BUSINESS IN BRIEF 20/3

Doosan appoints new CEO for Vietnamese ops

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Park Hong Ook

Park Hong Ook, the recently-appointed chief executive officer and general director of Doosan Heavy Industries Vietnam, will assume control of Doosan’s Vietnamese operations.

Park brings an extensive portfolio of management expertise to the CEO position in Vietnam. His plan is to leverage this experience to build on Doosan’s Vina’s successes in infrastructure development for the power, water, and port logistics sectors in Vietnam and around the world.

Since assuming his new position on December 19, 2017, he has been working hard to enlist the support of his team of over 2,000 Vietnamese professionals and 40 Korean engineers so that they can seamlessly communicate and work as a cohesive force in the heavy industry.

In a “Meet the CEO” event with over 200 management staff, Park outlined his strategies and said, “I feel our priorities need to be strategic, basic, and core to our business, so to achieve our goals we will focus on the three areas of safety, quality, and communications. These will be the cornerstone and our victory depends on them, so we will be vigilant in executing initiatives that will provide accountability and structure so that we can be certain of realising our objectives!”

At a meeting with Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Park was encouraged to continue and expand the good work Doosan has done in the country.

He assured the PM that Doosan will always look for opportunities to support Vietnam’s growth and development and be a company that will continue its extensive CSR programmes in Vietnam.

Since opening in 2009, Doosan Vina and domestic and international partners has completed or is constructing four power plants in Vietnam.

When commissioned, these four power plants will add a total of nearly 5GW of power to the national grid, making them critical to national development. The company has so far invested nearly $6.5 million in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects to advance education, healthcare, and housing.

PwC named Leader by IDC MarketScape

PwC has been named a Leader in IDC MarketScape: Asia-Pacific Business Consulting Services 2018 Vendor Assessment, acknowledging the company’s operational efficiency and supporting organisational change.

IDC MarketScape’s analysis is based on two key criteria. The first is a series of interviews with firm leaders. The second is an end-user client survey.

Based on these measurement criteria, PwC was recognised for its global focus, extensive network of strategic alliances, and end-to-end service offerings, with particular note of its offerings in digitalisation and innovation. PwC works closely with technology partners, including Google, SAP, Oracle, Microsoft, and GE, building strategic partnerships that lead to shared learning and increased access to expertise for their clients.

According to Cushing Anderson, programme vice president of Business Consulting Services at IDC, clients in the Asia-Pacific region said that PwC is highly capable of supporting business change across their organisations.

PwC has built extensive technology capabilities, supporting clients worldwide and across industries as they look to optimise their IT investments, engage with digital transformation, connect with emerging technologies, employ well-known business applications, and harness the power of data and analytics.

“PwC is considered to be among the strongest at helping organisations improve operational efficiency and at maximising project value and offering high-quality staff to support engagements,” he said.

“We are very proud of these results. We present solutions to our clients with an eye on the future, ensuring they are comfortable with the changes we are proposing in order to make them sustainable and implementable in the long term. Our people work closely with our clients to understand their business, their goals and their vision for the future, bringing together expertise across a spectrum of specialties,” said Randy Browning, Global Advisory Markets Leader and Global Consulting Competencies Leader at PwC.

The report also mentions PwC’s businesses of eXperience and Technology (BXT) philosophy, which, coupled with the company’s other functional area expertise, allows for large-scale transformation.

PwC’s awards, accordingly, as per the report, speak to the strength and diversity of PwC’s global network—its ability to listen to and understand clients and work with them to forecast their future needs.

A global presence and local knowledge of individual markets and sectors is brought to each client, helping them move strategically through a global landscape of rapid change.

Protrade Corp. looking for strategic foreign investor

Binh Duong Producing and Trading Goods Corporation (Protrade Corp.), the third largest state-owned firm in the southern province of Binh Duong that owns numerous industrial parks, will offer 40 per cent of its stakes to a strategic foreign investor.

This is part of Protrade Corp.’s approved equisation plan.

Notably, the company will offer 30 million shares for sale, equalling 10 per cent of its stakes, at its initial public offering (IPO) with the initial price of VND12,000 ($0.53).

The auction will be conducted on March 28, 2018 at the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange. Any organisation and individual satisfying the conditions stipulated by Protrade Corp.’s regulations on public share auction can join.

