BUSINESS IN BRIEF 28/8

India invites Vietnam firms to attend jewelry show

India is calling for Vietnamese firms to attend the 10th Signature IIJS, a leading jewelry show which features the best jewelry collections by the top Indian makers.

The participation of Vietnamese enterprises in the show in Mumbai in February 2017 is expected to help boost cooperation in jewelry production and design with Indian counterparts, heard a business meeting between gem and jewelry firms of India and Vietnam in the city on Tuesday.

The meeting was organized by the Consulate General of India in HCMC in collaboration with the Investment Technology Promotion Department under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, India’s Gem and Jewelry Export Promotion Council, and the Saigon Jewelry Association.

India’s gem and jewelry industry posted export revenue of over US$40 billion last year and the country currently accounts for 95% of the world’s diamond exports.

Indian consul general in HCMC Smita Pant said at the meeting that India wants to strengthen business cooperation with Vietnam and the Signature IIJS is an opportunity for enterprises in the sector to learn more about the latest designs as well as discuss cooperation in technology, innovation and fashion.

Nguyen Van Dung, chairman of the Saigon Jewelry Association, said people of the two countries share certain cultural similarities such as preference for jewelry. The association is capable of producing items that meet demand of Indians, so it looks to contribute to boosting jewelry trade with India.

However, there are several challenges for cooperation between jewelry businesses between the two countries.

Cao Thi Ngoc Dung, general director of Phu Nhuan Jewelry Company (PNJ), said Indian gold imported into Vietnam is subject to a high duty rate of up to 40% while a high tariff is also levied on Vietnamese gold exported to India.

Dung suggested Indian firms should show their products in Vietnam as domestic firms cannot have access to materials from India.

“PNJ imports diamonds from Hong Kong and we know they come from India. If Indian companies present products in the Vietnamese market and ink deals with PNJ, they can do the same with other jewelry firms in Vietnam,” Dung said.

She called for India to cooperate with Vietnam in training jewelry designers as Vietnam currently has no school for the profession.

VinaCapital acts to attract Korean investors to Vietnam

VinaCapital Group said it has partnered with Shinhan BNP Paribas Asset Management (Shinhan) to provide investment products to the latter’s clients in South Korea and enable them to do business in Vietnam.

The two companies signed a memorandum of understanding in Seoul on Monday to outline how they would cooperate in developing funds for Korean investors interested in Vietnamese assets and introduce Shinhan’s products in the Vietnamese market in the future. 

VinaCapital’s first partnership with Shinhan is an investment management mandate for one of Shinhan’s funds registered in Korea.

In addition, the two parties will work together to launch the VIP Equity Fund, which will invest in publicly traded Vietnamese companies as well as those in Indonesia and the Philippines. The fund is expected to come out in September.

In the coming time, VinaCapital and Shinhan will also cooperate in developing a Vietnamese multi-asset fund which invests in equities, fixed income, real estate and other assets in Vietnam.

Shinhan BNP Paribas Asset Management is a joint venture between BNP Paribas and Shinhan Financial Group. It is one of the leading investment firms in South Korea with total assets of US$34 billion.

VinaCapital is a leading investment and asset management firm in Vietnam, with US$1.4 billion worth of assets under its management.

The firm has three closed-end funds that trade on the London Stock Exchange. They are VinaCapital Vietnam Opportunity Fund Limited (VOF) which trades on the London Stock Exchange (LSE), VinaLand Limited (VNL), and Vietnam Infrastructure Limited (VNI) which trade on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM)

Agro-forestry-fishery exports earn nearly 21 billion USD

Vietnam earned 20.6 billion USD from selling abroad farm, forestry farmed fish products in the first eight months of 2016, up 5.6 percent from a year ago, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

The figure included 2.76 billion USD attained in August alone.

Agri-products contributed 9.9 billion USD to the eight-month turnover, a 5.7 percent increase against the same period last year.

