BUSINESS IN BRIEF 11/8

Sugar press mud fertiliser plant to be constructed in Tra Vinh

The Mekong Delta province of Tra Vinh has licensed Hudavil Tra Vinh fertiliser joint stock company to build a plant producing organic-microbial and organic-mineral fertilisers from sugar press mud.

Accordingly, the plant will be built at an estimated cost of 6 billion VND (264,000 USD) on an area of nearly 1.2 hectares in Xoai Thum village, Ngai Xuyen commune, Tra Cu district. 

The plant, which has a designed capacity of 7,000 tonnes of fertilisers per year, is expected to become operational later this year.

Organic-microbial and organic-mineral fertilisers are used for sugarcane and some other plants to improve soil fertility and prevent cultivation land degradation. 

Producing fertilisers from sugar press mud will also ease waste burden for Tra Vinh sugar processing plant in Luu Nghiep Anh commune. The plant uses more than 2,600 tonnes of sugarcane per day for sugar production.

Tra Vinh province has 5,500 hectares of sugarcane every year. Tra Cu district is largest material sugarcane planting area with more than 4,500 hectares.

Vietnam needs a revolution in export: experts

If there is no revolution in export, Vietnam might become a “lowland” for commodities from other countries to flow in, said experts at an export forum hosted by HCMC Trade and Investment Promotion Center on Tuesday.

Many countries in the world have strongly changed to optimize production and improve their commodities’ competitiveness. Domestic production protectionism has been showed through increasing technical barriers.

Meanwhile, Vietnam’s cargo export structure has yet to change, businesses have mainly done outwork and exported raw products.

According to statistics by the Ministry of Industry and Trade, export turnover was estimated to reach US$115.2 billion in the first seven months this year, a year on year increase of 18.7 percent. The turnover might reach $200 billion this year, up 13 percent over last year.

Import turnover for the entire year is estimated to hit $205 billion, raising 17 percent over the same period last year. With great efforts by the Government and ministries, the country’s export industry is expected to maintain growth momentum this year and next year.

However, export in particular and the economy in general has showed many congestions which should be cleared to develop.

Mr. Nguyen Phu Hoa, deputy head of the Export Import Department under the ministry, estimated that the global economy is witnessing unpredictable changes. Vietnam’s export and growth quality need be reconsidered. The country has sold any raw material it has and speeded up quantity. The first export wave has reached its peak according to this model.

Sharing the same view, other experts said that Vietnam needs a revolution to create the second wave to change products’ competitive ability, improve brand name value and national images. Vietnamese businesses’ supply ability is still very small in global value chains.

Businesses should carefully learn about international rules and focus on production and trading standards to persuade partners.

The Government should concentrate on well reforming business environment for enterprises to set their minds at rest and invest in Vietnam. Documents and decrees should be rebuilt toward trusting, supporting businesses and giving them specific instructions. Vice versa, the law and sanctions must be deterrent enough, clear and strict. That will boost economic development and exports in new phases.

Vietnamese stock market has over 1.8 million trading accounts



Transactions at SSI company in HCMC  (Photo: SGGP)




Vietnam Securities Depository (VSD) reported that the Vietnamese stock market had 1,807,799 trading accounts on July 31, comprising 1,799,847 accounts of individual investors and 7,952 of organizations.

At present, foreign investors have 20,767 trading accounts comprising 18,073 individuals and 2,694 of organizations.

According to VSD, foreign investors posted a net purchase of 37 million shares, equivalent to VND2,544 billion ($112 million) in July.

Their net purchase on HCMC Stock Exchange (HOSE) reached 63 million shares worth VND2,807.7 billion ($124 million), increasing 33 percent compared to the previous month’s value.

The foreign sector posted the second consecutive month of net sale on Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX) with 25.9 million shares worth VND263.6 billion ($12 million), up 3.6 times over the previous month.

Motorcycle import, consumption accelerates

Motorcycle consumption was in uptrend with consumption volume averaging 255,000 vehicles a month in the first half this year, up 15,000 over the same period last year, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Meantime, statistics from the General Department of Vietnam Customs show that motorcycle and part import turnover reached $210 million, a year on year increase of 14.3 percent.

Vietnam Motorcycle Manufacturers Association (VAMM) reported that its five members’ sales went up 6 percent to hit 1,527 million motorbikes of various types. That does not include export vehicles.

The five members include Honda Vietnam, Suzuki Vietnam, SYM Vietnam and Yamaha Motor Vietnam.

According to manufactures, underbones consumption has been in downward trend while scooters has been on the rise. In 2016, the ratio of sold scooters accounted for 45 percent.

VAMM forecast that Vietnam’s motorcycle market will be stable in the upcoming time with a strong development of scooter lines. Therefore, distributors will increase import of products in this segment.

East-West economic corridor fair to open in Da Nang

Some 200 enterprises will participate in the 2017 International East-West Economic Corridor (EWEC) Trade and Tourism Fair to be held on August 11 to 16 at 29/3 Square on 2/9 Street in the central city of Da Nang by the Da Nang People’s Committee, the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

From 250 to 300 booths will set up at the fair, showcasing products and services in fields such as electricity, electronics, information technology, furniture, interior décor, handicrafts, hotels, restaurants, food, fashion, garments, footwear, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics, among others.