Being the third largest state-owned firm in Binh Duong, Protrade Corp. currently owns a series of industrial parks, including Protrade International Tech Park, VSIP II Open Industrial Zone, as well as Song Than 3 and Dat Cuoc IZs.

After conducting its IPO, Protrade Corp. will put 119.7 million shares, equalling 39.91 per cent of the stakes, on sale to strategic investors.

Protrade Corp also published the following criteria for strategic investors:

Interested investors, either domestic or foreign firms, have to be operating for at least ten years in one of the following sectors: garments and textile, wood processing or real estate. Besides, interested investors must have the financial potential to promote the development of Protrade Corp.

Furthermore, after the deal ends, the strategic investor will not be permitted to transfer the bought stake for at least five years after Protrade Corp. receives the business registration certificate.

The offering price to strategic investors will be equal to the minimum successful bidding price.

Established in 1982, Protrade Corp. operates in the garment and textile, agriculture, wood processing, paper manufacturing, golf services, and real estate sectors. It currently owns numerous subsidiaries and member companies, including Song Be Golf Resort, Hamornie Golf Park, Hanh Phuc International Hospital, Truong Thanh Furniture Corporation, and FrieslandCampina Vietnam (the joint venture manufacturing the Dutch Lady milk brand in Vietnam), among others.

Besides, it manages a series of industrial zones (IZs), including Protrade International Tech Park, VSIP II Open IZ, as well as Song Than 3 and Dat Cuoc IZs.

In 2017, Protrade Corp. reported a net revenue of VND2.2 trillion ($96.63 million) with an after-tax profit of VND115 billion ($5.05 million), up 21.8 in net revenue and a 5.4-fold increase in after-tax profit on-year.

Thai delegation shows interest in boosting investment in Danang

On the morning of March 16, the Danang Investment Promotion Agency (IPA) organised the “Thailand-Danang Business and Investment Opportunities” seminar on the occasion of a Thai delegation’s visit.

The seminar welcomed the delegation of leaders of the Thai Listed Companies Association (TLCA) and representatives of leading Thai businesses, as well as offered investment opportunities for Thai firms and sought to boost trade between Vietnamese and Thai businesses.

In front of more than 34 Thai investors, Nguyen Ky Anh, deputy director of Danang IPA, presented a general introduction about the outstanding achievements of the city throughout 21 years of development. “Despite having quite a modest land area with a total population of more than one million, the city has achieved significant results in socioeconomic development, proving its role as the hub of the central and the Central Highlands regions,” Anh emphasised.

This is why investment promotion of Danang has posted amazing achievement by magnetising a number of countries, including Singapore, South Korea, the US, and Japan.

Pensri Suteerasam, chairwoman of TLCAThere are now around 600 members in TLCA hailing from Thai banks, financial institutes, and tourism companies, among others. These participants have joined the Excutive Development Programme, which have taken them to three countries with long-lasting relations, including Cambodia, Myanmar, and Vietnam. Vietnam is considered the most popular destination among the TLCA members.

Speaking of Thailand-Danang business opportunities, Anh assumed that even though they have built a firm and close relation, the number of Thai enterprises in Danang and Thai FDI to the central city are not really impressive, with only six Thai enterprises investing $21 million.

The imports of Thai products into Danang are high, but exports of Danang’s products to Thailand remain quite low.

“However, the number of Thai tourists to the city via airways and roadways has increased considerably,” Anh added.

He also highlighted six key advantages that helped the city to become an outstanding investment destination, including its strategic position on the East-West Economic Corridor, at the hub of the Southeast Asian region, as well as Danang International Airport with direct flights to Japan, South Korea, and many other places.

Additionally, the city offers developed infrastructure, six operating economic zones, and three more soon to be under construction, and especially, one high-tech park which offers considerable incentives for investors.

During the discussions, the Thai delegation raised a number of questions about the investment policies and environment in Vietnam, showing great interest.

Anh also shared the vision for the next five years in Danang, which is to build an environmentally friendly tourism city, aiming to attract investment into the sectors of high-technology, tourism development, and resort property. High-tech agriculture is also considered a spearhead economic sector, and the city is calling for more investment in the area, too.

At the same time, Thai representatives working in banking and tourism showed interest in incentives for foreign investors, and investment in building hotel branches of Minor Hotel Group in the city after its entry in Hoi An, Haiphong, and Mui Ne.

