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BUSINESS IN BRIEF 25/9   2010-09-25 - VNN

Central bank warned of illegal ATM fees, issuers to be punished

Bank card issuers will be punished for collecting fees for inter-network ATM internal-network transactions that have not been approved by the State Bank of Viet Nam, said Ho Huu Hanh, a representative of the State Bank’s HCM City branch.

Funds collected through these illegal fees would also be appropriated to the State budget, Hanh warned.

The central bank first sent the warning yesterday, Sept 24, after Agribank has issued more than 5 million bank cards and had begun charging inter-network fees last Wednesday.

The central bank has not yet responded to proposals from 40 banks that wish to charge customers for account statements. These banks also want to increase fees for customers using other banks’ ATMs (intra-network transactions) from VND3,300 (US$0.17) to VND5,500 ($0.28) per transaction.

HCM City Development Bank (HDBank) deputy director Dam The Thai said that given the current quality of ATM services, many customers may not be satisfied with being charged.

"To boost the development of ATM services, issuers should add more applications, like internet banking, mobile banking, Visa and MasterCard," Thai said.

"Collecting fees on ATM transactions is not the only income from our bank card business," said a Techcombank official yesterday on condition of anonymity. "If banks can manage other income to compensate for the costs of ATM transactions, they may not need to charge the fees. However, the bank card business has not yet made a profit."

The nation’s over 10,000 ATMs handle about VND500 billion ($26 million) in cash, but the funds do not collect interest.

A number of banks have tried to cut corners on ATM services after the central bank rejected a previous request to charge customers for the use of the machines. The central bank has been petitioned three times since 2008 to greenlight ATM charges.

Annual travel expo to move to new venue in HCM City

The sixth edition of the International Travel Expo (ITE) in HCM City, the largest tourism event in Viet Nam, will be held September 30-October 2.

La Quoc Khanh, deputy director of the HCM City Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said the expo would be held at the new, modern Sai Gon Exhibition and Convention Centre (SECC) in the Phu My Hung area in District 7.

Yesterday, the organisers of ITE 2010 announced the participation of 155 buyers from 35 countries and regions, nine tourism promotional organisations including those from India, Turkey, China, Thailand, Myanmar, Malaysia, and 15 newspapers and magazines from 13 countries, including Sweden, Italy, Thailand, Australia, Canada, Germany, China, Russia and France.

During the event, several networking opportunities will be available, including the ASEAN Tourism Investment Forum; a conference with four ministers from Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar and Viet Nam; 2010 Tourism Alliance Awards; Viet Nam Night; Cambodia Night; and a lunch party hosted by the Thailand Ministry of Tourism.

ITE 2010 is open only to trade visitors and buyers on the first day and a half of the event. It is open to the public for a half day on October 1 and 2.

"ITE 2010, with the theme Three Countries One Destination, offers business opportunities for both inbound and outbound travel all at one event," said Nguyen Van Tan, the department director and manager of the city representative office of the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

"Besides offering a channel for Cambodia, Laos and Viet Nam to promote themselves, the event is an opportunity for our tourism to look back and improve so that it can be better."

The previous ITE 2009 held last year at the Phu Tho stadium in District 11 attracted 186 exhibiting organisations and companies from 16 countries and regions, 109 buyers from 21 countries and regions, and 14,242 visitors (4,939 trade and 9,303 public visitors).

Cement plant breaks ground in Hau Giang

Construction work on the Can Tho-Hau Giang Cement Plant started on Thursday in Phu Huu A Industrial Park in the southern province of Hau Giang.

The project has a total investment capital of VND320 billion (US$16.41 million). The factory has a planned production capacity of 700,000 tonnes of cement per year, with production aimed at meeting demand in Hau Giang province and southern Can Tho City.

The factory is expected to begin churning out cement by the end of next year.

PVFC hits $225m in turnover

Petro Viet Nam Fertiliser and Chemicals Company (PVFC) made VND4.4 trillion (US$225.6 million) in turnover during the first eight months of this year, equivalent to 82 per cent of its annual target.

During this period, the PVFC produced 534,875 tonnes of Phu My nitrogenous fertiliser.

It will have produced more than 320,000 tonnes of Phu My fertiliser by the end of the year.

Tourism businesses to receive awards

The Vietnam Economic Times will hold a ceremony today to grant its ‘The Guide Awards’, set to be handed out to 125 businesses operating in the tourism industry or related services for their effort to preserve the environment.

Awards will be presented in the categories of hotels, resorts, serviced apartment buildings, restaurants, tour operators, transport and retail shops.

HSBC Viet Nam opens branch in Can Tho

HSBC Viet Nam opened its new branch in Ninh Kieu District, Can Tho City, the largest trade centre in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta region, on Thursday.

The launch of a branch in Can Tho was evidence of HSBC’s commitment and close connection to the development of the region, HSBC General Director Thomas Tobin said.

An additional four companies to list

Four additional companies will list shares on the Ha Noi Stock Exchange, including Thang Long Invest Group, Huy Thang Construction Co, Da Nang Medical Co and the Foreign Trade Transport Corp, the Ha Noi Stock Exchange announced. Thang Long Invest Group will be the first to list, with shares to begin trading on October 8.

Steelmaker bond issue to fund factory

Steel producer Hoa Sen Group will issue VND1 trillion (US$51.28 million) in bonds to finance the Ton Hoa Sen Phu My Factory, which would produce zinc-coated and cool-rolled steel, and to expand its distribution network and raise working capital. The bonds will have a three-year term and coupon based on market rates.

Beer trader to debut on HN bourse

Ha Noi Beer Trading Co will list shares on the Ha Noi Stock Exchange on October 7 under the code HAT. The shares will represent all of the company’s charter capital of VND31.2 billion (US$1.6 million). The company distributes beverage products and raw materials for beverage production.

Plastics company dabbles in real estate

Tien Phong Plastics Co earned nearly VND1.2 trillion (US$61.53 million) and posted a pre-tax profit of VND230 billion ($11.79 million) in the first eight months of the year. The company has projected a turnover of VND1.6 trillion ($84.25million) and net profit of VND245 billion ($12.56 million) for this year.

Sacombank Securities offers shares

Sacombank Securities Co (SBS) will offer 13.8 million shares to existing shareholders in the fourth quarter of this year, following approval of the plan by the State Securities Commission on Monday. The offer, aimed at existing shareholders excluding Sacombank, will be at a 3:1 ratio to current shares, with a price of VND15,000 (US$0.78) per share.

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BUSINESS IN BRIEF 23/9   2010-09-23