Wood exports continue expanding in first months of 2018

Banks cut short-term interest amid good liquidity, TPBank earns US$97mn by issuing private shares, DATC targets highest debt settlement since 2015, FPT, Điện Quang to develop smart electrical equipment

An upturn has been seen in exports of wood and wooden products, with export value in the first five months of 2018 reaching 3.3 billion USD, up 8.2 percent from the same period last year.

The top four markets were the US, China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (RoK), together accounting for 78.1 percent of total export revenue. Strong growth was seen in the RoK and the US markets, with 45.3 percent and 9.7 percent respectively.

In the first four months of 2018, Vietnam earned 1.1 billion USD from exporting wood and wooden products to the US, 367.3 million USD from China, 350.7 million USD from Japan and 288.8 million USD from the RoK.

However, Nguyen Quoc Khanh, President of the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of Ho Chi Minh City, warned that the US, the largest market for Vietnamese wood and wooden products, has prioritised the domestic wood sector by reducing corporate income tax from 35 percent to 25 percent. He advised Vietnamese firms to supply different products from those produced en masse in the US.

Global demand for wooden furniture is rising, while producing wooden products is a strength of Vietnam.

Statistics from Canada showed that imports of wooden furniture of Canada in the first months of 2018 rose sharply, mostly from China, the US and Vietnam. Highest growth was seen in imports from Vietnam, accounting for 12.6 percent of total import revenue of the product.

Meanwhile, Japan’s imports of wooden furniture dropped in both volume and value. But Japan reduced imports from China and bought more products from Vietnam, resulting in an increase of 0.8 percentage point in Vietnam’s market share in Japan. This shows that Vietnamese wooden furniture has met regulations in the Japanese market.

Japan issued a Clean Wood Act in May 2017 to ensure the origins of wooden products sold in the country. This requires Vietnamese firms to ensure the legal and sustainable wood materials for products exported to Japan.

A study by Technavio, a market research firm with global coverage, showed office wooden furniture  exports will expand 3.71 percent in 2017-2021 due to rising demand for high-end, assembled and environmentally friendly products.

In this context, Vietnamese firms should improve the design and quality of their products to match market trends and increase export revenue.

Khanh said that the panorama of the sector in 2018 and following years is bright, adding that increasing global market share will be easier for Vietnam as major producers are switching their focus to other industries. The objective of Vietnamese firms is to take advantage of this opportunity.

DATC targets highest debt settlement since 2015     

Viet Nam’s Debt and Asset Trading Corporation (DATC) has targeted to settle VND3 trillion (US$131.6 million) worth of debts and assets in 2018, the highest since 2015.

The Ministry of Finance’s debt trader expects to earn a four-year high revenue of VND2.5 trillion this year. However, its after-tax profit is projected at a modest VND350 billion, down by 12 per cent against 2017.

In 2018, DATC will restructure the debts of some major State-owned enterprises, including Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (SBIC), Vietnam National Shipping Lines (Vinalines), Vietnam Northern Food Corporation and some other corporations.

According to DATC, an inadequate legal framework for debt trading activity has restricted the company’s efforts in supporting more companies in restructuring their debt purchase. Meanwhile, entanglement in divestiture by selling interest in whole lots, accompanied with debt (its specific characteristic), has not been resolved, negatively affecting the divestment progress.

By the end of 2017, DATC managed debts worth nearly VND20.6 trillion, accounting for 78 per cent of the total assets. Its charter capital was VND6 trillion.

Last year, it reported a total revenue of VND2.44 trillion and a net profit of nearly VND317 billion.

Viet Nam has two State debt trading companies, DATC and the Viet Nam Asset Management Company (VAMC). While VAMC is responsible for handling bad debts of commercial banks and financial institutions, DATC has focused on settlements of bad debt owned by State-owned enterprises in the pre- and post-equitisation processes. 

Quang Binh works to boost tourism development

The north central province of Quang Binh, known for the UNESCO World Heritage Site Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park, is working to promote its tourism potential by fostering links with other localities to create new tourism products and attract more tourists.

Endowed with stunning natural landscapes like untouched white sandy beaches and UNESCO World Heritage Site Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park, coupled with excellent cuisine, Quang Binh province poses huge potential for tourism development.

Quang Binh has affirmed its tourism prestige as it welcomed 3.3 million tourists in 2017 and the number is estimated at 1.8 million in the first six months of the year, including 85,000 foreigners.