Bosch continues to expand Bosch Powertrain Solutions plant in Dong Nai

After 10 years of development, Bosch committed further investment to raise productivity and output at the Bosch plant in the southern province of Dong Nai.

Built in 2008 at Long Thanh Industrial Park of Dong Nai, Bosch’s Powertrain Solutions plant is its first continuously variable transmission (CVT) pushbelt manufacturing site in Southeast Asia. By March 2018, the plant has manufactured more than 25 million CVT pushbelts for carmakers in the Asia-Pacific and North America regions.

Over the past ten years, the production capacity of the factory has been continuously extended. As of December 2017, the plant successfully ran 18 production lines based on Bosch’s global manufacturing and quality standards.

Just at the end of 2017, Bosch announced an additional investment of 58 million euros ($67 million) into the plant, mainly to continue extending its production capacity as well as turn it into a smart factory. By the end of 2018, Bosch will have invested a total of 321 million euros ($372 million) into the plant.

The investment as well as the company’s continuous growth in the past ten years demonstrate Bosch’s long-term commitment to further strengthen its presence in Vietnam.

“The integration of our research and development efforts, innovative edge, high manufacturing capabilities, and dedicated workforce has been the recipe for success thus far in Vietnam,” said Guru Mallikarjuna, managing director of Bosch Vietnam. “At Bosch, we are dedicated to continue this upward momentum of growth, develop innovative products for the worldwide market, and grow together with our associates for many years to come.”

Hanoi names priority sectors to attract Singaporean investors

Hanoi has announced the list of priority sectors to attract Singaporean investors in a move to fulfil its target of $3.5 billion in 2018.

According to the Hanoi People’s Committee, the city will focus on attracting Singaporean businesses with expertise in real estate, property management services, education and training, healthcare, environment, and trade services.

The city’s investment orientation is in line with investment trends among Singaporean enterprises.

According to the Singapore Business Association in Vietnam (SBAV), together with traditionally strong interest in real estate, construction, and manufacturing, Singaporean investors have been showing increased interest in healthcare and renewable energy in Vietnam to cash in on rising local consumerism and the government’s support policies.

Renewable energy is an emerging trend among Singaporean investors in Vietnam, where the electricity consumption grew at twice the pace of economic growth over the past few years.

Healthcare is also becoming an area of interest for Singaporean investment in Vietnam, as locals spend about $2-3 billion on healthcare services abroad annually. There is a yet unmet demand for high-quality healthcare services in the country, driven by an expanding middle class and higher incidence of lifestyle-induced diseases.

“There appears to be a trend towards rising consumerism in Vietnam, and healthcare and renewable energy. [The interest in] healthcare and renewable energy could be due to government policies which encourage such sectors,” Jazreel Lim, president of SBAV, told VIR.

Government reform in opening up sectors which were previously restricted or capped for foreign investment, like pharmaceutical, healthcare, and state-owned enterprises (SOEs), will influence the focus of investments from Singapore, she added.

To date, Singapore remains Hanoi’s biggest foreign investor. As of the end of 2017, Singapore invested an accumulated $5.5 billion in the capital, followed by Japan ($5.38 billion) and South Korea ($5.34 billion).

Vung Ro Petroleum still dreams about a refinery in Phu Yen

Vung Ro Petroleum Co., Ltd. (VRP), set up by UK-based Technostar Management Limited, still dreams about building a petroleum project with a smaller scale than the $3.2-billion Vung Ro complex, which had its investment certificate revoked, according to newswire Diendandoanhnghiep.

Recently, the Phu Yen People’s Committee asked the Phu Yen Economic Zone Management Board in collaboration with the province’s Department of Planning and Investment to consider revoking the Vung Ro project invested by VRP.

The movement started from the investor’s decision to return the investment certificate to the authorities after 10 years of receiving it.

In 2007, VRP was granted the investment certificate for Vung Ro refinery and petrochemical complex with the initial capital of $1.7 billion. After numerous adjustments to the investment plan, the investment capital increased to $3.2 billion with the annual capacity of eight million tonnes of crude oil, doubling the initial capacity.

In 2014, VRP held the ground-breaking ceremony for the refinery. At the time, the investor affirmed to take the first phase of the project into operation in 2016. However, during the past ten years, the construction remained immobile.

