BUSINESS IN BRIEF -
17:19' 10/04/2008 (GMT+7)
Stock indexes tumble on both bourses
Both the Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi bourses suffered big losses as most shares plunged to their floor prices during the April 10 trading session.
The VN-Index at the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange (HoSE) dipped 6.32 points or 1.14 percent to finish at 545.73 points.
More than 10 million shares, worth over 447 billion VND, changed hands with 90 percent hitting floor prices.
Hau Giang Pharmaceuticals (DHG) topped the list of losers by having 3,000 VND wiped off its listed price, followed by Binh Dinh Minerals (BMC), Kinh Do Corp (KDC), North Kinhdo (NKD) and Tu Liem Urban Development (NTL-PT), all losing 2,000 VND per share.
Foreign investors bought over 3.6 million shares of 65 codes, including Phu My Nitrogenous Fertiliser (DPM), Vinamilk (VNM) and Pha Lai Thermal Power (PPC).
The Hanoi Securities Trading Centre’s HaSTC-Index experienced the third consecutive fall after losing 4.17 points or 2.16 percent to end at 189.04 points.
More than 1 million shares were sold at over 52 billion VND, declining by 120 billion VND against the previous session.
Vietnam signs deals with Israeli banks
The Ministry of Finance signed loan agreement frameworks with Israeli banks Hapoalim B.M and Leumi Le-Israel in Hanoi on April 10.
The move is part of the implementation of a 150 million USD financial cooperation protocol that was set up between the two governments on October 25, 2007.
The agreement, which is the first of its kind, is considered as an important step in facilitating partnership amongst businesses from Vietnam and Israel .
In particular, the Middle East country expects the loans will allow their domestic firms easier participation in the high technology, health care and telecommunications industries in Vietnam.
Vinalines sets high target for 2008
Vietnam National Shipping Lines (Vinalines) plans to invest about 3 billion USD in development through 2010, Vinalines Director Mai Van Phuc said.
The money would mostly be invested in the building and development of its flotilla, the upgrade of seaport infrastructure and the development of transport service, Phuc added.
Vinalines is currently building new ships and buying second-hand ones from foreign partners to increase its total ship capacity from 2.1 million tonnes by the end of 2007 to 2.8 million tonnes by the end of 2008, and up to 5 million tonnes by 2010.
Current ships will gradually be replaced with more modern vessels. Ships with a capacity of 25,000-30,000 tonnes will be replaced by those with 50,000-70,000 tonne capacity.
Phuc said that Vinalines would have 11 projects related to seaport infrastructure development in 2008, including Hai Phong’s Lach Huyen International Seaport, Ho Chi Minh City ’s Hiep Phuoc Seaport and the second phase of the Tien Sa seaport project in Da Nang .
Regarding Vinalines’ biggest seaport infrastructure project in 2008 – the construction of the Van Phong International Ship Container Terminal – Phuc recently confirmed in the Giao Thong Van Tai (Traffic and Transport) Newspaper that the project would be launched this June.
The building of Vietnam’s first international ship container terminal was supposed to have started on January 25 this year, but the work was delayed to allow the Republic of Korea’s Posco to build a 5 billion USD steel mill in the vicinity.
Vinalines will also invest in upgrading Nha Rong and Khanh Hoi ports in HCM City , along with Song Han port in Da Nang, into tourism seaports with developed cargo storage systems and logistical services. In the future, Vinalines will build three logistical service centres in the north, centre and south of the country.
In order to garner proper finances for its investment projects, Vinalines plans to diversify its capital mobilisation channels, including loans from domestic and foreign financial institutions and loans from State, building its plans to issue construction and enterprise bonds to the domestic and international markets, as well as towards establishing financial companies.
Phuc conceded that the lack of a qualified human resource department would be a challenge for Vinalines’ development plans. “The Vinalines has been passive in human resource training,” he said.
The corporation has set a long-term plan by cooperating with the University of Maritime for human resource training to establish a maritime human resource training centre in the central province of Nghe An.
In 2007, Vinalines had a total transported cargo of 24.9 million tonnes of cargo. Revenues reached 14.6 trillion VND (912.5 million USD), an increase of 26-51 percent over 2006. By the end of 2007, the total capacity of Vinalines’ flotilla was estimated at 2.1 million tonnes, accounting for about 60 percent of the nation’s total shipping capacity.
The corporation is currently preparing to open representative office in key Vietnamese export markets such as Japan, the EU, and the US.
This year, the corporation is expected to complete its restructuring process.
Canadian firm given go ahead for tourism project
The southern coastal province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau has licensed the ACDL Group from Canada to build a 4.2 billion USD tourism complex.
The Asian Coast project will cover 160 ha in Phuoc Thuan commune, Xuyen Moc district, making it the largest of its kind in Vietnam . The complex will include a resort, an entertainment centre, an international conference and exhibition area and a 9,000-room hotel.
Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Ho Van Nien said the province will complete all administrative procedures for the project before April 30.
Rice bowls enjoy bumper harvest
Farmers in the Mekong Delta and southeast region, the nation’s largest rice producers, expect to harvest 9.9 million tonnes of rice for the winter-spring crop, an increase of over 373,000 tonnes compared to the same crop last year.
They have finished harvesting 1.4 million ha of rice fields, which yielded 6.1 tonnes per ha on average, up by 0.77 tonnes. The remaining 230,000 ha are now in the earring stage.
The region also recorded a surge of almost 25,000 ha in productive rice fields compared to the previous winter-spring crop.
World prestigious bodies laud Vietnam’s economic success
World Trade Organisation (WTO) Director General Pascal Lamy has praised Vietnam ’s execution of its commitments to the world’s largest economic body.
Vietnam has recorded a number of economic achievements in its one-year membership, especially in trade, foreign investment and tourism, the WTO chief said at his meeting on April 9 with out-going Ambassador Ngo Quang Xuan, Head of the Vietnam Mission at the United Nations, WTO and other international organisations headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.
At another farewell meeting with Xuan, Managing Director of the World Economic Fund (WEF) Borge Brende also said he was impressed by Vietnam ’s economic achievements in 2007 as well as its contributions to Davos and regional economic forums.
Vietnam should consider and be prepared to host an East Asian high-level forum by 2010, proposed the WEF chief.
Sacombank profits rise 44% in Q1
Sacombank earned 435 billion VND (27.1 million USD) in pre-tax profit in the first quarter of the year, an increase of 44 percent year-on-year.
The bank also attained total assets of 75.2 trillion VND (4.7 billion USD), jumping 135 percent from the corresponding period last year. It also has a total outstanding loan of 41.6 trillion VND.
This year the bank plans to earn 2 trillion VND in pre-tax profit while pursuing a total outstanding loan of 46 trillion VND. It is also expected to raise its charter capital to 6.04 trillion VND, and pays a dividend of 15 percent to sharesholders.
EU helps develop tourism human resources
The European Union (EU) will provide 10.8 million Euro towards a 12 million Euro project to develop tourism human resources in Vietnam, said the Vietnam National Tourism Administration (VNAT).
The project was made public at an April 7-8 seminar in Hanoi to introduce European markets, including France , the Netherlands and Belgium , to the tourism sector.
The seminar aimed to help Vietnamese tour operators study European tourists’ tastes, update resources and share industry experience, thus improving service levels.
Similar seminars are scheduled to be held in central Danang city from April 10-14 and in Ho Chi Minh City from April 14-15.
Techcombank profits hit 13.75 million USD in Q1
The Technological and Commercial Bank of Vietnam (Techcombank) on April 8 announced pre-tax profits of 220 billion VND (13.75 million USD) from the first quarter of the year.
By the end of March Techcombank’s total assets reached 46.22 trillion VND (2.9 billion USD), doubling last year’s figure.
Singapore travel firm enters joint venture
Ho Chi Minh City-based travel agency T&T and Singapore-based JTB Pte. Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Japan ’s JTB group, have agreed to set up a travel joint venture.
The new company, JTB-TNT Co Ltd, will come into existence on May 1 and will provide inbound travel and other services specified in the licence it received last month.
The new joint venture would focus on the Japanese market where the JTB group was entrenched, said Nguyen Van Tan, president of the joint venture.
Vietnam to deal with energy challenge
Raising the efficiency in using energy is one of three major tasks set by the Vietnamese government in line with its orientation of national energy policy by 2020 with a vision towards 2050.
The statement was made Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai at a two-day seminar on energy policies held in Ho Chi Minh City on April 9-10.
The Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai said: “Vietnam is coping with various challenges, including the energy problem. The country will hardly develop sustainably if it cannot tackle these challenges.”
According to him, two other main tasks are how to meet the increasing demands of energy to serve the country’s socio-economic development, and to protect environment alongside with the energy production and utilisation.
Addressing the event, French Ambassador to Vietnam Herve Bolot agreed that energy saving and improvement of efficiency in energy utilisation are important issues for developing countries, including Vietnam.
He also said France is willing to share experiences in this field with Vietnam.
Discussions at the seminar focus on the energy utilisation and management in the world and Vietnam . It introduces France’s experiences in energy management and several Southeast Asian countries’ energy saving policies.
It also puts on table issues of housing, urban transport development, urban services management, recycled energy utilisation, as well as potential for Vietnam-France cooperation in energy.
The seminar is co-held by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the French Embassy, the French Development Agency and the French Agency for Energy and Environment Management.
Vietnam Expo kicks off, deals available
The 18th Vietnam International Trade Fair, Vietnam Expo, opened in Hanoi on April 9 with a large range of goods displayed by as many as 300 foreign companies and nearly 200 domestic firms.