The fair will feature the participation of not only enterprises from 15 nearby cities and provinces in Vietnam but also international businesses and organizations from Laos, Cambodia, Thailand, Hungary, and Indonesia, etc.

A workshop on cooperation and the development of services on the EWEC and a conference on supply and demand links will also be held, providing opportunities for businesses, manufacturers, and distributors to meet, discuss, connect, and cooperate.

The International EWEC Trade and Tourism Fair was first held in 2007 and has been held annually since 2012. It aims to assist EWEC countries in promoting their economic, trade, investment, and tourism potential and also foster collaboration.

The EWEC is an economic development program initiated to promote the development and integration of four Southeast Asian countries: Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam. The concept was agreed upon in 1998 at the Ministerial Conference of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), organized in Manila, the Philippines. The corridor became operational on December 12, 2006.

It was created based on a road stretching 1,450 km across Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and Vietnam, from Mawlamyine in Myanmar to Da Nang in Vietnam, and is one of the key economic corridors in the GMS, which aims at deepening integration and trade and investment links, and reducing poverty in the region.

Vietnam M&A Forum 2017 underway

Vietnam M&A Forum 2017 has opened this afternoon in Ho Chi Minh City, promising lively discussions on the next breakthrough opportunities. 

Le Trong Minh, editor-in-chief of VIR and head of the Organising Board, expressed his hope that the forum would contribute to the development of the Vietnamese M&A market, helping restructuring and increase the competitiveness of businesses in Vietnam.

The forum this year is now taking place at GEM Centre, District 1, Ho Chi Minh City. Co-organised annually by VIR and AVM Vietnam under the auspices of the Ministry of Planning and Investment,  Vietnam M&A Forum has been a major event in the M&A market in the past nine years.

The theme of this year’s edition is Seeking a big push, as new challenges in 2017 may prevent the Vietnamese M&A market from reaching the $5-billion mark in deal value. A strong initiative is necessary to boost the quantity and quality of M&A deals.

The forum this year has attracted 20 speakers and 500 senior leaders of government agencies, investment funds, and leading corporates from Vietnam and overseas.  

In his opening speech, Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung noted that the Ministry leaders highly appreciate the contribution that Vietnam M&A 2017 has made in the last nine years. This is particularly timely, as more state-owned enterprises become equitised and state divestments are getting stronger. 

Minister Dung said that the forum has promoted foreign investment in Vietnam through M&A, connected investment partners in and outside of the country, as well as discussing and producing recommendations for state management agencies to improve the legal framework for M&A, promoting Vietnam’s economic growth and international integration.

“I highly appreciate the theme of Vietnam M&A Forum 2017, which is “Seeking a big push.” It calls attention to a breakthrough in policies and foreign capital flows, as well as identifying fields with potential and room for M&A activities,” said Minister Dung.

“We believe that with the participation of top-level state management officials, industry experts, and corporate leaders, the 9th Vietnam M&A Forum will collect and discuss the necessary information to push forward the Vietnamese M&A market,” said Minh.

At the event this afternoon, speakers and representatives from various sectors will discuss the most pressing issues of M&A via three sessions.

In the first session, themed “Identifying breakthrough sectors,” state management officials from the National Assembly’s Finance and Budget Committee, the Ministry of Planning and Investment, Ministry of Finance, State Securities Commission, and industry experts will analyse and evaluate the current M&A trends in Vietnam, discuss solutions to achieve a breakthrough, and identify emerging sectors for M&A transactions.

The next session, titled “M&A Opportunities from the Perspective of International Investors,” consists of in-depth analysis of specific M&A opportunities and forecasts coming foreign capital inflows.

The speakers will also identify fields of special interest to foreign investors, as well as providing recommendations to facilitate a better inflow of foreign capital.

For the final session themed “Lessons from Big Deals,” top CEOs of Vietnamese and foreign businesses will share their experience through outstanding deals in 2016-2017 from the perspective of insiders and individual experts.

The panelists will also share lessons in finding and choosing the right partner, contract negotiations, the role of advisory firms in M&A deals, issues in valuation and financing, as well as post-M&A issues, such as staff and business management.

Cuttlefish, squid, octopus exports on the rise

Exports of cuttlefish, squid and octopus rose by 50% to US$269 million in the first half of this year, despite a reducing number of export markets, according to latest statistics from Vietnam Customs.

Cuttlefish, squid and octopus products have been shipped to 54 countries, less in number than last year. However, the total export value still increased as most export markets saw a growth.

Nine countries, namely the Republic of Korea, Japan, the EU, ASEAN, China, Israel, Taiwan, the US and Australia remain top importers of Vietnam cuttlefish and octopus. They made up 99% of the total export value in the first half of this year.

Exports to these markets saw a growth compared to the previous times. For instance, exports to the ROK jumped by 40.5% to US$95 million, keeping the country the largest importer of Vietnam cuttlefish and octopus.