It included 1.51 billion USD from the sale of 3.37 million tonnes of rice, down 13.1 percent in value and 16.6 percent in volume year-on-year.

China remained the biggest rice importer of Vietnam, accounting for 36 percent of the total market, with 1.04 million tonnes worth 476 million USD in the first seven months of this year, showing a drop of 21.6 percent in volume and 11.9 percent in value.

Coffee exports fetched 2.25 billion USD from 1.27 million tonnes, up 39.9 percent in volume and 20.7 percent in value. Germany and the US were the two biggest coffee importers of Vietnam in the first seven months this year, accounting for 15 percent and 13 percent, respectively.

Exports of wood and wood products reached 4.3 billion USD, a year-on-year fall of 0.6 percent. The US, Japan and China were the three biggest markets, together holding nearly 53 percent of the total export value.

The export value of fishery products in the first eight months of this year amounted to 4.3 billion USD, a rise of 4.1 percent from the 2015 same period.

The United States, Japan, China and the Republic of Korea were leading importers of Vietnamese farmed fish. China, the US and Thailand saw a remarkable surge of 53.9 percent, 11.9 percent and 9.9 percent, respectively in their import of Vietnamese seafood.

2016 handicraft fair-exhibition opens in Hanoi

The 2016 handicraft fair – exhibition opened at the Thang Long Royal Citadel in Hanoi on August 26, aiming at promoting Vietnamese craft to domestic and foreign markets. 

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Hoang Quoc Vuong said the event is to preserve and develop craft villages as well as honour skilled craftsmen who have great contributions to developing the trade and preserving the country’s unique handicraft products.

The event is hoped to help craftsmen, trade villages, enterprises introduce their products, boost exchanges and cooperation in order to seek partners both at home and abroad and expand market for the Vietnamese handicraft products.

Covering on an area of 2,000 sq.m, the event features nearly 200 booths, presenting development achievements and handicraft products from localities nationwide. 

The event runs until August 29.

VINASA to compete at APICTA

Vietnam Software and IT Service Association (VINASA) will compete at the Asia-Pacific Information Communication Technology Awards (APICTA) – one of most noble information and communication technology (ICT) awards in Asia-Pacific region.

VINASA has already chosen outstanding products and services for the contest.

VINASA leaders have attended an APICTA’s meeting in Taiwan to prepare for the awards. APICTA 2016 is scheduled to take place in Taiwan on December 2-5 and is expected to draw more than 600 delegates from 17 APICTA members, VINASA said.

Nguyen Thi Thu Giang, VINASA General Director, said the event provides an opportunity for Vietnam ICT products and services to compete at regional contests and for domestic ICT companies to cooperate and share experience with partners from 17 Asia-Pacific economies.

VINASA will choose outstanding ICT products and services which won Sao Khue 2016 awards and those proposed by businesses.

Customs sector cuts customs clearance time

The General Department of Vietnam Customs has targeted reducing customs clearance time for exports and imports to 10 days and 12 days, respectively this year.

By 2020, the sector aims to cut customs clearance time for exports and imports to below 36 hours and 41 hours.

The rate of imports subject to specialised inspections will be cut to 15 percent later this year.

Each year, the cost of administrative procedures will be cut by at least 10 percent.

According to the department, the National Single Window system will be made available for all ministries and sectors between 2016 and 2020.

All procedures will be conducted online and connected with the ASEAN Single Window to facilitate the trade of Vietnamese goods.

Additionally, the Vietnam Automated Cargo and Port Consolidated System/Vietnam Customs Information System will also be connected with the ASEAN information technology system.

The sector has partnered with Japan, the Republic of Korea, the US and the Eurasian Economic Union of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia and Kyrgyzstan to exchange information.

Rice exports to EU: making the most of zero tariff

Vietnam’s rice exports will enjoy a zero percent tariff to the European Union from 2018.