According to VRP, the difficulty in site clearance caused the long delay in implementing the construction. However, the real reason was the oil crisis and the economic crisis in Russia in 2015-2016 (Despite being based in the UK, Technostar Management Limited was established by Russian investors).

The revocation of the $3.2 billion Vung Ro has yet to put an end to VRP’s ambitions to develop a refinery project in Phu Yen province.

The firm affirmed that it will develop a project with smaller scale. The construction of the new project will also be divided into numerous phases, with the first phase designed with one million tonne in capacity. At present, the firm has submitted the application for the investment certificate for the new project.

However, the answer whether VRP can realise its dreams remains undecided.

Dragon Capital spends $143.6 million on Sabeco shares

Seven foreign investment funds managed by Dragon Capital completed the purchase of 15.3 million shares, equaling 2.3 per cent of the charter capital of Sabeco, on March 15 for VND3.27 trillion ($143.6 million).

The deal took place after Sabeco reported a plunge in share value.

Previously, on December 18, 2017, Sabeco successfully sold 343 million shares, or 53 per cent stake, to Vietnam Beverage Co., Ltd. (a subsidiary of Thai Beverage) for VND110 trillion ($4.83 billion).

Detailed information about the deal was published by Vietnam Securities Depository (VSD) (See box below).

Ending the transaction session of March 15, Sabeco’s shares were valued at VND214,000 ($9.4), thus, Dragon Capital spent VND3.27 trillion ($143.6 million) on the deal.

In late February, a group of funds run by Dragon Capital, including Vietnam Enterprise Investments Ltd. (VEIL), Wareham Group Limited, Norges Bank, KB Vietnam Focus Balanced Fund, and Hanoi Investments Holdings Limited, spent over VND841 billion ($37 million) to buy 5.22 million shares in Phu Nhuan Jewelry JSC (HSX: PNJ).

Besides, in August 2017, Dragon Capital and VinaCapital completed the purchase of a 30 per cent stake, equaling six million shares, in FPT Retail, aiming to plunge deeper into the retail sector, especially the mobile retail segment.

Neither the deal’s value nor the share volumes transferred to Dragon Capital and VinaCapital were disclosed, however, according to rumours, Dragon Capital currently holds a 20 per cent stake in the mobile retailer.

Vietjet plans to open direct routes to Australia

Vietjet Air and the Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) in Queensland, Australia have signed an agreement to open a non-stop service between Ho Chi Minh City and Brisbane, looking to boost the region’s integration and trade exchange. The direct flights are expected to be launched in 2019.

Vietjet Air and the Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC) in Queensland, Australia have signed an agreement to open a non-stop service between Ho Chi Minh City and Brisbane.

Ms. Julieanne Alroe, CEO and Managing Director of BAC, said travel between Queensland and Vietnam has been growing at an average of 8 per cent per annum over the last five years and the new service would further stimulate the market.

“It makes perfect sense for Vietjet to choose Brisbane as its very first Australian port for direct flights, given that Ho Chi Minh City is one of Brisbane’s top five markets without non-stop services,” she said. “We look forward to welcoming Vietjet to the Brisbane Airport family and further strengthening ties between Queensland and Vietnam.”

“The Ho Chi Minh City-Brisbane route is also the first non-stop service between the two cities under the cooperation and support of BAC and Tourism & Events Queensland,” said Vietjet Vice President Nguyen Thi Thuy Binh. “I believe the service will soon be put into operation, meeting the increasing travel demand of many people and tourists.”

She added that following the airline’s “Sky Connection” program, Vietjet has been fully prepared for international aviation integration, with high-quality and friendly services, to connect Vietnam’s economic and tourism hubs with international destinations, including Australia, an amazing country that Vietjet expects to connect with shortly so it can offer more air travel opportunities to Vietnamese people and regional travelers.

The capital of Queensland and 900 km north of Sydney, Brisbane is the third most-populous city in Australia. It is renowned for its young, dynamic and friendly people and rapid economic growth over recent years. With mild weather, ranging from 15C to 25C in winter and 25C to 35C in summer, it is becoming an ideal destination for international students and tourists, especially those from the Asia-Pacific, including Vietnam.

During Prime Minister Phuc’s recent official visit to Australia, Vietjet and Investec Bank PLC signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) worth $609 million to finance the purchase of five Airbus A321 aircraft.

