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BUSINESS IN BRIEF 25/9   2008-09-25 - VNA

RoK business puts new factory into production

A wholly owned company of the Republic of Korea (RoK) on Sept. 23 inaugurated a 4.5 million factory to produce uPVC windows and doors in Loi Binh Nhon industrial park, southern Long An province.

Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, General Director Tae Eon of the Cosmo Vietnam Company said that this is time for his business to run a factory to produce windows and doors of Poly Vinyl Chloride-Unplasticized (uPVC) for the Vietnamese market.

The factory will initially provide its products for luxury apartments, villas and resorts, Tae Eon said, adding that the Vietnamese building material market has a great potential because the construction sector will continue growing at 15-16 percent annually.

He said that the Vietnamese uPCV door market obtained a total turnover of 15 million USD last year, and the figure will increase. He noted that his company has a plan on long-term investment in Vietnam .

Cosmo Vietnam , an affiliate of the RoK’s GS Group, plans to produce aluminum doors and other building materials in the future.

HCM City GDP growth hits 10.5 percent

In the first nine months of 2008, Ho Chi Minh City ’s GDP grew at the rate of 10.5 percent, signaling the fulfillment of 11 – 12 percent for the whole year.

At a the meeting held on Sept.24 to assess HCM City’s socio-economic development over the past months, the municipal People’s Committee affirmed that it will maintain economic development in the last three months.

To this end, participants outlined 10 main solutions that will focus on reinforcing market control, boosting production and business, and curbing inflation.

The city will also increase trade promotion and boost capital disbursement for state-funded projects rated as in need.

Vinh Long province targets major investments

For the past two years, authorities of the Mekong Delta province of Vinh Long have focused on large-scale investment projects as a driving force for the area’s socio-economic growth, said a local investment official.

Pham Thanh Khon, deputy director of the provincial Department of Planning and Investment, said the province has succeeded in luring both domestic and foreign investment for higher growth.

In 2007, provincial authorities netted 20 domestic and foreign investment projects with a total registered capital of 3 trillion VND (181.5 million USD).

Among them, major projects include the Sai Gon-Vinh Long Brewery, with an investment capital of 1.2 trillion VND (73million USD), a Binh Minh satellite urban area project with a registered capital of 800 billion VND (49 million USD) and the My Thuan Hi-Tech Services Company worth 350 billion VND (21 million USD).

In the first eight months of the year, local authorities licensed nine investment projects including a hi-tech general hospital valued at 500 billion VND (30 million USD) and a marine product processing and aquaculture plant worth 1.66 trillion VND (100.4 million USD).

So far this year, 2,000 domestic businesses worth 4.2 trillion VND (254 million USD) and 14 foreign investment projects worth 66.7 million VND set up shop in Vinh Long, up 43 percent over the whole of 2007.

The province’s effort to attract investment in building infrastructure for industrial clusters has paid off. Despite banks limiting credits, the province has attracted four investment projects to build infrastructure for the industrial areas to meet its 2008 investment goal.

In the next two years, the province plans to invite infrastructure investment in 13 industrial clusters covering 546 ha.

In other efforts to attract investment in the coming years, authorities have teamed up with various agencies to introduce local economic potential to investors and offer incentive policies involving land, tax and licensing procedures.

Cashew fetches 696 million USD in nine months

 
Vietnam earned 696 million USD from cashew exports in the first nine months this year, 51.5 percent higher than the same period of 2007, thanks to the world’s sustained high prices.

With over 400,000 ha of cashew, Vietnam shipped the nut to 40 countries and territories worldwide. The staple is estimated to reach 150,000 tonnes in 2008, earning the country 800-850 million USD.

Vietnam ’s cashew industry, however, has been undergoing bad weather for the third year in a row, the shrinking cultivating areas in the Central Highland and the Southeast, and higher production cost, said the Vietnam Cashew Association.

To compensate for the lack of input materials, Vietnam imported 200.000 tonnes of crude cashew nut in 2007. The figure is estimated to hit 250,000 in 2008. In the face of material high prices and the shortage of local supply, many Vietnamese cashew processers are likely to suspend their operation by the end of 2008.

In the long term, Vietnam ’s cashew businesses have to fiercely compete with other industrial crops, including tea, rubber and coffee, to maintain their farming areas.

SAM finalises deal with two local firms

The Cayman Islands-registered Saigon Asset Management Corporation (SAM) expects to maximize its potential following the finalising of its agreement with two local partners, Hanoi Fund Management and Thang Long Securities Company.

Hanoi Fund Management (GFM) will assist in the portfolio management of SAM’s Vietnam Equity Holding.

“This partnership will maximise the two sides’ potential and bring new value to SAM’s investors,” said Louis Nguyen, AM’s chairman and CEO.

SAM’s international experience and fundraising ability as well as SAM’s parent company, the joint-stock Military Bank, will help further the co-operative arrangement.

Thang Long Securities Co will provide financial investment services to SAM’s investors and partners.

The securities firm offers services, including brokerage, consultancy on mergers and acquisitions and corporate finance, as well as equity private placement.

“Foreign investors have a real demand in accessing Vietnam ’s stock market, and through our relationship, our shareholders and partners will be able to get trustworthy information and opportunities,” Louis said.

SAM, previously known as Anpha Capital Group, is managing two funds, Vietnam Equity Holding (VEH) and Vietnam Property Holding (VPH), which have a combined capital of 125 million USD. They are listed on Germany ’s Frankfurt and XETRA exchanges.

HFM, with the Military Bank Thang Long Securities as major holders, manages, apart from VEH, two other funds, Hanoi Fund and Vietnam Tiger and offers portfolio management to local and foreign investors.