Appraised by international media and experts as one of the leading worth-experiencing destinations in the world, Quang Binh is an attractive place for tourism investors. The locality is channeling efforts in promoting sustainable tourism development in companion with improving local livelihoods.

The province’s tourism sector has joined hands with the Departments of Culture, Sports and Tourism of the Mekong Delta city and provinces to improve efficiency of state management and tourism promotion, and build mutual tourism products to attract more tourists.

Seminar updates Fair Finance Asia programme

Oxfam in Vietnam, a non-governmental organisation, hosted a seminar in Hanoi on June 20 to update the Fair Finance Asia programme. 

Speaking at the event, Oxfam’s Senior Programme Coordinator on Governance Nguyen Thu Huong said the event was designed to help social organisations gain an insight into issues regarding water and energy governance, mining and coal-fired power plants, take fair financial approach to relevant projects, and discuss the specific role of partners and Oxfam in particular. 

Representatives of the Vietnam Mining Coalition, the Vietnam Sustainable Energy Alliance and the Vietnam Rivers Network were briefed about the outcomes of a training course on fair finance in Asia and Vietnam in January 2018. 

They also shared updates about the meeting on fair finance in Asia in Siem Reap, Cambodia in April 2018. 

In order to promote financial fairness in banks, the programme’s advisor Andrew Well Dang suggested scoring and ranking banks in terms of data openness and socio-environmental safety policies, making in-depth studies on linkage between banks, finance and socio-environmental risks in the fields of mining, energy and land.

Participants proposed improving the capacity of social organizations and offering technical support to community-based organisations to follow global standards on environment. 

They called for joint work between domestic and regional social organisations to evaluate the transparency and accountability of financial-banking organisations and investors, as well as sharing experience with Asian countries to look toward fair financial approach to water and energy governance, and mining.

Da Nang looks for its own unique tourism products

The central city of Da Nang boasts various advantages for tourism, from the beautiful beaches and sea, to forest, river and lake ecosystems, but it is essential that the city finds its own unique tourism products. 

Experts said those natural advantages, when combined with the city’s modern infrastructure, good services, safety and hospitality, create unique traits for the central coastal city.   

Da Nang has emerged as a destination of leisure, media and spiritual tourism, as well as entertainment and shopping activities, and a venue of conferences.

However, compared to other central cities like Hue and Hoi An, Da Nang does not have as many cultural and historical sites. Therefore, the city has looked to create its own events, such as the international fireworks festival and international sport tournaments in the past years. 

Da Nang also tries to offer new tourism attractions and products year after year, from Ba Na Hills to new museums. 

Many experts suggested the city turn meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE) tourism into a typical tourism product.

Over the past time, the number of international holiday-makers to Da Nang increased sharply, especially those from Europe, America and Asia. They have formed tourism streets like An Thuong, Ho Nghinh and Duong Dinh Nghe with their own tourism products. 

An Thuong is expected to become a destination for foreign vacationers at night in the time ahead. 

Representatives of travel agencies said Da Nang should develop more marine tourism products like parachuting, diving and tours around bays, along with products connected with local culture. 

Da Nang is a popular tourist destination in central Vietnam. The online marketplace and hospitality service Airbnb announced a list of the world’s top 10 destinations for the 2018, in which Da Nang ranked fifth in booking surges of up to 255 percent.

According to the municipal Department of Tourism, the number of visitors to the central coastal city is increasing with annual average growth of 20.06 percent in the 2013-2017 period.

In 2017, the city welcomed 6.6 million tourists, 2.1 times higher than the figure in 2013. The tourism industry generated 186,770 jobs in 2017 and grossed over 19.5 trillion VND (854.1 million USD) in revenues, 2.5-fold increase from 2013.

This year, the city was ranked second in the list of the 10 most popular destinations among solo or couple travelers, according to the Republic of Korea’s Ticket Monster Inc.

The website said people who plan to travel abroad with family members chose Da Nang as the most popular destination.

The city is also the second-most popular destination among couple of travelers, followed by Bangkok (Thailand) and Guam (the US), it said.

Vietnam’s third largest city has welcomed 538,000 Korean tourists so far this year, accounting for a third of total foreign arrivals in the city, according to the municipal tourism department.

The RoK is expected to surpass Chinese tourists and become the biggest group of visitors to Da Nang in the near future.

According to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, Da Nang was said to be the best place to live in Vietnam with many world-recognised recorded. 