Vietjet is the first airline in Vietnam to operate as a new-age airline with low-cost and diversified services to meet customer demand. It not only provides transport services but also uses the latest e-commerce technologies to offer various products and services.

It is a member of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and has IATA Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) certification. The airline was named one of the Top 500 Brands in Asia 2016 by global marketing researchers Nielsen, Best Asian Low Cost Carrier at the TTG Travel Awards 2015, which compiles votes from travelers, travel agencies and tour operators throughout Asia, and Asia’s Best Employer Brand by the Employer Branding Institute and World HRD Congress for many years. The airline was also rated as one of the top three fastest-growing airline brands on Facebook in the world by Socialbakers.

The airline currently boasts a fleet of 55 aircraft, including A320s and A321s, and operates 385 flights each day. It has already transported more than 55 million passengers on a network of 82 routes in Vietnam and across the region to international destinations such as Thailand, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, mainland China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Myanmar and Cambodia.

Novaland to finalise shareholders’ list for bonus shares     

Large-cap property developer Novaland (HOSE: NVL) will finalise on March 28 the list of shareholders to whom the company will issue bonus shares on a 100:31 ratio.

This means each shareholder will receive 31 bonus shares for every 100 shares he has.

Novaland is trading more than 652.6 million shares and with this issuance ratio, the company could issue an additional 202.3 million shares.

The face value of each share being issued is VND10,000, making the value of the deal more than VND2 trillion (US$88.1 million).

The bonus shares will not be forbidden from being traded, adding the total number of Novaland’s outstanding shares up to 845 million.

Novaland shareholders recently approved the firm’s plan to list shares on a foreign stock exchange, such as the Singapore Stock Exchange, in 2018-19.

The firm’s shareholders have also approved the company to sell a maximum of 100 million shares under a private placement deal in 2018 at a price level not lower than the book value of the company shares on the date of selling.

Novaland plans to hold its annual shareholders’ meeting on April 26, 2018.

Vinh Long to get 14 industrial hubs     

The Mekong Delta province of Vinh Long plans to develop nine industrial clusters with a total area of 492.5 ha from now to 2020, and another five industrial clusters with a combined area of 165.49 ha during 2020-30.

The information was released at a seminar held in the province late last week to announce the province’s zoning planning for industrial cluster development until 2020 with a vision to 2030.

Approved industrial clusters will serve projects in the fields of farm produce, aquatic products and food processing; energy; repairing and assembling of agricultural machines and transportation means; wood processing; garment and textiles, and footwear.

Vu Ngoc Tu, deputy director of the Provincial Department of Industry and Trade, said that through the zoning plan, the province aims to form a system of industrial parks and clusters to ensure its sustainable economic development, as well as contribute to promoting its economic restructuring and boosting its industrial growth.

In addition, the development of industrial clusters following the zoning plan would create industrial infrastructure facilities with long-term value, contribute to the modernisation of infrastructure system, create jobs, raise incomes and form an industrial working style for workers, and meet land sites and infrastructure demand for industrial production in the province, he said.

To accomplish the targets, the province will focus on implementing many measures, including enhancing trade promotion and administrative reform, improving infrastructure, creating a favourable investment environment, paying special attachment on human resource development and training, and attracting enterprises and credit sources to invest in infrastructure of industrial clusters.

On the other hand, the province also closely combined the overall and detailed plannings of industrial clusters to ensure the harmonious integration between industrial cluster development and industrial and socio-economic development in each locality in the province.

At the same time, the province will accelerate the decentralisation of the management of industrial clusters to local governments where the industrial clusters are located to ensure simple and effective management.

In addition to applying the appropriate policies and mechanisms of the central Government, the province will also implement its own incentive policy for investors, such as helping investors choose the optimal locations in line with the province’s socio-economic and industrial development plan.

Particularly, the province will create favourable conditions for enterprises to enable them to borrow preferential credit or loans with subsidised interest rates to build infrastructure, and offer them with tax reductions and exemptions.

Through preferential policies, the province aims to create an attractive investment environment and support investors with part of the costs.

The province currently has two industrial parks and one industrial route, with a total area of 416ha.

In addition to developing 14 new industrial clusters by 2030, the province has also set a target to build another three new industrial parks with a combined area of 950ha.