The free trade agreement between Vietnam and the EU (EVFTA), which comes into effect in 2018, will allow the country to export 100,000 tons of rice each year to the EU, quadruple the current figure.

Many countries around the world have applied measures to restrict rice imports and even refused to open their rice markets during FTA negotiations, but the EU has spared some space for Vietnamese rice.

The EU has approved an import quota of 100,000 tons of rice per year for Vietnam with a zero percent tax rate once the agreement takes effect. Broken rice will be exempt from import duties for seven years with no limit on quantity.

According to analysts, the commitment will help Vietnamese enterprises save up to €17 million (US$20 million) per year.

Having joined the global rice market 20 years ago, Vietnam is now the world’s third largest rice exporter after India and Thailand. However, Vietnam’s market share has fallen in the face of fierce competition from rice export rivals over the last few years.

While other countries focus their attention on rice quality, Vietnam still aims for quantity.

This is why Vietnam’s rice exports to the EU remain modest, said Dang Hoang Hai, head of the European Market Department under the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Data from the Vietnam Food Association showed that the country exported 18,000 tons of rice to the EU last year, down 10% from 2014 and 25% from 2013.

In 2013, Vietnam accounted for 3% of the EU rice market, while Thailand made up about 18%, Cambodia 22% and India 24%.

“Once the EVFTA comes into force, Vietnam’s rice industry can expect higher import figures,” Hai said.

He added that the EU market has strict requirements for rice import, ranging from quality standards to environmental rules. Europeans also prefer high-quality products like the ones grown in Cambodia, rather than Vietnamese rice.

“Vietnamese farmers don’t favor rice that takes a long time to grow and produces lower yields. They’ve been loyal to output targets, so they can’t produce good rice. Even if the rice is good, it’s impossible to compare it with Cambodian rice,” said agricultural expert Vo Tong Xuan.

The expert said that Cambodia only entered the global rice market five years ago, but its rice has won the world’s best rice award at the annual Rice Trader Conference for three consecutive years.

Last year, a product produced by Vietnam’s Loc Troi Company was also listed in the top three rice products in the world, pushing the price up to US$700 per ton from US$370-380.

Dang Hoang Hai, head of the European Market Department, claimed that to compete with Cambodia as well as other rice suppliers in the EU market, Vietnam should shift its production routines from low-quality rice to high quality, but that won’t be easy.

Chinese furniture firms move to Vietnam to avoid US tariffs

Local firms are worried that the tax spotlight could be turned on them.

Official statistics show a third of foreign-invested companies in Vietnam’s furniture industry are from China. 

Since 2015, the US has imposed import tariffs on Chinese furniture including beds, nightstands and other wooden wares in an attempt to protect its domestic manufacturers from Chinese “dumping”, or the export of goods at an unfairly low price.

As a result, many Chinese furniture companies have moved their manufacturing facilities to neighboring Vietnam to get around US anti-dumping duties.

In addition, labor costs are about 20% less in Vietnam than in China, according to the Ho Chi Minh City-based business advisory firm Infocus Consultants, which makes the Southeast Asian country an attractive manufacturing hub for foreign furniture companies, especially China.

US furniture imports from China total roughly US$12 billion annually, according to data from the US Customs Service. Vietnam is second to China with more than US$2 billion in exports to the US as the country evolves into one of the world’s largest wooden furniture producers.

The fact that a large number of Chinese companies are exporting to the US from Vietnam has led to growing concerns that Vietnamese manufacturers will soon come under the radar of American anti-dumping investigators, said Nguyen Ton Quyen, chairman of the Professional Association of Timber and Wood Products (Vifores).

He also added Chinese companies are planning to take advantage of tariff incentives Vietnam is expected to enjoy from new-generation free trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the pact with the European Union (EVFTA).

For instance, the TPP will either cut or eliminate tariffs for various Vietnamese exports to other member countries.

Chinese companies have recently stepped up their efforts by acquiring majority stakes in local producers, said Huynh Van Hanh, deputy chairman of the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association in Ho Chi Minh City.

