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BUSINESS IN BRIEF 20/1   2010-01-20 - VietNamNet/VNA

Standard Chartered targets priority customers

Standard Chartered Bank has launched a priority banking service targeting customers with incomes of more than 5,000 USD per month or with at least 50,000 in deposit.

Priority customers would enjoy privileged services worldwide, with preferential rates on term deposits and personal loans, and unlimited free local fund transfers, international outward remittances and international debit card.

The bank estimated that 2-3 percent of the national population was in the target group.

RoK telecom places S-Fone on hold

The Republic of Korea (RoK)’s invested telecom SK Telecom confirmed on January 19 that it would make no further investment in S-Fone, putting the underperforming mobile service provider on life support.

Plagued by low profits and low subscription rates since it was launched in 2001, as a 230 million USD business cooperation contract (BCC) between SK Telecom and Sai Gon Post and Telecommunications Corporation (SPT), S-Fone was only able to sign up about 7.3 million subscribers to its CDMA network, a market share of less than 10 percent.

In a recent announcement, S-Fone had revealed that SK Telecom and SPT had inked a memorandum of understanding to change the form of their investment from a BCC to joint venture.
SK Telecom denied on January 18 that it was effectively pulling the plug on S-Fone, saying instead that it was now engaging SPT in discussions on future operations and other ideas that might be of mutual benefit.

SPT would continue managing the S-Fone network until a final decision was reached, the announcement said.

“We are still working well,” said S-Fone CEO Ho Hong Son, noting that the provider had already expanded its third-generation coverage (3G-EVDO) by building more transceiver stations.

Bank, construction shares revive Index

A rise in banking and construction shares on January 19 helped lift the HCM Stock Exchange out of January 18’s tailspin, carrying the VN-Index to a close of 495.51 points, a gain of 1.72 percent.
Trading value and volume stalled, however, dropped 20 percent from January 18’s session to just under 32.5 million shares, worth a combined 1.4 trillion VND (76.1 million USD). Sacombank STB was the most-active share, with over 2 million changing hands.

On the Hanoi Stock Exchange, the HNX-Index also advanced by 0.83 percent to end the day at 165.90 points, Meanwhile, the volume of the day’s trades on the northern bourse fell slightly to nearly 19.4 million shares, worth a total of 660.7 billion VND (35 million USD) – a decline of 10 percent from the previous session’s value.

Kim Long Securities Co (KLS) continued to be the most active share on the northern bourse, responsible for over 3.8 million shares traded.

“Many market-leading shares made a comeback on January 18, particularly banking and construction stocks which benefited from the State Bank’s lowering of capital reserves ratios,” said analysts of FPT Securities Co in their daily report.

Foreign investors were net sellers by volume of 74,950 shares in HCM City on January 19, but were net buyers by value of 25.8 billion VND (1.4 million USD). In Hanoi , they returned to being net buyers, but of a net of just 252,700 shares, worth 8.7 billion VND (462,765 USD).

56 trln VND in Gov’t bonds to be allocated in 2010

The Prime Minister has decided to allocate 56 trillion VND (3.1 billion USD) in government bonds as capital for projects in 2010.

The sum includes funding allocated in advance to some projects in 2009.

Currently, a Vietnamese delegation, headed by Deputy Minister of Finance Tran Xuan Ha, is on an international road show to promote sales of a 1 billion USD Government bond to foreign investors.

After meeting with potential investors in Hong Kong on Jan. 18, the road show will move on to London on January 19, then to Boston on Jan.20 and New York on Jan.21.

The bonds have a maturity of 10 years and a yield is capped at 7 percent per year.

Capital raised from the bond sale will be lent to PetroVietnam, Vinalines, Song Da Corporation, and Vietnam Machine Erection Corporation (Lilama) to invest in Dung Quat oil refinery projects, hydro-electric power projects and to purchase vessels.

Russian businesses talk investment chances in VN

A workshop on Vietnam ’s potentials and investment opportunities was held in Moscow, Russia, on Jan. 19.

Addressing the function, Vice Chairman of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Gheorgy Petrov said Vietnam is a promising investment market.

Russian investors can join in setting up oil refinery and metallurgy businesses, executing power projects, building hotels and business centres, providing machinery and equipment as well as manufacturing automobile in Vietnam , Petrov said.

Vietnamese Ambassador Bui Dinh Dinh applauded the organisation of the seminar, saying that similar activities will help promote traditional friendship and strategic partnership between the two countries.

Last year, two-way trade recorded a year-on-year rise of 4 percent, fetching more than 1.7 billion USD in 2009, said Dinh.

Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Cao Viet Sinh briefed the participants of the country’s political stability and social security, a high economic growth and huge investment demand which made Vietnam a destination for foreign investors.

The Vietnamese Government is striving to finalise its legal system and policies to encourage local and foreign investors, he said, noting that the gov’t is calling for foreign investment in five important sectors.

He took the occasion to call for closer cooperation between Russian and Vietnamese businesses for mutual development and for prosperity, friendship and benefits of the two peoples.

Russian businesses discussed issues relating to investment in manufacturing construction cranes, energy projects, realty market and housing, training officials, a free economic area in Vietnam and the framework of ASEAN.

Vietnam company to build hydro power plant in Laos

Vietnam’s Hoang Anh Gia Lai Joint Stock Company (HAGL) will build a 120 million-USD hydro power plant in Laos following a memorandum of understanding with the Lao Ministry of Planning and Investment.

Under the MoU signed in Vientiane on Jan. 19 between HAGL General Director Nguyen Van Su and Lao Deputy Minister Planning and Investment Thongmy Phomvisay, the Nam Cong 2 hydro power plant has a designed capacity of 70 MW and will put be into operation after three years.

Earlier in August, the two sides signed a MoU on the Nam Cong 3 hydro power plant.

Once operational, the two projects will help boost socio-economic development in southern Laos in particular and Laos in general.

The HAGL has gained prestige in Laos with the Sea Games 25 village in Vientiane and a project on planting 10,000 ha of rubber trees in Attapeu province.

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BUSINESS IN BRIEF 19/1   2010-01-19

Economists predicts no adjustment in basic interest rate   2010-01-19

Inflation worries depress shares   2010-01-19

Shoemakers target higher exports   2010-01-19

Vietnam begins $1-billion bond roadshow   2010-01-19