Japan came second with US$63 million, up 39.4%, followed by the EU with US$51.5 million, up 101.6% and ASEAN with US$30 million, up 30%.

The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Processors forecast that cuttlefish and octopus exports will continue to rise.

Action urged to tackle fake, low-quality fertilisers     

Management over the fertiliser market must be enhanced to tackle fake, low-quality products which cause estimated losses of about US$2.5 billion each year for a country with more than 70 per cent of its population working in the farming sector, experts said at an online conference on Wednesday.

Nguyen Hac Thuy, Deputy President of the Viet Nam Fertiliser Association, said at the conference held by the Dien Dan Doanh Nghiep (Business Forum) online newspaper that fake and low-quality fertilisers were commonly found and were harming Viet Nam’s agricultural production.

Violations were found to have increased from 4,000 in 2015 to 5,000 cases in 2016 while many cases remained unhandled, Thuy said, adding that stronger deterrents must be used instead of just administrative punishments.

Nghiem Quang Tuan from the Department of Plant Protection under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said that fake fertilisers would decrease productivity of plants, impoverish land and cause unhealthy competition.

“Producers and farmers both hope that fake fertilisers will be wiped out soon,” Vu Xuan Hong, deputy director Lam Thao Fertilisers and Chemicals Joint Stock Company said.

Hong said that it was urgent to devise standards for fertiliser quality to verify which products were fake or poor quality, adding that many producers sold products without the contents listed on the packaging.

Hong also proposed market watch to be enhanced together with strong punishment measures.

Nguyen Hong Phong, general director of Tien Nong Agriculture Industry Joint Stock Company, said that it was difficult for buyers to differentiate between fake and genuine products because counterfeiting was very sophisticated and farmers prefer cheaper products.

Phong proposed the Ministry of Planning and Investment boost prerequisites for producing fertilisers, adding that fertiliser producers should have minimum charter capital of VND10 billion (US$438,500).

Experts said that State management agencies must work with producers to tackle fake and poor-quality products, while measures should be taken to help farmers differentiate between genuine and fake products and support them to use fertilisers in a safe way. 

New temporary import for re-export regulations next month     

The Ministry of Industry and Trade has issued a new circular on temporary import for re-export and temporary export for re-import, which will take effect from September 11.

Under Circular 11/2017/TT-BCT, temporary import and re-export must be conducted at international and major border gates.

Re-exporting through small border gates or border crossings is only allowed at border economic zones or at certain gates with adequate control.

Border provinces must work with the Ministry of Industry and Trade on principles of selecting enterprises eligible for re-exporting through small border gates and border crossings and announce their names.

Goods for temporary import would be under the supervision of customs until re-exported.

The ministry noted that containers of temporary import goods should not be divided into smaller parts for transportation from temporary import gates to the re-export gates.

The circular is applicable for Vietnamese traders.

Hà Nội to hold Promotion Month in November

The capital city will host Hà Nội Promotion Month in November, which will see the participation of 300 to 500 enterprises and wide-scale discounts at 1,000 sale locations.

The month-long sales promotion programme has been running for nine years now, and is attracting more and more interest from consumers, said Trần Thị Phương Lan, deputy director of the Hà Nội Department of Industry and Trade, the event organiser.

This year’s event will witness the participation of not only retail businesses but also businesses from the food, banking, healthcare and education sectors, she said.

Lan described the event as an opportunity for all enterprises to boost production, enhance competitiveness and advertise their products and brands among local consumers as well as domestic and foreign tourists.

The programme is scheduled to kick off on November 3. The tourism promotion festival will be held from November 3 to 5; the Golden promotion days will be November 18 and 19; a golden promotion fair will run from November 24 to 28; and an online promotion week will be organised from November 20 to 26.

The Promotion Month is an annual event in Hà Nội, aimed at boosting consumption, especially for made-in-Vietnam goods, and helping firms attract and connect with customers.

Around 500 enterprises participated in last year’s event, providing various quality products of certified origins, from electronics and home appliances to clothes, at 1,000 sale locations across the city.

Transport Ministry wants to cut BOT road tolls at more stations

Having lowered BOT road tolls at 35 stations in the country, the Ministry of Transport now looks at other stations.

The ministry on Monday issued a statement saying that it is reviewing other BOT road toll stations and will force them to cut toll fees to the levels of the 35 stations.

In particular, tolls for vehicles in group four which consists of trucks of 10-18 tons or those transporting 20-foot containers have been reduced from VND140,000 to VND120,000 (US$5.27) per vehicle.

Meanwhile, tolls for vehicles in group five which comprises trucks weighing over 18 tons or carrying 40-foot containers have been lowered from VND200,000 to VND180,000 per vehicle.

There are 27 toll stations that are not required to revise down their tolls as they are already lower than the average levels. But 11 others have not adjusted down their fees given lower-than-expected traffic, according to the ministry.

The Ministry of Transport has permitted 51 BOT road toll stations to come into operation. But the ministry has signed annex contracts with 18 of them to shorten their tolling durations and with five others to lengthen their fee collection periods to help them offset lower-than-expected traffic.