Cần Thơ aims to lift fruit exports     

Can Tho City has called on companies to strengthen co-operation with farmers for exporting fruits, especially the city’s three key fruits of longan, star apple and mango.

The Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta city grows 98,000 tonnes of fruits in more than 17,120ha of orchards, with mango accounting for 2,710ha, star apple for 1,324ha and longan for 1,838ha, according to its People’s Committee.

Dao Anh Dung, deputy chairman of the committee, said the city would create optimal conditions for companies to collaborate with farmers to consume fruits domestically and export.

It would establish fruit co-operatives which would collaborate with companies, he said.

This year the city plans to export some longan, star apple and mango, he added.

Nguyen Dinh Tung, general director of Vina T&T Import – Export Service Trading Co Ltd said his HCM City-based company buys large volumes of fresh fruits from Can Tho for export, but from traders and not directly from farmers.

For companies to offer guaranteed outlets for farmers, the latter need to sign agreements, he said.

Le Van Thiet, deputy head of the Plant Protection Department, said the country’s five major fruits – dragon fruit, longan, mango, litchi, and star apple – have been exported to several demanding markets such as the US, Chile, Japan and New Zealand.

Viet Nam has exported 230 tonnes of star apple to the US since the first batch was shipped last December, he said.

It plans to export its first batch of mango to the US next month, he said.

Can Tho has zoned areas such as the Cat Hoa Loc mango-growing area in Co Do District and star apple-growing areas in Phong Dien and Binh Thuy districts.

Phong Dien has more than 1,000ha under the fruit.

The Truong Khuong A Hamlet Fruit Orchards Co-operative in Gia Xuan Commune and the Tan Hung Hamlet Star Apple Growing Club in Gia Xuan Commune account for more than 50ha of star apple in Phong Dien.

Pham Thi Minh Hieu, head of the Can Tho City Plant Cultivation and Protection Sub-department, said the city has tied up with a fruit export company to guarantee outlets for the two, and it is inspecting their orchards.

The sub-department would instruct members of the co-operative and club in farming techniques that meet export requirements, she said.

Star apple has provided high incomes for farmers in Phong Dien.

Tran Van Nhanh, who owns a 2ha star apple orchard and is a member of the Truong Khuong A Hamlet Fruit Orchards Co-operative, said he harvested more than 15 tonnes this year.

At a price of VND25 million a tonne, he earned a profit of around VND300 million (US$13,200), he said.

Hà Nội housing projects delayed after investor transfer

After being transferred to new investors, many of Hà Nội’s unfinished real estate projects are still delayed, and home buyers are the hardest hit, Tiền Phong (Vanguard) newspaper reported.

A series of ownership transfers have been approved recently by local authorities. A list of transferred projects has been published on website of the city’s Construction Department. The department has required old investors to address disputes with house buyers before transferring.

The municipal People’s Committee approved transferring a complex of apartment buildings, offices and commercial services in Xuân Tảo Ward, Bắc Từ Liêm District. The ownership was transferred from NEWTATCO Joint Stock Company to Tây Hồ View Real Estate Joint Stock Company. The project named Kosmo Tây Hồ covers an area of more than 10,800 sq.m with total investment of over VNĐ1.3 trillion (US$56.5 million). Its completion is expected in the third quarter of 2019.

The committee also approved transferring a section of Dolphin Plaza project on 28 Trần Bình Street, Mỹ Đình District to Dolphin 2 Joint Stock Company. It is planned to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2019.

At the end of last year, AZ Lâm Viên building on Nguyễn Phong Sắc Street was transferred to AZ Real Estate Joint Stock Company. Sông Đà Thăng Long Company handed over CT2-105 building with total investment of over VNĐ1.5 trillion ($65.2 million) to Hải Phát Thủ Đô Investment Joint Stock Company.

Both projects are unfinished as the old investor ran out of capital before making the transfer to the new investor.

After the transfer, Hải Phát Thủ Đô renamed the project Landmark Tower Lê Văn Lương. In the contract, the old investor promised to hand over apartments to customers no later than June 30 2014. Customers complained that they have been waiting for their apartments for years after paying huge amounts of money. As of now, only the basic structure of the building has been finished. Four hundred customers of tower CT2-105 have not received their apartments.

After the transfer, the new investor neither held meetings with customers nor agreed on compensation rate for the delay.