By August, around 130 million USD was under HFM’s management.

Thang Long Securities, also an affiliate of the Military Bank, is one of the five top securities brokers in Vietnam.

Dutch company builds resort in Da Nang

A 25 million USD resort will be built in central Da Nang city as agreed by the Hoang Tra Tourism Company and Life Resorts of the Netherlands .

The 4.5 ha resort will accommodate 10 suites, 182 rooms, 15 villas and a 500-seat convention centre. It is scheduled to open for operation next autumn.

This will be one of the largest projects that Life Resorts manages in Vietnam . The business now owns ‘Life Heritage Resort Hoi An’ in Quang Nam province and ‘Life Wellness Resort Quy Nhon’ in Binh Dinh province. ‘The Blue Ocean Resort Phan Thiet’ in Binh Thuan province is also under its management.

Life Resorts is planning several projects in the northern provinces of Ninh Binh, Lao Cai and Quang Ninh.

Da Nang city is a popular destination of both local and foreign tourists. It welcomed 972,000 visitors, including 277,000 overseas visitors, in the first nine months of this year, representing increases of 16 percent and 29 percent respectively, compared with the same period last year.

Vietnam showcases seafood products in Moscow

Seafood exporters from Vietnam have spent over 21,400 Euro to rent an area of 68 sq.m to showcase their products at the Worldfood exhibition in Moscow, Russia, from September 23-26.

This represents the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Processors’s (VASEP) largest ever presence at an international food exhibitions or fair, according to an association representative.

Ho Thi Thu Trang from VASEP said that Moscow is one of the two international food exhibitions that VASEP attends every year - the other taking place in Dubai.

This year, the Moscow exhibition attracted nine members of VASEP, despite the cost of attendance being four times higher than that of Dubai.

“This is because Russia is the biggest consumer of Vietnamese catfish, accounting for 15 percent of the gross export turnover,” said Trang.

This year’s event, the 17th Worldfood exhibition covers over 60,000 sq.m of space and draws 1,300 companies from 61 countries, including traditional members such as Argentina, Belgium, the US, Italy and Germany.

Vietnam’s representatives made their debut at the event in 2005.

Maybank holds 15 percent stake in ABBank

Malaysia ’s top lender Maybank officially became a strategic partner of the An Binh Joint Stock Commercial Bank (ABBank) on Sept 24.

The Malaysian bank has paid over 1.5 trillion VND to purchase almost 40.59 million shares of the ABBank, or 15 percent of the local bank’s charter capital.

This move has helped increase the ABBank’s charter capital to more than 2.7 trillion VND.

In the near future, the two banks will cooperate in formulating business strategy, expanding local networks, studying the possibility of linking the two banks’ ATMs, and developing banking services.

Maybank has also committed to sharing experiences in personnel training, and to providing a range of consultancy and information technology solutions.

Drainage systems to cost 3.4 billion USD

Vietnam will need approximately 3.4 billion USD to build drainage and waste water treatment systems in urban areas and business districts of the country’s three key economic zones between now and 2020.

According to a recent decision signed by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, this amount does not include sums paid in compensation for ground clearance.

The drainage system planned for the northern region will be designed to connect with the basins of six major rivers, namely Nhue, Cau, Hong (Red), Thai Binh, Lach Tray, Cam rivers, and Quang Ninh province’s coastal area.

The central region’s drainage basin will include several main river basins that serve five cities of Da Nang , Hue , Tam Ky , Quang Ngai and Quy Nhon.

The drainage system in the southern region will be divided in to serve three main areas, including the high-terrain area covering Dong Nai, Binh Duong, Binh Phuoc and Tay Ninh provinces, the area of Ho Chi Minh City, and the area of Long An and Tien Giang provinces.

The PM added that the use of materials and technology for each waste water treatment system must be appropriate to the concrete conditions of each respective area.

Egyptians keen on Vietnam’s catfish

The Commercial Bureau and the Embassy of Vietnam to Cairo have been busy with phone calls over the last month from Egyptian businesses, enquiring about Vietnamese catfish bearing the Tra and Basa trademarks.

The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Processors (VASEP) quoted the Vietnamese embassy as saying that stocks of frozen Tra and Basa products have been depleted in the Middle-East market recently due to Egyptians stocking up on food supplies in preparation for the month of Ramadan.

Ambassador Le Tien Ba said that Tra and Basa trademarked catfish products are widely available in supermarkets, food shops and traditional markets in Egypt with retail prices of between 3 and 4 USD per kg.

“These products are now the first choice of many housewives and are making their presence more frequently on the dining tables of Egyptians,” he said.

VASEP said Tra catfish products have gained a firm foothold in 107 foreign markets so far, which have consumed some 750 million USD worth of the products in the first seven months of the year.

This figure is expected to hit the 1.2 billion USD mark for the entire year, representing a year-on-year increase of over 200 million USD.

FedEx Vietnam multiplies transport capacity

The world’s leading courier providers, FedEx introduced a new Airbus A310 flight service into the Vietnamese market on September 24, thus increasing its local transport capacity five-fold, to 30 tonnes a day.

The new service will also help reduce the transit times into and out of the capital, Hanoi by one day.

President of the FedEx – Asia Pacific Region, David L Cunningham Jr said “The service enhancement reinforces the FedEx commitments to provide greater access for customers doing business with Vietnam ”, as the country emerged as the second-fastest growing market in Asia, behind China .

“It also helps increase Vietnam ’s competitiveness throughout the region and around the world by delivering greater connectivity and convenience to our customers”, he concluded.



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