The US’s New York Times listed Da Nang among 52 places to go in 2015. The city was recgonised as one of the world’s 20 low-carbon cities at the 44th APEC Meeting on Energy in the US in 2012.

Da Nang International Airport was ranked third among the best airports in the world in 2014, according to a survey by Dragon Air.

The InterContinental Danang Sun Peninsula Resort won the Asia’s Leading Luxury Resort in 2014 thanks to its perfect combination of traditional beauty and modern, luxurious standards.

The US’s Forbes Magazine selected My Khe Beach in Da Nang as one of the six most attractive beaches on the planet in 2013.

The cable line that takes visitors to the peak of Ba Na Hills at an altitude of 1,487 metres in just 17 minutes and is able to carry 3,000 passengers per hour won four Guinness Records in 2013.

Sun Wheel, which is 115 metres in height and situated in Asian Park, Hai Chau district, Da Nang, was listed among the 10 tallest wheels in the world.

Vietnam, Philippines boast potential for further trade cooperation

Vietnam and the Philippines boast substantial potential to step up their trade and investment cooperation, heard a workshop jointly held by the two countries’ ministries of industries and trade in Ho Chi Minh City on June 20. 

Tran Quoc Khanh, Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, said the friendship and economic, trade and investment links between the two countries have reaped noted achievements, with two-way trade hitting 4 billion USD in 2017, up 22 percent year-on-year. 

In the first five months of 2018, the bilateral trade revenue hit 1.77 billion USD, a rise of 15.5 percent against the same period last year, the official said. 

Currently, Vietnam and the Philippines are the fifth largest trade partner of each other in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Of note, the Philippines has poured 328 million USD in Vietnam so far this year, ranking 35 out of 126 countries and territories investing in the country. 

Khanh said, however, the results have yet to match the position and potential of the two countries. 

He suggested Vietnam and the Philippines should take advantage of their reciprocal export structures, as well as their ASEAN membership to deepen the economic and trade ties. 

The Vietnamese Government is scaling up efforts to implement concrete measures to improve the domestic business environment and national competitiveness, and create the best possible conditions for foreign businesses and investors to effectively operate in Vietnam, Khanh noted. 

Ceferino Rodolfo, Undersecretary of the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry, described Vietnam as one of the fast-growing markets, and an attractive destination for many enterprises and investors in Southeast Asia. 

The two countries still have a lot of potential to turn their trade and investment potential into cooperation opportunities, he said.

Philippine firms have regarded Vietnam as a promising market in ASEAN and Asia at large, with such advantages as high, dynamic population and increasing consumption demands, especially for high-quality and personal-care products, according to the official. 

At the workshop, nearly 20 Philippine businesses operating in the fields of food, consumer goods, and auto-automobile manufacturing engaged in exchanges with some 100 Vietnamese firms to set up partnerships and push trade activities in the future.

Banks cut short-term interest amid good liquidity, TPBank earns US$97mn by issuing private shares, DATC targets highest debt settlement since 2015, FPT, Điện Quang to develop smart electrical equipment

Da Nang sees strong growth in high-end accommodation services

Many businesses operating in accommodation services in the central city of Da Nang have worked to improve their service quality, as the high-end accommodation segment is growing and investment in the segment projected to continue to rise in coming time. 

Many accommodation establishments of three- to five-star are being built in the city, creating a foundation for development of middle- and high-end tourism.

Major projects under construction include the Ariyana Beach Resort and Suites Da Nang, JW Marriot, Hilton Bach Dang, My Khe Duc Long, Four Points by Sheraton, Golden Bay and Hai An, among others.

According to the municipal Tourism Department, domestic and foreign investment has been strongly poured into tourism services, especially in high-end tourism products. In addition to infrastructure, investors also paid attention to human resources development.

The number of holidaymakers in this segment has been on the rise, bringing big revenues for local hotels and resorts. 

As of the end of April 2018, Da Nang is home to 712 accommodation establishments with more than 29,730 rooms, rising by 7,355 rooms compared to the same period last year. Of the lodges, there are 156 three- to five-star hotels with more than 18,000 rooms.

By the end of this year, the city expects to raise the number of lodges to 774 with 36,031 rooms. Da Nang targets to have over 920 establishments with about 45,600 rooms by 2020.

In 2017, total earnings of three- to five-star hotels made up 86 percent of the city’s accommodation service revenue with 7.7 trillion VND (337.62 million USD), a year-on-year increase of 52 percent.