As of July 31, 2017, the ministry had adjusted down tolls at five tollgates that have triggered protests among frustrated road users. The Directorate for Roads of Vietnam has worked with investors and local governments to come up with a plan to reduce tolls at four tollgates and submit it to the Ministry of Transport for approval.

The ministry said it had instructed relevant agencies to amend Circular 35/2016/TT-BGTVT providing maximum road tolls to reflect the reality of BOT road projects.

The ministry has also assigned the project management units to instruct investors who have not signed annex contracts on toll reduction to give updates on traffic through their toll stations to adjust financing plans and reduce fees.

The ministry said toll reductions would not affect the financial viability of BOT road projects and that tolls at all stations on the same route would be made the same.

Tien Giang to build hi-tech agriculture park

Tien Giang Province will invest VND1.2 trillion to develop a 197-hectare hi-tech agriculture park, according to a news report on the Government website.

In phase one from 2017 to 2020, the park will cover 44 hectares and the province will construct necessary infrastructure and call for hi-tech agriculture investors. The total investment in the first phase is about VND280 billion, with VND21 billion coming from the State budget.

In phase two (2021-2030), Tien Giang will expand the park by 153 hectares with an investment of VND924 billion. The money will be used to finalize infrastructure, build an administrative center, research facility, laboratory and training center.

Tien Giang’s industrial park authority will be in charge of phase one while the province will establish an authority to manage the hi-tech agriculture park in the second phase. The province is now focusing on developing basic infrastructure, including a road, a power transmission line and other supporting facilities.

The Mekong Delta province is preparing to call for hi-tech agriculture firms to set up shop in the park.

Ministry suggests building property tax law

The Ministry of Finance has proposed the Government build a property tax law in a bid to generate a new revenue stream for the State budget.

According to the Vietnam News Agency, a Finance Ministry report says land use tax revenue accounts for a mere 0.03% of gross domestic product (GDP), and around 0.15% of total State budget revenue.

Meanwhile, according to the ministry, property tax in other countries is a vital revenue stream for their budgets.

Property tax revenue makes up about 2% of GDP in OECD (the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries, with Canada taking the lead with 4%, followed by the United States with 3%. The property tax is regarded as their direct tax revenue source, as it is levied on specific assets, especially housing and land.

Besides, asset tax reform in some countries like Canada, Australia and Malaysia is mainly intended to tax high-value assets and add property tax payers.

The future prospect for the domestic real estate market is bright as a host of new legal documents such as the Housing Law and the amended Law on Real Estate Business will come into force, the Vietnam News Agency quoted a source from the ministry as saying.

Especially, average incomes of Vietnamese citizens soared from US$1,400 in 2013 to US$2,200 in 2016 per capita. The figure is forecast to reach US$3,400 by 2020.

According to the source, real estate investment will be more active in the coming years. Therefore, it is necessary to introduce a property tax law to curb speculation and prevent a wasteful use of real estate while creating a new source of revenue for the State budget.

No more capital requirement for debt collection service providers

Debt collection service providers will not be bound by the current requirements like legal capital or professionalism of managers when a relevant Government decree issued in 2007 is scrapped.

Instead, providers will have to meet social order and security requirements because this is one of 28 conditional business sectors provided by the Government’s Decree 96/2016/ND-CP.

When  Decree 104/2007/ND-CP on debt collection service is abolished is unknown. The Ministry of Finance proposed the Government not issue any new legal document to replace this decree although the ministry had planned for a revised version.

According to information posted on the ministry’s website, the reason for its proposal is due to Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh’s earlier order to stop building a substitution decree.

The ministry said having no replacement for Decree 104 would not affect the management of debt collection service, leave no loopholes that threaten social security and order, life, health and human dignity, and have no influence on the rights and responsibilities of the parties concerned.

Firstly, the operating principle of debt collection is based on an authorization contract signed by the lender or debtor with the service provider. The authorization contract is provided in the 2015 Civil Code.

Secondly, as stipulated in Decree 104, debt collection service providers must have at least VND2 billion in legal capital, but it runs counter to the 2014 Enterprise Law since there is no such requirement except for some particular businesses like banking or securities.

Moreover, stipulations on educational and professional requirements (college diploma or higher in economics, management, law and security) for managers and workers as cited in Decree 104 are unnecessary. The education and professionalism of managers and workers only benefit their own business and have no influence on other firms or the economy.

More importantly, the requirements for managers’ and workers’ background checks and social security guarantees are stipulated in Decree 96/2016 and under the direct management of the Ministry of Public Security.

The Ministry of Finance has worked on a replacement of Decree 104, with many drafts put out to get public feedback. In the latest draft, the ministry proposed abolishing some stipulations on legal capital and requirements for managers and workers, in line with the 2014 Enterprise Law.

However, enterprises engaging in debt collection service must get a business registration certificate with declaration of business services including debt collection at the National Business Registration Portal.

Besides, debt collection service providers must get a certificate on social security and order as the Government’s regulations on conditional businesses. The Ministry of Finance also proposed the Ministry of Public Security to be in charge of debt collection service management.