“A sudden surge in export volume, no matter what the export industry is, could lead to Vietnamese companies being accused of dumping,” Hanh said.

“Moreover, as Vietnam has not been fully recognized as a market-based economy, domestic companies could face double tariffs with anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties,” Hanh continued.

Vietnam exported US$3.8 billion worth of wood products during the first seven months of this year, slightly up from the same period last year.

The country’s furniture exports have experienced average annual growth of 7-8% in recent years, said the Vifores chairman.

However, the industry may miss its export target of US$7.6 billion in 2016, he added.

US$1.1mln disappears from VP Bank account; fraud suspected

The director of an agriculture firm in Ho Chi Minh City has accused a local bank of allowing employees to abet scammers in draining more than US$1 million from her account without consent.

With the dispute between Tran Thi Thanh Xuan, director of Quang Huan Co., and Vietnam Prosperity Bank, or VPBank, having remained unsolved for over a year, the city’s administration tasked the municipal economic police on August 24 with working to resolve the case as soon as possible.

In March 2015, Xuan opened a VPBank account to serve the company’s agricultural trading business.

During that harvest season, the company received VND26 billion (US$1.16 million) in payments from various partners, all transferred to Xuan’s VPBank account, the director said in her complaint.

When Xuan went to withdraw the money in July the same year, she was shocked to see the account balance had fallen to a few hundred dong.

The account statement showed that a number of check issuing transactions had been made from her account.

According to the complaint, the checks had been drawn by Do Dinh Bao and Pham Van Trinh and made payable to Doan Thi Thuy Hang and her husband Nguyen Huy Nhut.

Trinh is the accountant of Quang Huan Co. and Hang was a VPBank employee.

Xuan’s suspicion quickly drew the conclusion that the VPBank employee and her company’s accountant had colluded to forge relevant documents and signatures to issue checks and withdraw money from the director’s account.

The director noted that she had never received any notifications of those transactions, even though she had registered for mobile banking services with VPBank.

As Xuan lodged a complaint to VPBank to denounce the alleged fraud, the lender simply responded that Hang had left the bank, and the case was transferred to police for investigation.

On August 24, VPBank said in a press release that it had “strictly followed all relevant procedures” while approving transactions on the account of Quang Huan Co.

The lender added that relevant parties should wait until the police have reached a final conclusion.

VPBank said it had worked with the employees Xuan said held a role in the incident, but all of them denied allegations that they helped the company’s accountant steal the money.

The bank added all of the documents related to the check issuing carry the same signature and seal as registered by Quang Huan Co. when it opened the account.

“For every transaction that changes the company’s account balance, VPBank sent a text message to the registered mobile phone number of Quang Huan, which has been verified as the very phone number of Tran Thi Thanh Xuan, the account owner and company’s legal representative,” the statement reads.

VPBank concluded that the case shows “signs of criminal activity,” adding the ongoing police investigation will shed light on whether or not the relevant documents and signatures were forged.

On August 24, Xuan told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper that VPBank’s statements to media are false.

Xuan said it is impossible that the accountant Trinh could sign any transaction on her behalf.

“If I had authorized him to do so, he must have used his own signature, rather than faking mine,” she explained.

The company director insisted that VPBank employees had colluded with other people to steal the money, and the lender’s refusal to resolve the case just because “the employee involved no longer works there” is irresponsible.

Xuan said the bank must be held accountable as its employees had finalized all transactions that were not initiated by the real account holder.

“Did the bank ask to see the ID card of the person doing the transactions, as required?” she wondered.

“Why were all the transactions approved at the request of a man, while the account holder is me – a woman?”

Ho Chi Minh City economic police officers are still looking into the case.

SHB parts company with SHS

Saigon – Hanoi Bank (SHB) is no longer a shareholder of the Saigon – Hanoi Securities JSC (SHS), after selling its 4.8 per cent stake.