Vietnam has witnessed an influx of international hotel brands and hotel management companies in the last few years, according to property consultant Savills Vietnam.

From 30 hotels with international brand names in 2010, the number had increased to 79 at the end of last year. The strong growth of the tourism sector has also given a boost to the hospitality industry.

Da Nang is a popular tourist destination in central Vietnam. The online marketplace and hospitality service Airbnb announced a list of the world’s top 10 destinations for the 2018, in which Da Nang ranked fifth in booking surges of up to 255 percent.

According to the Da Nang Department of Tourism, the number of visitors to the central coastal city is increasing with annual average growth of 20.06 percent in the 2013-2017 period.

In 2017, the city welcomed 6.6 million tourists, 2.1 times higher than the figure in 2013. The tourism industry generated 186,770 jobs in 2017 and grossed over 19.5 trillion VND (854.1 million USD) in revenues, 2.5-fold increase from 2013.

The city was ranked second in the list of the 10 most popular destinations among solo or couple travelers in 2018, according to the Republic of Korea’s Ticket Monster Inc.

The website said people who plan to travel abroad with family members chose Da Nang as the most popular destination.

The city is also the second-most popular destination among couple of travellers, followed by Bangkok (Thailand) and Guam (the US), it said.

According to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, Da Nang was said to be the best place to live in Vietnam with many world-recognised records. It is famous for My Khe Beach, one of the six most attractive beaches on the planet selected by the US’s Forbes Magazine in 2013, the cable line to Ba Na Hills at an altitude of 1,487 metres, and Sun Wheel, which is 115 metres in height and situated in Asian Park, Hai Chau district.

Besides, Da Nang International Airport was ranked third among the best airports in the world in 2014, according to a survey by Dragon Air.

Exploiting FTA markets – good way to boost export revenue

Optimising advantages in the markets signing free trade agreements (FTA) with Vietnam is expected to contribute to boosting Vietnam’s export revenue.

In the first five months of this year, agro-forestry-fishery exports hit 15.6 billion USD, a rise of 9.9 percent over the same period last year. Four leading markets of the products were the US, Japan, China and the Republic of Korea.

But many experts worried that the dependence on some major markets will pose high risks to not only agro-forestry-fishery products but others produced by Vietnam when fluctuation happens in these markets.

In the January-May period, Vietnam earned 1.45 billion USD from rice export, up 13.9 percent in volume and 40 percent in value over the same time in 2017. The top market of Vietnamese rice was China.

According to Nguyen Ngoc Nam, President of the Vietnam Food Association, opportunities for Vietnam’s rice export are increasing as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) has been signed, creating favourable conditions for the country to sell rice in CPTPP member countries.

According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, a rise was recorded in export revenue to markets having FTAs with Vietnam in 2017 and it was maintained in the first half of this year.

In the first five months of 2018, exports to the US reached 17.4 billion USD, a rise of 9 percent year on year. 

Although the FTA between Vietnam and the EU has yet to take effective, exports to the market still reached 16.9 billion USD, an increase of 13.6 percent.

In 2017, Vietnam’s exports to the ASEAN countries also rose 34.3 percent to 21.7 billion USD, while export revenue in the Chinese market was up 60.6 percent to 53.3 billion USD. Strong growth was also seen in the Japanese market with 14.2 percent, the Republic of Korea with 31.1 percent, Australia, 14.3 percent, Chile, 26.3 percent, and Russia, 35.7 percent.

The Vietnam Food Association predicted that rice export volume may fetch 6 million tonnes in 2018 with value of about 3 billion USD due to an increase in exports of high-quality rice.

After earning 8.3 billion USD from exporting aquatic products in 2017, Vietnam expects 3-5 percent growth in revenue in 2018 thanks to positive signals stemming from the Chinese, Japanese and RoK markets.

Minister of Industry and Trade Tran Tuan Anh said that over the past years, export activities have been on right track with the expansion of many big markets, the reduction in export of unprocessed products and increase in export of processed ones.

As many as 28 sectors enjoyed export revenues of over 1 billion USD, while revenue of over 5 billion USD was recorded in seven markets and 10 billion USD in four markets.

However, the diversification of markets for some agricultural and aquatic products is still limited, while the dependence on Asian markets remains strong. Particularly, some products like cassava, rubber and dragon fruits have still been sold in only one market.

