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BUSINESS IN BRIEF 3/2   2010-02-03 - VietNamNet/VNA

Vietnam’s tuna exports to US on the rise

Vietnam exported 19,000 tonnes of tuna to the United States in 2009, earning 67.3 million USD, reported the General Department of Customs.

The figures represent year-on-year increase with the US of 20.4 percent in volume and 23 percent in value, accounting for 37.2 percent of Vietnam ’s tuna export share market, maintaining positive growth rate in both volume and value, according to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP).

Other markets purchasing Vietnamese tuna include Canada, Lebanon, Switzerland and Australia with satisfactory growth from 13 percent to 40 percent in volume and from 2.7 percent to 26 percent in value compared to the previous year.

However, Vietnam ’s tuna exports in 2009 recorded a year-on-year decrease of 4.1 percent, reaching only 181 million USD because of the reduction in export turnovers in major markets as European Union , Japan and Taiwan .

The price of Vietnam’s tuna is expected to drastically rise due to shrinking tuna supplies, especially if bluefin tuna is listed in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES).

Credit growth hits one percent in January

The nation’s banking system reported credit growth of one percent in January, a good sign for achieving the target of 25 percent growth this year while still considered reasonable in terms of seasonal production cycles and demand for capital.

“Before Lunar New Year, companies often focus on summarising business results and planning for the new year,” said State Bank deputy governor Nguyen Dong Tien on February 2. “They will gear up production after the holiday festivities.”

The increase in credit growth for January was therefore not low in comparison with previous years, Tien said. The rate of growth was 0.65 percent in January 2009 and 0.9 percent in January 2008, while credit growth actually slowed by one percent in January 2007.

In the last week of this past month, average interbank rates for loans in Vietnamese dong increased by 0.6-2 percentage points over the previous week to 11.12-12.52 percent.

Interest rates for deposits in Vietnamese dong remained stable at 10-10.49 percent at private banks and 8-9 percent at State-owned banks. Most private banks were offering promotions and gifts to attract available capital.

In an attempt to make more capital available for small and medium-sized enterprises, Tien said that the central bank had applied a series of measures via Open Market Operations and refinancing to credit institutions. The State Bank had refinanced 10 trillion VND (540.54 million USD) for Agribank to make capital available for lending in the farming sector.

Exporters scramble to ship Tet goods to Vietnamese expats

With Tet approaching, companies that export traditional New Year goodies to the Vietnamese diaspora abroad are working hard to ensure the goods go ontime.

Nguyen Xuan Huy, director of Ngoc Ngan Agricultural Processing Joint Stock Company based in southern Tien Giang province, said all his employees had to work until very late at night to complete an order of more than 100 tonnes of fruits from an Italian importer.

At Long Uyen One Member Co Ltd in My Tho Industrial Park, workers are hastily collecting, processing, and packaging chilli, ginger, and dragon fruit for export to the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, and Singapore.

Nguyen Ngoc Nam, director of Tien Giang Food Company, said his company shipped 4,000 tonnes of special rice under the Nine Dragons and Viet Flavour brands, glutinous rice, and 200 tonnes of banh trang (girdle cake) to several countries in the last two months.

“Despite the economic downturn, the demand for Tet specialties, including banh tet (cylindrical glutinous rice cake) and mut (preserved fruit) has not shrunk and even increased,” Quach Hung Tong, general director of Hai Minh Production and Trading Company in HCM City’s Cu Chi district, said.

Besides familiar items as banh tet , banh chung (square glutinous rice cake) and banh it (glutinous rice cake), Phat Trien Dong Thap Co Ltd has this year started to export xoi gac (glutinous rice steamed with momordica fruit) to the EU.

Hoang Ny, director of Thanh Tam Bonsai Art Center, said her firm exported three consignments of apricot trees to Asian countries for display during Tet.

Lien Viet Bank to issue convertible bonds

Hau Giang-based Lien Viet Bank has received the nod from the State Bank of Vietnam to issue convertible bonds this year totalling 2 trillion VND (108.11 million USD).

The bank will issue 20 million convertible bonds, of which about 10.6 million bonds will be offered to existing shareholders at the ratio of 100:3 at 100,000 VND each.

The remaining bonds will be offered to staff, the Vietnam Postal Savings Service Co and other domestic individual and institutional investors at not lower than 100,000 VND each.

The bonds, with a 7 percent yield to be paid at maturity, will be issued in two tranches. One bond will be convertible into 10 shares.

Bank spokeswoman Tran Thi Mai Anh said that the bank is drawing together more details for publication.

Of the total to be raised from the issue, the bank would invest 750 billion VND (40.5 million USD) in its own financial operations, including participation in joint ventures and contributing more capital to its franchises.

About 500 billion VND (27 million USD) would be used to expand medium and longer-term lending, while another 500 billion VND (27.03 million USD) would be reinvested in the bank’s capital reserves. 250 billion VND (13.51 million USD) is earmarked for infrastructure.

By the end of last year, Lien Viet Bank posted a net profit of 540 billion VND (29.19 million USD), 16 percent higher than its target, and had total assets of 17.4 trillion VND (940.54 million USD).

It has targeted to double total assets to 1.88 billion USD this year.

The bank, formed in June 2008, has a charter capital of 3.65 trillion VND (197.3 million USD) and has not yet contracted with a foreign strategic partner.

Shiseido opens plant in Dong Nai

The Japanese cosmetics manufacturer Shiseido Co Ltd opened a production plant in Dong Nai province’s Bien Hoa City on Feb.2

Initially, the Vietnam plant will specialise in products for Japanese market, but in the near future it will target the Asian markets and all other world markets, according to Shinzo Maeda, president and CEO of Shiseido.

Shiseido had sent 15 Vietnamese employees to Japan for 5 month training courses on Japanese culture and Shiseido’s production technique, Maeda said.

With an investment of 42 million USD, the Vietnam plant, which will begin operation in April, will start by manufacturing men’s cosmetics, facial cleansers and hair styling agents for the Japanese market.

Located on 10ha in Amata Industrial Park, the plant aims to manufacture cosmetics products targeting the middle-income group in Asia, including China, where major growth is anticipated.

This is the first plant in the ASEAN and the 15 th production facility of Shiseido, which now has four plants in mainland China, three in France, three in the US and two in Taiwan.

Vietnamese, Japanese businesses talk investment promotion

Sixty leaders of large Japanese enterprises already invested in Vietnam or show interest, attended a seminar held in Tokyo on Feb. 2 promoting trade and investment in the country.

Vietnamese Ambassador to Japan Nguyen Phu Binh highlighted achievements in relations between the two countries, especially in trade and economy. He called on Japanese businesses to continue investing in Vietnam to tighten strategic partnership between the two nations.

Japanese business people said that they were very interested in investing in Vietnam and eager to learn about the economic situation of the country.

They were introduced to business preferences in Vietnam and were offered opportunities to invest in transport infrastructure, energy, education and training, finance, banking, hi-technology, bio-technology and the support industry.

Deputy President of the Japan-Vietnam Cultural and Economic Committee Hiroyuki Yushita stated that relations with Vietnam are always a priority of Japan. He called on Japanese enterprises to boost investment in Vietnam.

The seminar was held by the Vietnamese Embassy in coordination with the Japan-Vietnam Cultural and Economic Committee under the International Friendship Exchange Council (FEC).

FEC plans to send a delegation to Vietnam to study its socio-economic situation and help Japanese corporations further understand the country’s business environment.

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