Pork traceability violations to face steep fines

Vice chairman of HCMC Tran Vinh Tuyen said on August 8 the city is pushing for the implementation of a program to make sure all pork on sale has clear origin, so those committing violations will face heavy fines.

Despite difficulties, Tuyen said the city is firm in the pork origin tracking program which is aimed at providing consumers with clean and safe meat, and forcing pig farmers to kick the habit of using banned substances in the farming process.

The HCMC Department of Industry and Trade has proposed the Food Safety Management Board conduct quick tests of pork samples to determine whether they contain microorganisms and banned substances. And heavy fines should be slapped on violations,  such as selling pork without traceability tags.

In addition to calling for canteens at hospitals, schools and industrial parks to use pork with clear origin, the Food Safety Management Board should conduct regular checks and fine those using pork without information about origin.

According to data from the HCMC Department of Industry and Trade, 9,789 pigs were brought into the city from other parts of the country on August 8, with 8,289 of them through the city’s two wholesale markets, Binh Dien and Hoc Mon.  There are 7,646 pigs wearing traceability tags from farms.

Safeguard duty on fertilizer imports may cause rice production costs to surge

The upcoming imposition of a temporary safeguard duty on DAP and MAP fertilizer imports into Vietnam will send fertilizer prices rising, thus leading to production costs of rice and other crops to inch up.

Vu Duy Hai, general director of Vinacam JSC, a fertilizer producer, importer and trader in Vietnam, said Decision 3044 of the Ministry of Industry and Trade will send DAP and MAP fertilizer imports down but trigger an import price spike. Thus, selling prices of these products will soar in the coming time.

Fertilizer trading firms like Vinacam can benefit but farmers may suffer, according to a statement sent on May 24 to the ministry by Vinacam. However, the ministry has reason to impose a temporary safeguard duty on DAP and MAP fertilizers which are used for various crops or for NPK fertilizer production.

Binh Dien Fertilizer JSC has sold brown and green DAP fertilizers imported from China at VND8,800 and VND9,200 a kilo respectively since August 2, according to the company’s website.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade said the temporary safeguard measure will be applied for a maximum of 200 days from August 19 to March 6 next year or when the ministry decides an official safeguard measure.

Thus, the decision will be applied for nearly seven months until the end of the 2017-2018 winter-spring rice crop. Costs to grow rice are forecast to surge in both autumn-winter and winter-spring crops.

At present, rice production costs are stipulated in a circular jointly issued by the Ministries of Finance and Agriculture and Rural Development. Farmers may suffer losses if rice prices get higher in the coming time.

Merchants to kick off Hanoi promotion month in November

Up to 500 retailers and businesses will attend the Hanoi Sales Promotion Month 2017 in November, allowing consumers access to a wide range of discounted products at about 1,000 locations.

At a conference on the event, Vice Director of the municipal Department of Industry and Trade Tran Thi Phuong Lan said it will lure both retailers and enterprises in food, banking, healthcare and education.

Various promotional events will be held by the industry and trade department during the month. As part of the activities, a three-day tourism promotion festival will be held in the Octagonal House at the city’s Ly Thai To Park. Themed “Hanoi-a cultural destination”, the event aims to promote tours with discounts in the city in November.

Meanwhile, the traditional “Golden Days” will be observed in 50 locations across the city where discounts from 20 percent-50 percent will be available.

Also, the Online Golden Week will offer products and services with discounts of up to 50 percent, held following the Golden Days event.

Four “Startup with businesses” zones, a highlight of the Hanoi promotion month, will connect enterprises and students to enhance the startup movement in the city. Final-year students in economics and marketing will develop sales initiatives at the zones.

The promotion month finishes with a golden promotional exhibition, featuring 250 booths at Quan Ngua Sport Palace with prices cut up to 50 percent.

Two multi-level marketing companies cease operations

Two multi-level marketing (MLM) businesses - the Kangzen-Kenko Vietnam Co. and the Tupperware Vietnam Co. - ended their sales activities on August 8, according to an official announcement from the Vietnam Competition Authority (VCA) at the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT).

Both were contacted by VET but no response has been forthcoming.

The VCA had previously announced the termination of the MLM sales activities conducted by Kangzen-Kenko and Tupperware Vietnam. It has not yet received any application from an MLM sales participant requesting that Kangzen-Kenko Vietnam and Tupperware Vietnam resolve any legal interests arising from MLM sales activities, as prescribed.

Within 30 days from August 8, VCA uploaded this information and participants in the MLM activities of both companies were able to inform VCA if either company had not fulfilled their management obligations in MLM sales activities.

If no notice was received from any MLM sales participant within this period, Kangzen-Kenko Vietnam and Tupperware Vietnam will be deemed to have been completed their obligations to participants.

The number of MLM enterprises in Vietnam had fallen sharply by the end of 2016 and early 2017, according to a VCA report. As at the end of March, numbers were down 45 per cent compared to 2015. In which, 15 enterprises had their certification withdrawn, 12 were proactively terminated, and three were suspended.