Minister Anh stressed that in the coming time, it is necessary to reduce the dependence on major markets and remove obstacles for enterprises in terms of tariff technical barrier, food safety requirements, and origin, while strengthening production-market connection, and setting up the value chains.

Cassava exports to Japan surge     

Viet Nam’s cassava exports to Japan surged in the first four months of the year to 10,100 tonnes worth US$2.42 million.

These represented increases of 379.4 per cent and 263.8 per cent year-on-year.

But figures from the General Department of Customs show that the country’s overall cassava exports declined by 26.7 per cent to 1.09 million tonnes though their value remained virtually unchanged at $369 million.

This was because the average export price was 37.3 per cent up at $338 per tonne though in Japan it fell by almost a fourth to $239.

China remained the biggest importer buying more than 980,000 tonnes though its imports were down 26 per cent.

Exports to Malaysia, the Philippines and Taiwan saw declines both in terms of quantity and value.

Bedding brand Everon plans US$10mn bond issuance     

The management board of Everpia Joint Stock Company has approved the plan of issuing international convertible bonds worth US$10.1 million in South Korea this year.

The US dollar-nominated bonds are non-secured and will be issued to Rhinos Vietnam Convertible Bond Private Investment Fund No.4 under South Korea-based Rhinos Asset Management Co. Ltd in a private placement.

The minimum value is $100,000 per bond with a coupon rate of 1 per cent per year for a five-year maturity and interest payment in every six months. In case the bondholders do not exercise their right to convert, the issuer will pay the original debt at the compounded rate of 3.5 per cent per year.

Bondholders will be allowed to nominate one member to the management board for a five-year term.

Bonds will be fully or partially converted into EVE shares after one year from the date of issuance to one month before maturity. The conversion price is VND18,245 ($0.80) per share. Shares will be listed on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange after the conversion.

According to the company, the capital raised from the bond issuance will be used to develop new products and expand business operations.

Everpia has chosen South Korean for issuing bonds because the interest rates in other primary bond markets, such as Singapore and Hong Kong, are higher, the company said.

The issuance will be carried out after receiving the approval of the State Securities Commission.

The net profit of the manufacturer of padding and bedding products plunged 43 per cent in 2017, reaching just VND51 billion.

Shares of Everpia (stock code EVE) are trading at some VND17,000 per share on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange.

Quang Binh attracts 14 investment projects in five months


Banks cut short-term interest amid good liquidity, TPBank earns US$97mn by issuing private shares, DATC targets highest debt settlement since 2015, FPT, Điện Quang to develop smart electrical equipment

The central coastal province of Quang Binh is calling for investments of 48 projects during the 2018-20 period, with an expected amount of up to over VND50 trillion (US$2.2 billion).

The projects, expected to cover more than 8,000 ha of land, mainly focus on tourism, trade and services, industry, agriculture, education and healthcare.

Notably, 14 projects in tourism, trade, and services are expected to seek over VND37 trillion in investment, including coastal and ecological tourism and resort complexes. These are considered high-value projects that will create many jobs, increase local budgets and foster tourism development in the province.

In the field of industry, Quang Binh is seeking over VND8 trillion for five projects focusing on wind and solar power, electrical and electronic production and assembly, telecommunications, lightning equipment manufacturing, and auto assembly.

The province has attracted 14 investment projects, worth nearly VND3 trillion ($129 million) in total capital, to its industrial parks and economic zones so far this year.

With the new investments, the number of investment projects in the province’s industrial parks and economic zones has risen to 105, with a combined value of nearly VND50 trillion. Among them, there are five foreign investment projects worth more than $30 million.

The province has increased its promotions for investments in recent years, organising events both in and outside the country.

The local authorities have built a database of local advantages, potential, and needs, and provides extra support for investors, besides those stipulated by law, such as assisting in procedures for investment and construction.

Also, the provincial administration constantly reviews administrative procedures with a view to improving services for investors and local competitiveness.

During the past three years, industrial parks and economic zones in Quang Binh generated an average industrial production value of VND3 trillion per year and earned nearly VND1.5 trillion in export value. They also created jobs for 5,000 workers, providing an average monthly income of VND5.2 million ($223). 

KEB Hana Bank BIDV’s potential strategic investor: VCSC     

The potential strategic investor of Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV) is Korea’s KEB Hana Bank, reported Viet Capital Securities Company (VCSC).