“The SHB Chairman has sold 4.8 million SHS shares,” the Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX) announced on August 25. The shares were sold in a negotiated transaction for VND6,600 ($0.3) per share, or VND31.6 billion ($1.41 million) in total.

Mr. Do Quang Hien was Chairman of SHS and SHB while Mr. Le Dang Khoa, Deputy Director of SHB, was also member of the SHS’s Board of Management, according to SHS’s first half report. Mr. Hien is also Chairman of T&T group.

SHS’s management post-divestment remains confidential. “SHB has completed its full divestment from SHS under a plan determined by our Board of Management,” a representative of SHB told VET.

This is second time SHB registered to sell its stake in SHS, with a June sale being unsuccessful. In late July it again registered to sell the 4.8 per cent.

SHB was the original and major shareholder in two securities companies: the SHB Securities Joint Stock Company (SHBS) and SHS. The bank currently holds over 98 per cent of SHBS.

SHS’s share price has fallen 4.69 per cent in the last week, as at August 25, 8.9 per cent in the last month, and 74.8 per cent lower since it was listed in the second quarter of 2009.

SHS is also preparing to issue 4,000 unconvertible corporate bonds with a par value of VND100,000 ($4.48), a maturity of two years, and a maximum value of VND400 billion ($17.93 million) to mobilize capital for depository activities and for collateral to borrow from SHB.

In the first half of 2016 SHS reported assets of VND3.71 trillion ($166.35 million), an increase of 30 per cent against December 31, 2015. Total equity stood at VND1.06 trillion ($47.53 million), 3 per cent higher against December 31, 2015. After-tax profit in the first half reached VND38.22 billion ($1.49 million), up 32 per cent.

VNA launches low-cost tickets

The National flag carrier- Vietnam Airlines yesterday announced that it will offer a preferential promotion program for its domestic flights with one-way cheap ticket at a price of VND 299, 000. 

The program starts running from August 29 to December 30 for passengers departing from August 29, 2016.

The cheap ticket price excludes tax and other additional fee. The detailed information is posted at www.vietnamairlines.com.

Rural northerners spend least on FMCG

Consumers in rural northern areas spend less money on fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) than on other products, according to a report of market research firm Kantar Worldpanel.

The report, which was released on Wednesday, showed northerners generally spend big on packed FMCG items and prefer locally-branded items and goods in large packaging. Meanwhile, southerners pay a lot for dairy products and beverages, and favor convenient and new products.

Despite more retail stores being up and running, consumers in the south still keep the habit of buying FMCG at traditional wet markets, especially those in rural areas.

Meanwhile, southerners in urban areas adapt more easily to shopping at supermarkets and hypermarkets while more minimarkets and convenience stores in the south have gone up in the north and elsewhere in the country.

The traditional sales channel is still the most favorite in Vietnam as interactions between the buyer and the seller still play an important role in the former’s buying decisions, especially in rural areas.

In most parts of the country, word-of-mouth advertising still leaves the biggest impact on consumers while TV advertising still reigns over the market. With more people using the Internet in both urban and rural areas in the south, online advertising is also growing.

The south is currently home to one-third of the country’s population and accounts for half of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP).

The north sees the biggest difference between income of people in urban and rural areas.

FMCG or consumer packaged goods (CPG) are sold quickly and at relatively low prices, including non-durable goods such as soft drinks, toiletries, over-the-counter drugs, processed food and many other consumables.

New tax calculation method pushes gasoline up

The base prices of RON92 gasoline and E5 bio-fuel, constituted by import prices, taxes and fees, are higher after competent agencies have adopted a new method of calculating special consumption tax and setting operating costs.    

Speaking to the Daily yesterday, a fuel trading firm said that for the August 19 price adjustment, RON92 and E5 prices as calculated in accordance with the new method edged up by VND100-350 per liter compared to the old method.

According to the Government’s Decree 100/2016/ND-CP, effective from July 1, the special consumption tax was adjusted based on the selling price, leading the price of RON92 gasoline to go up by VND100 a liter.