Vietcombank loan to fund building of cassava processing plant

Vietcombank has signed a VND177 billion ($7.78 million) credit agreement with the Fococev Tay Nguyen Co. for the construction of a cassava starch processing plant in Kon Ray district in the central highlands province of Kon Tum. 

The plant will have a capacity of 200 tons per day with investment capital totaling VND224 billion ($9.85 million), of which the Vietcombank loan accounts for 79 per cent.

Addressing the signing ceremony, Mr. Dao Quy Trung, CEO of Fococev Vietnam and Chairman of Fococev Tay Nguyen, expressed his appreciation of the cooperation between the company and Vietcombank over recent years and affirmed that the bank will be a strategic partner in the company’s upcoming projects.

Exports of cassava and cassava-based products fell significantly last year, according to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD).

At 2.6 million tons worth $700 million, exports were down 14.5 per cent year-on-year in volume and 22.5 per cent in value, primarily due to declining demand, particularly in China.

China accounted for nearly 86 per cent of total exports, but according to the General Department of Vietnam Customs, value was down 32 per cent year-on-year.

Malaysia bought 15.1 per cent more but shipments to most other markets, such as South Korea, Japan, and the Philippines, were down.

According to MARD, cassava production has increased sharply over the last 20 years.

The country currently has some 551,000 ha of cassava fields, mainly in the central, central highlands, southern and northern mountainous regions, with the crop now being an important source of income for small farmers.

Cassava yields and production in several provinces have more than doubled thanks to the planting of new high-yield varieties and the adoption of more sustainable production practices.

Many cassava processing factories have invested in upgrading their technologies and installing wastewater treatment systems, reducing pollution.

Starch produced from the cassava root is mainly used as food but is also a raw material for many industries, including pharmaceuticals.

Vietnam was one of the world’s largest cassava exporters in 2015, earning $1.32 billion from exports, a year-on-year increase of 15.8 per cent.

Skechers shoes arrive in Vietnam

Skechers shoes are now available in Vietnam, with the Viet Tien Garment Joint Stock Corporation (VTEC) agreeing to a franchise arrangement with a US partner.

VTEC began selling Skechers shoes at one of its Ho Chi Minh City stores on August 8.

Deputy Director of VTEC, Mr. Phan Van Kiet, said that Skechers is a famous shoe brand and are suitable with VTEC’s clothing.

“This is a step in our strategy of expanding the brand and diversifying product categories to quickly reach annual growth of more than 20 per cent,” he said.

In order to obtain the franchise, Sketchers required VTEC prove its financial capacity and submit a business plan for the next three years.

The deal is the first step in VTEC’s cooperation with international brands into the future, which are expected to contribute a large proportion of total annual sales.

Skechers first appeared in 1992 in Manhattan Beach, California. It has a wide variety of footwear collections, suitable for all ages and all activities. After more than 20 years of development, it has a global distribution network in more than 120 countries and territories as well as retail outlets in major cities around the world.

VTEC was established in 1976 and is a production and trading company belonging to VINATEX, specializing in garment manufacturing, the trade of equipment, materials and accessories for garment industry, and household electrical appliances, and undertakes all services for receiving imported and exported commodities.

Firms with green production earn more benefits: workshop

Businesses with green production processes and products that are safe and environmentally friendly perform better, heard a workshop held in Ho Chi Minh City on August 9.

The workshop, held by the HCM City Food and Foodstuff Association and the city’s Investment and Trade Promotion Centre, highlighted green products as the way of the future.

A Nielsen Vietnam survey shows that about 80 percent of consumers in Vietnam are willing to pay more for products made of environmentally friendly materials. About the same percentage are willing to pay more for goods without ingredients they don’t want.

Green consumption and production towards sustainable development is a hot topic in many countries, including Vietnam. Environmentally friendly products are considered effective investments as they both benefit consumers’ health and minimise negative impacts on the environment, participants at the event heard.

Food processing is one of the four key industries HCM City is focusing on developing.

Director of the municipal Department of Industry and Trade Pham Thanh Kien said in recent years, the city has helped food processing companies apply new and advanced technologies to create high-quality products.

Vu Thi Quyen, Deputy Director of HCM City’s Tropical Agricultural Research and Consultancy Centre, said policies for green agriculture are needed.

She added another important factor is consistent quality of all steps, from production to consumption, especially in product origin control.

It is urgent to form concentrated material supplying areas and forge connectivity from production to consumption of agricultural products that engages farmers, scientists and businesses. This will help build a sustainable farming chain for each livestock and plant variety through the application of standards throughout the chain, she said.

Vice Chairman of the HCM City Food and Foodstuff Association Nguyen Phuc Khoa said green production will help enterprises develop sustainably, raise their prestige among consumers, protect the environment and promote sustainable growth of the national economy.

However, the number of food companies using green production technologies remains modest due to obstacles in machinery, manufacturing process and material supplies, he admitted.

