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BUSINESS IN BRIEF 30/9   2010-09-30 - VietNamNet/VNA

PetroVietnam pumps first crude in Russia


A joint venture between PetroVietnam and the Russian oil group of Zarubezhneft has pumped the first crude oil from well in Russia ’s autonomous Nenesky region, PetroVietnam has announced.


The Vietnamese oil giant said it was the outcome of two years’ hard working following the establishment of the Rusvietpetro joint venture and one year’s exploration.


In addition to investment in oil well construction and exploration, the joint-venture has built a central oil collection and processing station, installed a system of oil pipes and erected an oil reception and delivery station.


The joint venture is ready to embark on industrial-scale production with an expected output of 3,000 tonnes of crude a day (equivalent to 21,000 barrels a day).


PetroVietnam signed a deal with Zarubezhneft on December 24, 2008, under which it holds a 49 percent stake in Rusvietpetro to produce oil from four oil fields in Russia ’s autonomous Nenesky region.


Exploration work has detected 13 oil wells estimated to hold up 95.6 million tonnes of crude.


The ceremony to celebrate the first oil flow will take place in Russia on September 30.


Financial firms jostle for slice of credit pie


Personal credit is no longer a “big earner” for the banks only, as financial companies are rushing to cash in on this market, say industry insiders.


Statistics show that Vietnam is now home to 17 financial companies, which have been established by domestic and foreign-invested groups and corporations. These financial companies provide loans enabling consumers to buy cars and houses, similar to services provided by the banks.


To improve their competitiveness, financial firms have continuously released new products onto the market, based on the business advantages of their parent companies, expanded their limits on loans, adjusted deadlines for payments and linked up with the suppliers of consumer goods to serve their clients better.


For this reason, a large number of consumers prefer the products provided by financial companies, although their interest rates are 1.2-1.7 percent higher than those offered by the banks.


The Prudential Finance Company, an arm of the Prudential Insurance Group, is well known for its loans without collateral, based on valid insurance policies. The limit and duration of the loans are directly proportional to the value and period of the insurance policies. The company also provides its product online and by telephone to save time and transaction costs for clients.


Credit for house buyers provided by the PetroVietnam Finance Corporation (PVFC) is seen as safer than similar products provided by the banks. When clients sign a loan contract, they also sign an insurance policy with the life insurance company ACE Life, to keep ownership of the mortgaged assets. If there are defaults, ACE Life will pay the remainder of the loan to PVFC.


For the Hadico Financial Company, under the Hanoi Housing Development and Investment Corporation, a repayment period of up to 30 years is an advantage for its loans for house purchases.


Foreign-invested financial firms are also emerging as big rivals to the banks. Boasting global networks, these companies have teamed up with major producers to offer consumers non-profit loans to boost consumption.


Many major banks, including the Asian Commercial Bank (ACB), the Sai Gon Thuong Tin Commercial Bank (Sacombank) and the Dong A Bank (DongABank) plan to set up financial companies to tap into the personal credit market, but none of them have begun to operate yet.


A number of other banks have also unveiled their plans to put capital into multinational financial firms to improve their competitiveness in the personal credit market.


Seminar highlights safety in oil & gas industry


Enhancing safety during offshore oil and gas exploration and production was the main topic of a seminar, hosted by the Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) in Ho Chi Minh City on Sept. 30.


PetroVietnam’s Deputy General Director Do Van Hau recalled the Deepwater Horizon explosion which occurred in the Gulf of Mexico on April 20, 2010, killing 11 people and triggering the largest-ever oil spill in the history of oil and gas exploration.


The incident set off alarm bells throughout the industry and reminded management agencies and the oil and gas industry to re-examine safety in the sector, he said.


Hau said that over the past 30 years, PetroVietnam and international contractors have spared no effort in ensuring the safety of their staff and the environment, stressing that there have been no serious accidents so far.


However, following the Deepwater Horizon incident, safety in offshore oil and gas production has become a special concern for the State and a priority task for the Vietnamese oil and gas industry.


The delegates, including managers and representatives from oil and gas joint ventures and services companies from Vietnam and overseas, reviewed and recommended various measures to ensure safety in the industry.


They also discussed the lessons learnt from the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico as well as its impacts on the international insurance market and the risk management measures and insurance policies used by oil and gas companies.


Finland helps Hanoi’s women entrepreneurs


Finland will assist the Hanoi Women Association of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (HAWASME) in raising the capability for sustainable development, trade promotion and exports.


Under the 220,000 USD project which will last for two years, members of the association will be equipped with knowledge on the business law and management, leadership and gender equality as well as opportunities of import-export to Finland , the European Union and other potential markets.


Wooden, bamboo furniture exporters upbeat


Vietnam’s wood and bamboo furniture exporters are optimistic about sales growth over the next 12 months, according to a report by the US-based non-profit foundation Kearny Alliance that helps businesses in developing economies.


The Vietnam Sourcing Report: Wooden&Bamboo Furniture survey said 95 percent of suppliers surveyed expected sales to grow at least 10 percent.


Eighty-five percent planned to increase prices by up to 5 percent, and 54 percent to develop models with more decorative elements and designs.


Almost half would focus on the EU market and 25 percent on the US market.


"Vietnam’s wooden and bamboo furniture suppliers are noted for combining craftsmanship and structural integrity to offer unique, Asia-inspired products that come in traditional designs and contemporary styles," Vu Ngoc Khiem, manager of Kearny Alliance’s Export Assistance Programme, said.


"As the world’s sixth-largest producer of raw bamboo, the sector takes full advantage of its abundant, indigenous materials sourced locally and from the suppliers’ plantations to offer exceptional value to buyers."


Annual exports of the surveyed suppliers are worth more than 40 million USD and they employ more than 9,000 full-time workers who can produce up to 6 million pieces a month.


Tran Quoc Khang, production manager of ISO 9001:2000-certified Nature Bamboo Company, said: "The economic crisis did not affect us that much as we offer our main EU clients items in competitive prices and our unique original designs attract loyal and new buyers.


"Our prices are stable as we have a 200-hectare bamboo plantation that we use to serve our current production. This plantation also ensures we have a stable supply of raw materials for 50 years."


Khiem said: "Buyers will see in the report details of three trade organisations and handicraft associations that facilitate business interaction between local suppliers and overseas buyers."


One of the organisations, the Handicraft and Wood Industry Association of HCM City, has more than 200 export-oriented members.


The Vietnam Sourcing Report: Wooden&Bamboo Furniture profiles 35 manufacturers and has descriptions, prices and packaging details for more than 125 export products ranging from sofa sets, beds and kitchen cabinets to home furnishings.

Other news

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Do Chinese contractors really save money?   2010-09-30

Gold prices chaotic, State Bank’s Governor denies short gold supply   2010-09-30

Home appliances selling slowly, retailers anticipate new opportunities   2010-09-30

Ninh Thuan seeks new investor for US$9.8-bil steel project   2010-09-30

Listed firms earn high credit ratings   2010-09-30

Ministries disagree on empowering licensing bodies   2010-09-29

Vietnam sees share offerings booming   2010-09-29

Tra fish anti-dumping tariff disputed   2010-09-29

Foreign currency market thought to be latent with risks   2010-09-29

Vietnam considers open-end funds   2010-09-29

Beautiful seascapes become private property?   2010-09-28

Foreign capital seduces Vietnamese enterprises   2010-09-28

BUSINESS IN BRIEF 28/9   2010-09-28