This special consumption tax comprises CIF (cost, insurance and freight) price, import tariff, cost and profit estimates, contribution to the fuel price stabilization fund, value added tax and environmental protection fee.    

According the Government’s Decree 106/2015/ND-CP, effective before July, the 10% special consumption tax on gasoline was imposed on the CIF price.

Under the joint Circular 90/2016/TTLT- BTC-BCT of the ministries of industry-trade and finance, the import prices of E5 and E10 bio-fuel are equivalent to 95% of the RON92 gasoline price plus 5% of the ethanol price.

Earlier, the import price of E5 was equal to that of RON92. Fuel wholesalers said ethanol is now sold at a higher price than that of RON92.

From August 15, competent agencies have permitted fuel wholesalers to set the sale cost for E5 and E10 at VND1,250 a liter, well above VND200 a liter now to help firms offset production costs. 

Given the abovementioned factors, the base price of E5 has leapt by VND350 a liter. In the August 19 price adjustment, E5 was VND150 per liter lower than RON92. The gap was VND500 a liter in the past.

Jan-Jul Korean exports to Vietnam surge

The Korea International Trade Association (KITA) has said exports of South Korea to Vietnam in the first seven months of this year amounted to US$18.02 billion, soaring 10.1% year-on-year, the Vietnam News Agency reported.

With the robust growth, Vietnam became Korea’s third largest importer in the period after China with US$68.52 billion and the U.S. with US$39.63 billion.

Shipments to Vietnam accounted for 6.4% of Korea’s total exports in the January-July period, well above 2% in the same period in 2009.

Market watchers said the sharp increase might have resulted from the bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) between Vietnam and Korea which took effect late last year. The FTA has given a fresh boost to two-way trade between the two countries after the South Korea-ASEAN FTA came into force in 2007.

Vietnam’s demand for Korean products is forecast to continue growing in the coming time.

According to Moon Byeong-ki, researcher of the Institute for International Trade under KITA, Vietnam remains a destination for many global manufacturers. However, firms operating in this ASEAN country still have difficulty securing local supply of materials and parts.

Therefore, he forecast Vietnam would increase imports of parts and industrial materials in the coming time.

Japan steps up tech transfer to HCMC

The government and enterprises of Japan are promoting the transfer of more technology to Vietnam in general and HCMC in particular.

Technology transfer was one of the topics at a meeting on Wednesday between HCMC vice chairman Le Thanh Liem and Kyohei Takahashi and Kuniharu Nakamura, co-chairmen of the Vietnam-Japan Economic Committee under the Japanese Business Federation (Keidanren), and representatives of Japanese firms here in the city.

Nakamura said Japanese firms have participated in a number of infrastructure projects in Vietnam and HCMC and achieved good results. Japanese companies are playing a key part in the development of HCMC’s Metro Line No. 1 from Ben Thanh Market in District 1 to Suoi Tien Park in District 9.

The first metro line of the city is scheduled to be put into service in 2019.

Nakamura said the government and businesses of Japan are promoting the transfer of technology to Vietnam for high-tech power grids, airport terminals, roads and bridges. Nakamura expected that HCMC would create favorable conditions for Japanese firms to do business and invest in the city.

Liem said the city’s transport infrastructure had become overloaded, so the city has been pushing for more investment in this area to reduce traffic jams, including the Metro Line No. 1.

The city, he noted, has attracted much Japanese investment capital to supporting industries, high-tech and agricultural projects.

Japan is HCMC’s sixth biggest investor with more than 900 projects worth about US$2.7 billion. About 60% of Japanese investment capital has gone to processing and manufacturing projects, one of the priority sectors of the city.

CJ explores opportunities in Binh Dinh

South Korea’s CJ Group, which has got involved in a number of businesses in Vietnam, is looking for opportunities to invest in the sectors of cinema, animal feed production and seafood.