In a report on BIDV, which is one of Viet Nam’s four largest State-run commercial banks, VCSC said the prospect of finding strategic investors of BIDV after eight years was gradually clear, adding that the transaction, if successful, will be an important factor to bring BIDV closer to Basel II standards as required by the central bank.

Earlier, Business Korea reported that KEB Hana Bank had decided to expand its business in Viet Nam by acquiring a stake in BIDV. KEB Hana Bank is going forward with the acquisition and is reportedly close to signing a deal.

The deal will proceed in a way that BIDV will raise new capital through a capital increase to improve its financial structure, and Hana Bank will purchase the new shares. According to a source, the only remaining process is the approval of State Bank of Viet Nam while the work is being finalised.

BIDV started as Vietnamese Construction Bank in 1957. Until 1994, it was operated mainly by the Government. Since 1995, the bank has been actively offering financing, credit, financial and non-financial services as a commercial bank. It has played the role of an agency for the management of funds with domestic and foreign financial institutions.

Earlier this year, KEB Hana Bank chairman Kim Jung Tai met Deputy Prime Minister Vuong Dinh Hue. Tai emphasised the need for co-operation between Hana Bank and BIDV and said the two banks would create good business opportunities if they continued to maintain a partnership in financial technology and mobile payment, among others, in Viet Nam.

2 companies acquire 33% of Hapro     

Two companies have acquired 60 million shares of the Ha Noi Trade Corporation (Hapro) on the Unlisted Public Company Market (UPCoM), announced the Ha Noi Stock Exchange.

They are Thanh Cong Co. Ltd and An Phu Import Export Investment and Trading Co. Ltd.

The acquisition is equivalent to more than 33 per cent of Hapro’s capital.

The move has enabled the two companies to become major shareholders of Hapro.

On May 18, An Phu bought nearly 32 million shares, holding 17.7 per cent of Hapro’s capital after the purchase.

On May 23 and 28, Thanh Cong Co. Ltd purchased 27.6 million shares, equivalent to 15.31 per cent of the corporation’s capital.

Before the transaction, the two companies did not own any shares of Hapro.

Hapro floated nearly 76 million shares, or 34.51 per cent of its charter capital, in its initial public offering (IPO) on March 30. The IPO saw 100 per cent of the shares being sold out, earning the State more than VND980 billion (US$43 million).

The company had put up these shares for trade on UPCoM on May 4 with the code HTM. Its shares are being traded at some VND9,000 ($0.40) per share, down by 30 per cent from the reference price of VND12,900 per share for the first trading day.

Hapro has more than 40 member companies, with a presence in over 70 countries. Many investors have shown interest in the company as it owns many commercial premises in prime locations in major cities and provinces.

In 2017, the company’s revenue declined by 17 per cent year-on-year to VND1.93 trillion while its profit was also modest at just VND11 billion, equivalent to one-sixth of 2016’s figure.

Thanh Hoa’s tourism needs reform towards sustainable development

Bestowed with gorgeous natural landscapes and diverse  cultural space, the northern central province of Thanh Hoa has huge potential to branch out a wide range of tourism products, however, it faces calls for reform towards sustainable tourism development.

At a conference held in the locality on June 19, experts recommended that excellent tourism products must have close connection with local people and culture while calling for more investment projects in tourism infrastructure.

Along with improving the efficiency of investment promotion campaigns to lure businesses with financial strengths to invest in strategic and high-end projects, it is necessary for the province to develop standout tourism packages together with protecting natural sceneries.

Furthermore, the province was advised to join hands with Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, eight northwestern provinces, northern coastal provinces and northern central coastal localities to study and build common inter-region tourism products, they added.

Lauding suggestions of the experts, Vice Director of the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism Vuong Thi Hai Yen expressed her hope that the province’s tourism sector will be accompanied by enterprises and media agencies in the coming time.

The department will recommend solutions to the provincial People’s Committee to popularise tourist attractions, lure visitors and connect local tourism spots to create a breakthrough for the non-smoke sector, turning Thanh Hoa into a national and international tourism hub soon, she said.

Last year, the province welcomed 7 million arrivals and earned 8 trillion VND (352 million USD) from tourism services, up 11.5 percent from the same time last year. The locality targets to serve 8.2 million visitors in 2018 and eyes 10.6 trillion VND (466.4 million USD) in tourism revenue.

