity is low, proving investors are not optimistic about the market recovery and unwilling to purchase stocks."

 

Source: - Bridge

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