AZ Lâm Viên Project started construction in 2009. After its fourth floor was finished, the construction has been halted for four years. After the ownership transfer, the project was planned to be completed by the second quarter of this year. But still, only the basic structure construction finished. House buyers feel they have no choice but to accept the delay.

Phạm Sỹ Liêm, former Construction Ministry told Tiền Phong that punishments imposed on investors who delay the projects’ progress are too lenient.

“An administrative fine of VNĐ40-50 million ($1,740-$2,170) is nothing compared to the value of a project worth several hundreds of billions, even trillions of dong. It is not strict enough. Many investors commit repeated violations,” he said.

He recommended stricter punishments, adding that authorized agencies must check an investor’s capacity before issuing the investment license.

VCCI wants Francophone organisation to foster economic ties

The Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) wants member countries of the International Organisation of the Francophone (OIF) to increase economic cooperation with Vietnam, said to Hoang Quang Phong, VCCI Vice President.

During his recent working session with Adama Ouane, OIF Director, Phong lauded the organisation’s role in international and regional issues.

Vietnam has developed cooperative ties with Francophone nations in many fields, Phong affirmed, adding that together with language and cultural diversity, economic activities will enrich the relationship between Vietnam and Francophone countries.

The VCCI is willing to organise business delegations to attend trade and investment promotion events in the nations, Phong said.

For his part, Ouane said Vietnam is an important partner of the OIF in Asia – the Pacific. Besides collaboration in culture and language, economic cooperation will bring a new breath to the community, while creating jobs and more added-value.

The organisation helps youth-run start-ups and women-run businesses while providing assistance in terms of taxation, information, negotiation and trade promotion in numerous fields, including digital technology and banking, he said.

The OIF has worked with Vietnam in education and scientific research in technology, economics, trading, pharmaceuticals and law, among others.

It has also carried out small-scale projects on IT, law, energy, environment, poverty reduction, teachers training and built infrastructure facilities for schools in disadvantaged areas of Vietnam.

The Francophone community has 84 members and observers from five continents, with a combined population of about 900 million, including 220 million French-speaking people. The community accounts for 13 percent of the world’s GDP.

Honda recalls over 1,500 Honda City cars for airbag replacement

Japanese automaker Honda has recalled 1,524 Honda City models in Vietnam, which were produced and assembled from May 25, 2013 to January 6, 2014, to replace their front passenger airbags.

The programme will take place from March 9, 2019 at all Honda agencies in Vietnam. The time to check and replace the airbags takes about 30 minutes for each car. All the services are free.

According to Honda Vietnam, no drivers or passengers have been injured due to airbag errors in the Honda City model, however, for the interest and safety of drivers and passengers, customers should check if their car is among the recalled cars.

Further information can be obtained by calling Honda Vietnam’s hotlines at 1800555548 and 18008001 or on hondaoto.com.vn.

Vietnamese firm to build chicken processing factory for export

The CP Vietnam Corporation, based in the southern province of Binh Phuoc, plans to invest in a project to raise and process 100 million chickens per year for export.

According to Vu Anh Tuan, Deputy Director General of the CP Vietnam Corp, in the first phase of the project, worth nearly 250 million USD, the company will produce one million chickens per week.

The project aims to expand chicken export markets, ensuring food safety, product origin tracing and a sustainable business environment.

The corporation has clients in Japan and the EU, Tuan said, adding that Vietnam can compete with Thailand in chicken exports, as the country has the same chicken breeding cost as Vietnam.

The firm will invest in chain chicken production, from producing chicken feed, to breeding chickens and then to slaughtering them.

Vietnam, Netherlands to boost agricultural cooperation

Dutch businesses have shown interest in Vietnam’s agriculture sector in general and the vegetable processing industry in particular as the industry has grown well in recent years.

The statement was made by Dutch Agricultural Counsellor in Vietnam Arie Veldhuizen at a recent conference in Hanoi to connect Vietnamese and Dutch agricultural businesses. The conference was organised by the Netherlands Embassy in Vietnam and saw the participation of some 150 enterprises from the two countries.

Veldhuizen said Dutch companies, such as De Heus, Friesland Campina and PejaVietnam, were interested in investing in Vietnamese agriculture.