The Government has approved a plan on agricultural restructuring towards higher added value and sustainable development, Khoa noted, adding that more solutions are needed to help producers practice environmentally friendly agriculture such as requiring greenhouse gas emissions permits, assisting the research and application of green technologies and imposing environmental protection taxes and fees.

Consumers’ awareness should also be improved through labels, he said.

Danang M&As help overcome delays

Mergers and acquisitions are increasingly being seen as ways for property projects in the central city of Danang to overcome long delays.

According to Dam Quang Tuan, board chairman of Duc Manh 579, a real estate investor in Danang, although many solutions were given by the government and local authorities, such as interest rate reductions and the state support packages, many projects still remain postponed.

“There are many reasons for this standstill,” Tuan said. “First, the developers of those projects don’t have enough capacity. Second, many projects with mortgages from banks can’t be sold and the developers lack the capital to finish their projects.”

According to Tuan, mergers and acquisitions (M&As)  are a feasible way for both sellers and new investors who are seeking opportunities in the city’s real estate market.

M&A in the real estate sector in Danang has become increasingly popular. Novaland Group recently acquired a part of the Da Phuoc Urban Area project from its original South Korean backers Daewon Cantavil. The project will begin with roughly 2,700 townhouses and more than 1,000 villas of all sizes and types.

It will be a new residential area, including hotels, villas, landed houses, schools, a shopping centre, and a conference hall. It is expected to be completed by 2023.

Gaw Capital Partners has acquired the Hyatt Regency, and TBC Group acquired the Montgomerie Links golf course, both from Indochina Land. BRG Group acquired an 18-hole golf course from VinaCapital, and VinaCapital also transferred its Marina complex to Quoc Cuong Gia Lai JCSC. In another deal, Alphanam acquired the Golden Square project from Dong A Real Estate JSC.

According to Nguyen Phi, a consultant from Phat Loc Land, the new Law on Investment which creates a more transparent legal framework for M&A activities makes this method an excellent choice for investors whose projects have been postponed.

“M&A transactions have paved the way for long-delayed projects such as Da Phuoc Urban Area, Golden Square, and Danang Centre, to be finished and put into operation,” Phi said.

According to the latest report from Savills Vietnam, Danang offers investors well-developed and completed infrastructure, as well as good urban planning. The northwest coastal area embraces the natural landscape to develop eco-tourism. Buyers from Hanoi and the central provinces, especially Quang Ngai, Ha Tinh, and Quang Binh, are rushing to Danang in search of second homes and investments.

Danang has a total of more than 50 coastal property projects. Of these, eight projects were granted land leases while 16 others were postponed.

On Danang’s coastline, a range of projects are proceeding nicely. Among them are Cocobay, Ariyana Beach Resort & Suites Danang, Vinpearl Danang, Anh Duong Wyndham Solei Danang, Hoa Binh Green Danang, among many others.

Firms with green production earn more benefits: workshop

Businesses with green production processes and products that are safe and environmentally friendly perform better, heard a workshop held in Ho Chi Minh City on August 9.

The workshop, held by the HCM City Food and Foodstuff Association and the city’s Investment and Trade Promotion Centre, highlighted green products as the way of the future.

A Nielsen Vietnam survey shows that about 80 percent of consumers in Vietnam are willing to pay more for products made of environmentally friendly materials. About the same percentage are willing to pay more for goods without ingredients they don’t want.

Green consumption and production towards sustainable development is a hot topic in many countries, including Vietnam. Environmentally friendly products are considered effective investments as they both benefit consumers’ health and minimise negative impacts on the environment, participants at the event heard.

Food processing is one of the four key industries HCM City is focusing on developing.

Director of the municipal Department of Industry and Trade Pham Thanh Kien said in recent years, the city has helped food processing companies apply new and advanced technologies to create high-quality products.

Vu Thi Quyen, Deputy Director of HCM City’s Tropical Agricultural Research and Consultancy Centre, said policies for green agriculture are needed.

She added another important factor is consistent quality of all steps, from production to consumption, especially in product origin control.

It is urgent to form concentrated material supplying areas and forge connectivity from production to consumption of agricultural products that engages farmers, scientists and businesses. This will help build a sustainable farming chain for each livestock and plant variety through the application of standards throughout the chain, she said.

Vice Chairman of the HCM City Food and Foodstuff Association Nguyen Phuc Khoa said green production will help enterprises develop sustainably, raise their prestige among consumers, protect the environment and promote sustainable growth of the national economy.

However, the number of food companies using green production technologies remains modest due to obstacles in machinery, manufacturing process and material supplies, he admitted.

The Government has approved a plan on agricultural restructuring towards higher added value and sustainable development, Khoa noted, adding that more solutions are needed to help producers practice environmentally friendly agriculture such as requiring greenhouse gas emissions permits, assisting the research and application of green technologies and imposing environmental protection taxes and fees.

Consumers’ awareness should also be improved through labels, he said.

Khanh Hoa Sanest Beverage Co to launch IPO     

The Khanh Hoa Sanest Beverage Company will make its first public offering (IPO) of nearly eight million shares at the initial price of VND23,000 (US$1) on September 11, according to the HCM Stock Exchange.