Many renowned enterprises like FLC and Sun Group have poured capital into the local tourism sector. During 2015-2017, 18 tourism infrastructure projects were carried out while investment licenses were granted for 61 tourism projects with total registered capital of nearly 62.5 trillion VND (2.75 billion USD).

BSR earns 54 trillion VND in revenue in six months

The Binh Son Refining and Petrochemical One Member Co Ltd (BSR), a subsidiary of PetroVietnam, pocketed nearly 54 trillion VND (2.37 billion USD) in revenue in the first six months of the year, accounting for 69 percent of the yearly plan.

At its shareholders’ meeting held in the central province of Quang Ngai on June 21, the company said that its net profit reached 2.7 trillion VND (118.8 million USD), equivalent to 77.6 percent of the target set for the whole year.

The company’s total output stood at 3.53 million tonnes while its sale volume was estimated at 3.6 million tonnes, completing 57 percent of the yearly plan.

Under the firm’s business development plan in 2018 and orientation for the 2018-2022 period, the BSR’s revenue is expected to hit a peak of nearly 6.4 trillion VND (281.6 million USD) in 2019 and the amount will taper off in the three following years due to plant’s expansion.

The company will complete the upgrade and expansion of the Dung Quat Oil Refinery, and put it into operation in 2022. Upon completion, the plant’s yearly refining capacity will increase from 6.5 million tonnes to 8.5 million tonnes of crude oil meeting the Euro 5 standard.

The BSR will channel efforts towards a leading competitive oil refining company in the region.

Earlier this year, the BSR sold 241.5 million shares, or 7.79 percent of its charter capital, during its first initial public offering (IPO) on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HOSE). 

The shares were sold to 623 investors, including 62 organisations and 561 individuals, at an average price of 23,043 VND (1.01 USD) per share, as against the asking price of 14,600 VND (0.64 USD). Of note, a foreign investor purchased 147.83 million shares or 61.2 percent of the total shares on sales. 

Under the equitisation plan, PetroVietnam will retain 43 percent of the BSR’s charter capital, while a maximum of 49 percent (1.52 billion shares) will be sold to strategic investors, expecting to earn nearly 1 billion USD. About 0.21 percent of shares will be offered to the company’s employees.

On March 1, all of the BSR shares were traded on the Unlisted Public Company Market (UPCoM) and they drew the attention of a large pool of domestic and foreign investors.

Many international investors have worked with BSR to seek cooperative opportunities, including Nation Indian Oil Coporation, Indonesia’s Pertamine, and Thailand’s Bangchak Corporation Public Company Limited.

Phu Yen: Agricultural restructuring project bears fruit

The agricultural restructuring project in the central coastal province of Phu Yen has yielded fruit after three years of implementation, the provincial People’s Committee reported on June 21. 

In the field of cultivation, the locality has developed major plants like rice, cassava, sugar cane, pepper and rubber, while encouraging scientific-technological applications in all production stages. 

The animal husbandry sector has been shifted from small scales to larger ones, with 198,000 cows and more than 3.6 million heads of poultry. The sector’s added value increased 6 percent annually. 

Fishery is one of the province’s advantages, with ocean tuna as the main product. Shrimp farming has also brought about high export values. 

Several models have proven effective like forestation in combination with high-value plant cultivation in the mountainous district of Song Hinh, cooperation in sugar production and consumption between the mountainous district of Son Hoa and KCP Sugar Factory, white-legged shrimp farming using high-tech at Dac Loc Seafood Co., Ltd, and production of rice varieties in An Nghiep Cooperative in Tuy An district. 

According to Nguyen Trong Hung, Director of the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, the agricultural sector’s added value rose 4.5 percent and production value expanded by 4.2 percent annually, making up 25.3 percent of the province’s GDP. 

The province aims to earn 110 million VND (4,840 USD) per ha each year, up 1.6 times compared with 2017, and raise per capita income in rural areas to 45 million VND (1,980 USD), up 1.7 times over 2017.

RoK helps businesses carry out major projects in Vietnam, UAE

The Trade Ministry of the Republic of Korea has announced that it will hold a second meeting of a government-civilian panel to discuss winning major projects from the United Arab Emirates and Vietnam on June 22.

Representatives from the trade, infrastructure and fisheries ministries will take part in the meeting to review the state of progress in projects already undertaken and discuss support measures for projects expected to be awarded to Korean companies at the end of this year and the start of next year, the Yonhap news reported.