A representative of the Binh Dinh Investment Promotion Center said Chang Bok Sang, president of CJ Group in Vietnam, met the province’s leaders last week to seek their nod for an animal feed factory at Nhon Hoa Industrial Park in An Nhon Township. The US$15-million facility with a monthly capacity of 15,000 tons is planned to go up on an area of four hectares.

The source told the Daily that the investor is expected to start work on the animal feed plant next month and put into operation the facility at the end of next year.

In the agricultural sector, CJ wants to develop a pig farm in Binh Dinh. Besides, it looks to set up a tuna processing plant in the central province, which is an advantage of the province.

This project is appropriate for Binh Dinh’s zoning plan for the sector as the province has zoned 60 hectares in Cat Khanh Commune in Phu Cat District for an industrial park specializing in seafood processing.

The Korean firm suggested expanding a cinema in the central province. CJ is cooperating with partners to produce films in a number of localities in Vietnam.

The enterprise will study policy and tax incentives and find suitable locations to carry out its projects. 

Earlier, CJ Vietnam said it would invest an extra US$500 million in Vietnam this year after having poured around US$400 million into this market in the past 20 years. The fresh investment will go to new projects or merger and acquisition (M&A) deals in culture, food and agro-aqua-forestry industries.

HCMC looks to higher budget collections

The HCMC government expects total budget revenues to reach almost VND283.43 trillion (US$12.7 billion) this year, 11.11% higher than in 2015 and 1.87% above the estimate.

The figure does not include tax revenue from crude oil, the city government said in a recent report on budget revenues and expenditures sent to the Ministry of Finance.

Notably, tax revenue from domestic sources is projected to expand by nearly 14% and that from imports and exports by roughly 7% compared to last year. 

Total spending in HCMC is estimated at VND63.8 trillion this year.

With high economic growth projection this year, HCMC looks to collect VND297.49 trillion from taxes and fees next year, up 4.09% against this year and 5.4% from the estimate.

Next year, the cite plans to spend around VND72.55 trillion on development investment, routine expenditures, budget reserves and loan interest payments, among others.

The HCMC government said the budget collection and spending projections are achievable given a steady recovery of the local economy. It noted an additional amount has been spent on infrastructure projects and urgent issues relating to the environment and other areas in the city, which is now home to about 11.5 million people.

HCMC will need VND43.45 trillion a year for investment projects in 2016-2020 but can arrange 66% of the total for 2017. Therefore, the city requested the Ministry of Finance to ask the Government to seek National Assembly approval to retain 23% of total budget collections in the 2017-2020 period.

The proportion is equivalent to the ratio in 2011-2015 but below 29% in 2001-2006 and 26% in 2007-2010.

Euro Auto provides 20 BMW series 7s, 5s

The official authorised importer of BMW in Việt Nam, Euro Auto, has supplied 20 BMW series 7s and 5s to Five Stars Limousine SG company, a luxury car rental services provider.

Accordingly, the luxury vehicles will be put to use by the company in HCM City to meet the demand from VIP guests.

Speaking at the handover ceremony, Trần Ngọc Anh, chairman of Five Star Limousine SG, said the 20 vehicles would officially join the company’s fleet, reaffirming the company’s commitment to bringing their customers the best services.

Treasury to mobilise more capital from G-bonds

The state treasury of Viet Nam offloaded more than 92 per cent of the bonds planned for the year as of August 24, according to the Ha Noi Stock Exchange.

As of August 24, the treasury has mobilised more than VND231 trillion (US$10.34 billion). In particular, the exchange said the treasury sold all five-year bonds worth VND3 trillion at a coupon rate of 5.79 per cent per annum, 0.13 per cent lower than that of the previous session on August 17. Following higher demand, it also sold same term bonds of VND900 billion with the same coupon rate.

Similarly, seven-year bonds worth VND3 trillion were sold at a coupon rate of 6.35 per cent per annum, 0.14 per cent lower than the last session. The treasury also sold bonds worth another VND900 billion at the same rate due to demand.