If the IPO succeeds, the company’s charter capital will be VND330 billion.

The company specialises in the production of processed milk and dairy products; non-alcoholic beverages and mineral water, along with selling retail and wholesale beverages and food products.

The company is among five subsidiaries of the Khanh Hoa Salangane Nests Company, with initial charter capital of VND220 billion on the launch day of January 28, 2016.

The company last year posted revenue of VND535 billion, accounting for 62 per cent of Khanh Hoa Salangane Nests Company’s total revenue.

Besides exporting products to the United States, mainland China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Khanh Hoa Salangane Nests Company has also set up branches in other ASEAN countries. 

Higher credit growth could increase listed banks’ profits     

The profits of the seven listed banks could rise 32.16 per cent against the beginning of 2017, if this year’s credit growth target is raised to 20 per cent.

These estimates have been made by HCM City Securities Company’s (HSC). The seven listed banks, which include Vietcombank, Vietinbank, BIDV, ACB, Military Bank, Sacombank and SHB, have earned VND18 trillion in pre-tax profit in the first six months of the year, up 22.7 per cent year on year, HSC stated.

At a Government meeting last week, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc asked the State Bank of Viet Nam to consider raising the credit growth limit for this year to at least 20 per cent instead of the 18 per cent as per the previous plan, so as to support the country’s economic growth target of 6.7 per cent.

If the credit growth limit stays at 17.2 per cent as planned at the start of 2017, HSC forecasts that the seven banks will collectively earn VND36.2 trillion in pre-tax profit for the whole year, recording 18 per cent growth.

If credit growth is loosened to 20 per cent and other factors remain constant, the pre-tax profit of these banks could be 12 per cent higher, or around VND40.54 trillion, up 32.16 per cent from the beginning of the year. This assumption is based on the maintenance of current variables, HSC said.

In the first half of 2017, credit growth reached 9.06 per cent, the highest level in the past six years.

According to HSC, because of low inflation pressure, it is safe to boost credit growth a little more. At present, there are not many macro risks associated with increasing credit growth as in the first six months, the CPI rose only by 2.52 per cent year on year, while the exchange rate has stabilised after rising 1.2 per cent in the beginning of 2017, it said.

Action urged to tackle fake, low-quality fertilisers     

Management over the fertiliser market must be enhanced to tackle fake, low-quality products which cause estimated losses of about US$2.5 billion each year for a country with more than 70 per cent of its population working in the farming sector, experts said at an online conference on Wednesday.

Nguyen Hac Thuy, Deputy President of the Viet Nam Fertiliser Association, said at the conference held by the Dien Dan Doanh Nghiep (Business Forum) online newspaper that fake and low-quality fertilisers were commonly found and were harming Viet Nam’s agricultural production.

Violations were found to have increased from 4,000 in 2015 to 5,000 cases in 2016 while many cases remained unhandled, Thuy said, adding that stronger deterrents must be used instead of just administrative punishments.

Nghiem Quang Tuan from the Department of Plant Protection under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development said that fake fertilisers would decrease productivity of plants, impoverish land and cause unhealthy competition.

“Producers and farmers both hope that fake fertilisers will be wiped out soon,” Vu Xuan Hong, deputy director Lam Thao Fertilisers and Chemicals Joint Stock Company said.

Hong said that it was urgent to devise standards for fertiliser quality to verify which products were fake or poor quality, adding that many producers sold products without the contents listed on the packaging.

Hong also proposed market watch to be enhanced together with strong punishment measures.

Nguyen Hong Phong, general director of Tien Nong Agriculture Industry Joint Stock Company, said that it was difficult for buyers to differentiate between fake and genuine products because counterfeiting was very sophisticated and farmers prefer cheaper products.

Phong proposed the Ministry of Planning and Investment boost prerequisites for producing fertilisers, adding that fertiliser producers should have minimum charter capital of VND10 billion (US$438,500).

Experts said that State management agencies must work with producers to tackle fake and poor-quality products, while measures should be taken to help farmers differentiate between genuine and fake products and support them to use fertilisers in a safe way. 

Hokkaido firms promote trading in HCMC     

Eighty Japanese businesses, mostly from Japan’s Hokkaido Province, introduced their food items and services at a trade promotion programme held in HCM City on Tuesday.

To match Japanese and Vietnamese businesses in food and beverages, seafood and technology, the programme showcased products such as beef, noodles, seafood, rice, wine and beer.

Nanatsuboshi rice, used to make sushi and rice balls, has ranked first in a contest to evaluate Japanese rice flavour for six consecutive years.

At the event, Kadou Foods Ltd Co presented its Hakodate Yukinko cake products made from the rare sweet potato of Hokkaido and Hakodate beef milk.

Governor of Hokkaido Takahashi Harumi said that Viet Nam was a promising market for Japanese food products.

More than 1,000 restaurants in the country serve Japanese cuisine, while HCM City has about 660 Japanese restaurants, twice as many as there were three years ago, according to the Consulate General of Japan in HCM City. 

VNA/VNS/VOV/SGT/SGGP/TT/TN/Dantri/VNEVET

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