The trade ministry will focus on supporting the working group on investment and development of coal and road infrastructure in Vietnam and inviting senior-level officials from the UAE and the Asian country.

The infrastructure ministry is due to launch an agency at the end of this month specifically to promote city development business overseas while exploring new projects, including airports and intelligent transportation systems, officials said.

Fisheries officials have been sent to the UAE to help win port construction bids, and the ministry will provide consulting for overseas port development businesses.

The panel was launched in May to follow up on bilateral cooperation discussions during President Moon Jae-in's visits to the two countries.

Hau Giang reviews development of hi-tech farm zone

Leaders of the Mekong Delta province of Hau Giang met on June 21 to review the development of a hi-tech agricultural zone in the province by 2025.

Speaking at the meeting, Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee Le Tien Chau requested the management board of the local hi-tech agricultural zone to review all policies the Government has adopted for the building of hi-tech agricultural zones and how to implement them. 

At the same time, the board must learn from experience of other localities in luring investments in the field, he added.

Le Hoang Xuyen, Director of the management board of the hi-tech agricultural zone, proposed the provincial People’s Committee to approve the building of a new stronger-structure bridge to replace the current one leading to the zone to allow high-load vehicles of investors to travel on. He also urged the committee to speed up the construction of roads to the zone.

In addition, Xuyen asked the local Department of Agriculture and Rural Development to continue supporting related projects, such as the project on a pumping station and the Sustainable Agriculture Transformation (VnSAT) project.

In 2012, the government allowed Hau Giang to zone off 5,200 hectares of land in Long My district for hi-tech agriculture. The hi-tech agricultural zone has been implementing three projects, including one at ministerial level and another at provincial level.

The zone has been cooperating with the Republic of Korea to test several biological products on 14 hectares of rice since last year. This year, those products will be tested on 8 hectares of rice, 2 hectares of pineapple, 2 hectares of citrus fruits and 2 hectares of mango in the zone. 

HCM City: Ornamental fish production reaches higher standards

The Ho Chi Minh Fisheries Sub-department has selected four ornamental fish farms that meet conditions to produce ornamental fish under Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) standards.

The farms, Dong Khoi Ornamental Fish Farm and Niem Dam Me Discus Farm in Cu Chi district, and AMR Farm and Xanh Tuoi Ornamental Fish Farm in Binh Chanh district, produce ornamental fish for sale in domestic and foreign markets.

The Dong Khoi Ornamental Fish Farm, which covers 4,000 sq.m in Trung Lap Ha commune’s Xom Moi hamlet specialises in producing neon ornamental fish, tiger barb and rummy-nose Tetra for exports.

The Niem Dam Me Discus Farm specialises in producing discus ornamental fish.

The sub-department has provided the farms with quality techniques that meet standards and focus on environmental protection, disease prevention, quality of ornamental fish seed and fish feed.

The city has exported 10.5 million ornamental fish worth 12.7 million USD this year, up 14.8 percent in volume and 10.6 percent in value against the same period last year, according to the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The city has exported 60 more fresh water ornamental fish species. Of the figure, more than 40 species have been produced artificially, while the rest are caught from rivers and springs.

Exports of marine ornamental fish, which have high value, account for 1 percent of the city’s ornamental fish exports.

The city’s ornamental fish is exported to the EU, Asia, America, and South Africa.

Two ornamental fish trading areas are located on Nguyen Thong street in District 3 and Luu Xuan Tin street in District 5.

Vo Thanh Liem, owner of the Da Tuong ornamental fish shop on Luu Xuan Tin street, who has been in business for many years, said the sector is developing strongly.

Wholesale traders in other provinces and cities in the country are visiting HCM City to buy ornamental fish.

Discus ornamental fish tops the city’s list of ornamental fish exports, which has been identified as a key product of the city’s agricultural sector.

The city, which is the country’s largest ornamental fish producer, has about 88ha of land devoted to raising ornamental fish in outlying districts, with more than 290 households involved in production.

The Sai Gon Ornamental Creatures Co-operative in Cu Chi district has worked closely with 80 local ornamental fish farming households to have a stable quantity of ornamental fish for exports.

The cooperative exports about 1.9 million ornamental fish a month.

Nguyen Van Thuy, Chairman of the co-operative, said that demand for ornamental fish huge from both domestic and foreign markets.

The hobby of breeding ornamental fish is no longer limited to those with high incomes, as average-income people can now join in the trade, he added.

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