According to an assessment of the Netherlands Embassy in Vietnam, the bilateral relationship between Vietnam and the Netherlands is a win-win situation in which Vietnamese enterprises and farmers can learn about and utilise advanced technology to improve their competitiveness.

The growth in agriculture is not only attributed to the efforts of Vietnamese enterprises but also Vietnam’s Government, which is showing increasing concern about the development of chain goods and has been investing in modern machinery and technology to increase the value and quality of products, Veldhuizen said.

However, many opinions suggest that Vietnam’s agricultural sector is still limited in the application of advanced cultivation techniques, and logistics services for harvesting and preserving have gained little interest of local investors. Developing the value chain, on the other hand, needs large investment by enterprises and policy support from the Government.

According to Veldhuizen, to develop the agricultural sector towards the value chain, it is important to link businesses together. As businesses of many countries meet, they can explore and exchange new opportunities for cooperation in future.

Firms in Mekong Delta perform well in 2017

The number of well-performing businesses in the Mekong Delta increased with higher revenues and profits in 2017, according to a survey recently announced by the Can Tho city chapter of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Specifically, 38.9 percent of surveyed firms performed better, up 6.8 percent annually while those with stable operation accounted for 47.2 percent.

Up to 63.9 percent of respondents posted higher revenues – the highest figure in the recent three years, up 20.5 percent year-on-year. Meanwhile, businesses with increased profits accounted for 57.1 percent.

The region’s gross regional development product (GRDP) growth hit 7.6 percent, higher than the country’s average of 6.81 percent.

There were 8,994 newly-established enterprises in the region, making up over 7 percent of the country’s total, behind the southeast region (53,698), the Red River Delta (38,075), the north central and central coastal region (17,556).

As many as 1,962 businesses resumed their operations in the year.

The surveyed showed that enterprises in farm produce accounted for 32.5 percent, construction – real estate (13.5 percent), manufacturing-processing-apparel (24.3 percent), finance-trade-services (24.3 percent) and pharmaceuticals (5.4 percent).

Well-performing firms were mostly in the fields of processing for export-import, construction and real estate.

The high growth was attributable to technological adoption, workforce training, apparatus restructuring, self-sufficiency in materials and stable consumption, and improved product quality.

However, they also face challenges regarding the shortage of fishery materials, climate change impacts, intense competition with ASEAN member states, and uncontrolled smuggling.

The chapter suggested firms pay attention to the fourth Industrial Revolution, skilled workforce training, corporate governance, trademark building and management and product quality, given that the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership is to take effect this year.

Large-cap stocks fuel indices’ gains

Shares rebounded on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HOSE) as large-cap stocks went up strongly on March 19.

At the end of the trading day, the benchmark of VN-Index rose 9.03 points to 1,159.22 points. More than 272 million shares were traded on the southern bourse at over 7.56 trillion VND (332.64 million USD).

On the Hanoi Stock Exchange, the HNX-Index posted modest growth of 1 point, ending the session at 134.1 points. A total of 94.4 million shares worth over 1.9 trillion VND (83.6 million USD) were traded.

Large-cap stocks performed well with 15 of the top 20 companies by market capitalisation and trading liquidity experiencing robust gains in share prices. This made the VN30 climbed 17.33 points at the end of the session.

Those included shares of FLC Faros Construction Joint Stock Company coded ROS which advanced 8,900 VND each, that property developer Vingroup coded VIC which earned a 4,700 VND rise each, shares of Novaland Investment coded NVL that marked a rise of 5,400 VND per share, and shares of Hoa Phat Group coded HPG which rose by 2,900 VND each.

The indices were also fueled by oil and gas stocks like petrol retailer Petrolimex (PLX) rising 3,300 VND per share, PetroVietnam Technical services (PVS) growing 1,100 VND per share.

Asia Commercial Bank (ACB) stock enjoyed strongest growth among bank shares with 1,300 VND per share. Meanwhile, shares of the Vietnam International Commercial Joint Stock Bank (VIB), Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) and Vietnam Property Joint Stock Company (VPB) decreased 1,600 VND, 1,100 VND and 900 VND per share, respectively.

Strong capital flow to the property shares made stocks in this group experience rosy pickup. Prices of Dat Xanh Real Estate Service and Construction Corporation (DXG), Vincom Retailer and FLC surged 2,500 VND, 800 VND and 80 VND per share, respectively.-

Vietnamnet