Right on the opening day, the Heber-Biotec company from Cuba reached a deal worth 3 million USD with the Hanoi Pharmaceutical Company, while the Vietnam Petroleum Financial Company agreed on a financial cooperation pact with the Song Da Transport and Trade Joint Stock Company and the Viet Duc Song Da Investment Joint Stock Company.
Vice Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Thanh Bien said Vietnam Expo, held annually, is one of Vietnam’s key trade promotion activities, aiming to provide opportunities for local businesses to expand foreign outlets and reach long-term deals with partners inside and outside the country.
Rasciel Alvarez Correa, Director of the Vietnam Representative Office of the Quality Couriers International (QCI), which has been in Vietnam since 1994, said he found Vietnam Expo a reliable place to seek for investment deals with both Vietnamese and foreign businesses.
The QCI is running two affiliates providing consultancy for big construction projects in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City , including the trans-national Ho Chi Minh Highway and the Thu Thiem bridge.
Nguyen Huu Anh, Vice Director of the Hanoi-based Phong Chau Company, which has attended Vietnam Expo several times, said the event has helped his company find more customers and increase export earnings. Last year, the Phong Chau company raked in around 2 million USD from handicrafts exports.
The Vietnam Expo 2008 boasts 700 booths where a diversity of goods, ranging from machinery and equipments for light and heavy industries, home appliances, consumer goods, to IT solutions are on display.
Themed “Vietnam-Integration and Development”, the event will run through April 12.
HCM City to build 200 million USD tramcar route
The southern economic hub of Ho Chi Minh City will outlay 200 million USD to build a 12.5 km pneumatic tyred tramcar route through the city.
The municipal People’s Committee signed on April 9 a memorandum of understanding to carry out the project with the Hanoi Construction Corp. and a joint venture between Titanium Management ( Malaysia ) and Thanh Danh Construction and Trading Co. Ltd.
The project will cover construction of 23 stop stations and four overpasses. Fifteen tramcars, capable of carrying 238 passengers, supplied by the French group TRANSLOHR will be used on the route.
The project is scheduled to begin in July 2009 and become operational in January 2012.
Foreign investors show interest in stock market
Foreign investors bought close to 2.9 million out of 10.9 million shares and capital fund certificates put into transactions during the April 9 trading session.
Shares in energy, fertiliser, finance and banking, seafood and foodstuff companies were popular with foreign investors. Among those were Pha Lai Thermal Power (PPC), Phu My Nitrogenous Fertiliser (DPM), Saigon Securities Inc. (SSI), Vinamilk (VNM) and FPT Corp. (FPT).
As of April 9, the VN-Index at the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange (HoSE) has experienced increases for the 11 consecutive sessions. The day’s index stopped at 552.05 points, up 3.49 points or 0.6 percent against the previous session, with over 11 million shares traded, worth 544.6 billion VND.
The southern bourse witnessed 61 stocks rally for gains, 10 remain unchanged and 82 decline.
STB of Sacombank and PPC of Pha Lai Thermal Power Plant both enjoyed an increase of 700 VND per share to 40,400 VND and 40,700 VND respectively while DPM of Phu My Nitrogenous Fertiliser Plant rose 1,000 VND to 53,000 VND per share.
STB also led the market in terms of transaction volume with nearly 2 million shared being traded, followed by DPM with 911,220 shares and SSI with 858,950 shares.
In opposition to the southern bourse’s upward trend, the HaSTC-Index at the Hanoi Securities Trading Centre dropped 4.34 points or 2.2 percent to finish at 193.21 points. More than 3.6 million shares, worth over 172 billion VND, were traded.
Consumer electronics expo kicks off in Hanoi
Foreign giants and domestic companies specialising in information technology (IT), telecom and consumer electronics have gathered at the Vietnam Consumer Electronics Expo 2008 (VCE 2008), which opened in Hanoi on April 9.
Jointly organised by the International Data Group (IDG) and Hanoi ICT Association, the exhibition includes 200 stands from big brands such as Canon, Intel, Sony and Panasonic alongside local companies.
The 5,000 sq.m floor space of the expo is divided into four main areas, showcasing communication and network equipment, multimedia entertainment, computer and electronics, and software.
The four-day event expects to attract more than 150,000 visitors. It will also be attended by guest delegations from the ten countries participating in the ASEAN Electronics Forum and members of the Singapore Business Federation.
Int’l garment industry expo opens in HCM City
Close to 400 companies from 27 countries and territories worldwide are showcasing their products at an international textile and garment industry expo which opened in Ho Chi Minh City on April 9.
During the four-day event, leading garment equipment manufacturers from Europe and Asia will introduce various types of equipment and accessories to representatives of Vietnam’s garment industry.
In 2007, Vietnam earned 7.8 billion USD from garment exports, making it the world’s ninth largest garment exporter, said the Chairman of the Vietnam Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex), Le Quoc An.
The country ranked third among garment exporters to the US market, he added.
Vietnam is striving to export 9.5 billion USD worth of textile and garment products this year.