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BUSINESS IN BRIEF 2/11   2009-11-02 - VietNamNet/VNA, ND

Vietnam raked in 554.5 million EUR from exports to Spain in the first seven months of this year, up 4.9 percent against the same period last year.

The country’s export staples included footwear, garments and materials, coffee, seafood, leather products and wooden furniture, according to the Spanish Customs.

Meanwhile, Vietnam spent almost 61.5 million EUR on imports from Spain , a year-on-year drop of 13.1 percent.

During the reviewed period, Vietnam imported machines, mechanical equipment, chemicals, iron, steel, pharmaceuticals, foodstuff and materials for leather tanning.

Last year, two-way trade exceeded 1 billion EUR, including 106.1 million EUR of Spanish exports, up 6.9 percent, and 972.5 million EUR worth of Vietnamese exports, up 16.4 percent.

Hyundai – Vinashin hands over 56,000 tonne ship

The Hyundai-Vinashin Shipyard Co., Ltd (HVS) has handed the ship E.R.BOL0GNA over to the shipping company E.R.Shiffahrt from Germany.

This is the second ship to be handed over by HVS in 2009.

The building of the 56,000 tonne ship worth US$50 million was completed within less than 11 months and was handed over to the ship owner two months before schedule.

The third ship to be built by HVS was successfully launched. It is scheduled to be handed over by the end of the year.

Currently, the company is continuing to build a lot of new ships.

Da Nang builds low-income housing

Construction on two housing projects for students and low-income families has begun in the central city of Da Nang, at a total investment of more than 300 billion VND (16.8 million USD).

The apartment building project for low-income families in Son Tra district, which costs 194 billion VND, will include a park, kindergarten, service area and basement parking.

Three nine-storey buildings, with a total of 725 apartments and floor area of up to 50,687 square metres, will accommodate more than 3,000 individuals. It is expected to be completed in 2011.

The student dormitory in Lien Chieu District, at a cost of 120 billion VND, will have six five-storey buildings with a total floor area of up to 39,830 square metres.

Once finished late next year, the 736-room dormitory will be able to accommodate 6,000 students.

The projects are being carried out by Da Nang based-Duc Manh Joint Stock Company and Construction and Investment Joint Stock Company 579.

The city planned to invest 1.4 trillion VND (78.5 million USD) to house 50,000 students over the next five years, said Tran Van Minh, chairman of the municipal People’s Committee.

US, Dutch backers pour funds into food processor

Private investment group Texas Pacific and Denmark’s BankInvest this week agreed to inject a combined total of 50 million USD in Vietnam ’s Masan Group.

The deal is the second that the Texas Pacific Group has invested in Vietnam. The first partnership was with the Corporation for Financing and Promoting Technology (FPT), which was worth 36 million USD.

Varun Kapur, a TPG partner, said: "We are delighted to join forces with the Masan Group, a pioneering business in Vietnam . The Masan Group’s management team not only has a tremendous track record of delivering growth, but also the ability to integrate international best-practices and deep local insight, rare for a private group in Vietnam ."

The partnership between TPG Group and BankInvest will help build dominant "local multinationals," said Madhur Maini, CEO of the Masan Group in a press release.

Meanwhile, Hans Christian Jacobsen, managing director of BankInvest, said the Masan Group was in an ideal position to meet the increasing demand from local customers for branded consumer goods and financial services.

The Masan Group plans to use the capital raised to invest in existing businesses and to continue to build new businesses, said the group in a press release.

The Masan Group has already announced that it plans to list 476.3 million shares on the HCM City Stock Exchange in November.

The group has a charter capital of 4.76 trillion VND (267.4 million USD).

It holds a 54.8 percent stake in Masan Food, a local food and beverage producer, and a 19.99 percent stake in Techcombank.

Commenting on the investments, chairman of the Masan Group Nguyen Quang said the group had a strong belief in the Vietnamese middle class.

Real estate boom tipped for next year

Following the announcement of real estate figures in October, the last quarter of this year is predicted to be the best time for property investors in HCM City to accelerate their investment.

Since the beginning of the month, companies have raced to find counterparts to strengthen their position’s in the short term.

Early this week, Lilama SHB carried out a ground breaking ceremony of its project entitled Sai Gon Lilama SHB Town in Tan Phu District of HCM City.

This 18-storey building with 340 apartments is built to serve mid-income customers.

The previous day, Lilama SHB and the Construction and Investment Joint Stock Company 584 started the construction of 584 Lilama SHB Plaza in Nguyen Van Dung Street in Go Vap District of HCM City.

The project includes three 15-storey blocks and would attract investors to build trade centres, parks and entertainment areas. Upon completion, it is estimated to bring 1,218 apartments to the market.

Assessing HCM City ’s property market for the first nine months of the year, researchers agree that it has been stable but with the influx of new property, there are changes to come.

According to the report of CB Richard Ellis, a property researcher, the beginning of 2010 will see a number of new developments brought to market.

In HCM City , it said, about 44 projects would be announced at the end of 2009 and the beginning of 2010. These projects would supply about 22,560 apartments in districts 1, 2, 9 and 7.

The bullish stock market and progress in infrastructural development had encouraged investors to return to the market despite some concerns about changes in tax policies, said CBRE executive director Richard Leech.

According to CBRE, HCM City ’s property market will fluctuate more than in mid 2007. Investors are ready for a boom in 2010.

Although in agreement on most research, Pham Van Hai, director of ACB Real Estate Company (ACBR), does not believe that there will be the predicted boom in the market.

"In the near future, we are unlikely to see a boom in the real estate market as most investors are suspicious about the recovery of the market," he said.

The price of property was still beyond the income of most people in Viet Nam so the investment would be less attractive due to the high price, he added.

Hanoi starts 2009 Promotion Month

The Hanoi city has launched the 2009 Promotion Month, attracting the participation of 350 enterprises from all of the economic sectors, with nearly 1,000 promotion places.

The enterprises are operating in such fields as supermarket, foodstuff-beverage, fashion, footwear, electronics, household goods, interior decoration, restaurant, hotel, tourism and so on.

These promotion places occur not only in the inner city but also in outskirt districts, meeting the demand of the country folk.

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