Thus, compared to the revised plan of VND250 trillion in bonds for 2016, which was added another VND30 trillion after the first half, G-bond sale has reached more than 92 per cent.

Bao Viet Securities Company (BVSC) said the state treasury would soon complete mobilisation plans of government bonds this year and mobilise more capital from G-bonds in the last few months of the year.

The firm said thus with less pressure to meet targets, the interest rates of the bonds may fall, thus, making them more attractive to investors.

According to the treasury, the sale of bonds of five-year and 15-year terms exceeded the target. Of bonds with longer term, on the other hand,  the treasury could not sell any of the 20-year bonds worth VND1 trillion offered in the August 24 auction.

Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue welcomed insurance firm AIA’s Chairman Mark Edward Tucker on August 25 and said the country had set a bond sale target of 35 per cent of the GDP by 2020, especially bonds with long terms of 15 to 20 years.

He said the AIA Group could invest more strongly in the long-term G-bonds market, while the AIA head reaffirmed their commitment to long-term investment such as G-bonds, infrastructure and the healthcare system.

Hoa Sen returns to dream of Ca Na steel project

The Ninh Thuan People’s Committee has approved Hoa Sen Group, one of Vietnam’s leading steel producers and traders, to carry out surveys and study plans to construct the infrastructure of Ca Na industrial park (IP) and the related steel manufacturing and seaport complex in Thuan Nam district.

The group has yet to disclose official information about the capacity of the steel manufacturing project. Previously, the board of directors expected the steel plant to have an annual output of six million tonnes.

Hoa Sen Group will hold an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting on September 6 to seek shareholders’ approval to take over the project.

Constructing the steel complex will help Hoa Sen to overtake Hoa Phat Group as the largest Vietnamese steel producer, following only Taiwanese Hung Nghiep Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Co., Ltd., which has an annual capacity of 7.5 million of tonnes in the first phase.

On August 2, the group established five enterprises with the total investment capital of VND250 billion ($11.23 million) to support the implementation of the steel project.

Accordingly, Hoa Sen registered 26 business sectors for these five enterprises, including manufacturing iron, steel, cement, and wood products, and exploiting wood, ore, chemicals, among others.

In response to concerns about the heightened risks of environmental pollution in case the steel complex comes into operation, Truong Thi Lieu, deputy director of the Ninh Thuan Industrial Zones Management Authority (NITHIZA), said that if the project is licensed to implement, the investor will have to conduct an environmental impact assessment report and the NITHIZA will co-operation with the provincial authorities to monitor the investor’s implementation of environmental protection regulations. However, it is still the case of “wait and see” whether the investor would comply with environmental protection regulations.

Back in September 2008, the Ca Na IP-based steel complex with the annual production capacity of 14 million tonnes was licensed by a joint venture of state-owned Vietnam Shipbuilding Industry Group (Vinashin) and Lion Group from Malaysia. 

The joint venture registered $9.8 billion in the total investment capital for this complex, which became the largest foreign-invested project licensed that year. The construction started two months after its investment certificate was issued. The investors promised to complete the first phase by the end of 2011. 

However, financial troubles of both partners forced Lion Group to withdraw from the project. In 2011, the NITHIZA announced to revoke the investment certificate of Ca Na steel complex.

A year ago, chairman of Hoa Sen Group Le Phuoc Vu met with the Ninh Thuan People’s Committee and expressed interest in reviving Ca Na steel complex.

Established in August 2001, Hoa Sen Group is one of the leaders in terms of steel sheet production and trading business in Vietnam and Southeast Asia. The group’s products are currently making up 40 and 20 per cent of the domestic steel sheet and steel markets, respectively, and its products are present in over 60 countries and territories around the world.

VEF/VNA/VNS/VOV/SGT/SGGP/Dantri/VET/VIR

Leave a Reply