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BUSINESS IN BRIEF 21/1   2011-01-21 - Viet Nam Net

Group to support entrepreneurs


The HCM City Young Business people Association will continue to organise practical programmes to help its members develop, its chief has pledged.


Speaking at a meeting held on Monday to review its performance last year and set the agenda for this year, chairman Cao Tien Vi said it would organise more seminars and trade promotion programmes and offer consulting and training for businesses this year.


Last year there were many such programmes to help members stabilise their production and expand their markets, he said.


The association played an effective role by acting as a bridge between the Government and businesses, he said.


Its website had gradually become an important source of information for businesses.


Last year members contributed more than VND2.5 billion (US$128,200) for social and charitable activities.


Nguyen Thanh Tai, deputy chairman of the city People's Committee, hailed the YBA's achievements.


"With their creativity, young entrepreneurs have made significant contributions to the economic development of the country, especially HCM City. They are increasingly pioneering change and stimulate the market," he said.


Tai presented the city's Certificate of Merit to the YBA for its contribution to socio-economic development.


At the meeting the association admitted 41 new members, taking the total number to 828.


It was established in 1994 to represent and protect the legitimate interests of its members and promote the growth businesses.


Quang Trung Software City in chair


The Quang Trung Software City (QTSC) has been chosen as the chair of the Asia-Oceania Regional Software Park Alliance (SPA) for 2011 at the annual SPA's congress, held in Malaysia last week.


This is the second year the QTSC has taken part in the SPA.


"It proves that Viet Nam's information and communications technology industry has strongly developed," said director of the QTSC Chu Tien Dung.


He also pointed out that 2011 would be a year full of opportunities for software park managers as the global economy recovers.


Software improves dairy management


Dairy firm Nutifood are using the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.1.2.


"This is our first specific software to manage our system and it has already increased productivity by 15 per cent and reduced 30 per cent of time wastage," said Tran Thi Le, CEO of Nutifood Corporation.


The software, which was started installing from June 2010, is used in all activities of the firm, from receivables, payables, cash management, assets, inventory management, purchasing, process manufacturing, order management, advanced supply chain planning and general ledgers.


Maritime Bank earns $81.2m in 2010


Maritime Bank earned a pre-tax profit of VND1.7 trillion (US$ 81.2 million) in 2010, 151 per cent over its 2009 figure, reaching 46 per cent of its yearly target.


As of December 31, the bank's total assets amounted to VND116 trillion ($5.5 billion), reaching 126 per cent of its yearly plan and up 181 per cent against the same period of 2009.


Central province to host coffee fest


Buon Ma Thuot City, in the Tay Nguyen (Central Highland) province of Dak Lak will host the third Coffee Festival on March 10-13, announced Y Dham E Nuoi, vice chairman of the provincial People's Committee.


The four-day coffee festival will offer good opportunity for culture and trade promotion, speeding up local coffee exports and advertising the Buon Ma Thuot coffee and Viet Nam coffee brand in general, with the intention of promoting the sustainable development of the local coffee industry.


The fair is expected to feature local and foreign businesses displaying coffee products in 500 stalls.


Lunar New Year fair to open


ACS Co and the People's Committee of the northern port city of Hai Phong co-organised the Xuan Tan Mao Fair (Lunar New Year fair), which will run during January 19-25.


The fair attracts 100 local businesses to showcase Viet Nam-made and imported products in 200 booths. Trade promotional programmes will also be held during the fair.


Japanese firms get investment tick


The People's Committee of the central city of Da Nang issued investment licences for four Japanese firms on Tuesday.


Oishi, Amagasaki Seikan, Inoue Ribbon and Fukui Denka Koygo became the first foreign invested enterprises to receive investment licences in 2011. The projects are part of the Morino Group, a giant supplier of garment accessories for Adidas, Gucci, Nike and D&G.


Currently, around 55 Japanese enterprises are operating at six industrial parks in the area with an investment capital of US$300 million, generating jobs for over 15,000 local people.


FrieslandCampina ups milk purchasing


FrieslandCampina Viet Nam said it increased the milk purchasing price by VND500 to VND10,500 (US$0.50) on Wednesday.


This is the fourth increase in 10 months. The company said it would help farmers with the rise in input material costs. —VNS


PV Oil to auction Nam Viet Oil shares


PetroVietnam Oil Corporation will auction over 3 million shares it holds in Nam Viet Oil Refinery and Petrochemicals Joint Stock Company on February 17, the HCM City Stock Exchange announced.


The auction price starts from VND18,600 (US$0.95) per share. Information about the auction, submission of applications and financial deposits will begin from January 24.


Nam Viet Oil has a charter capital of VND200 billion ($10.3 million), and produces petroleum and petrochemical solvents. Last year, it took VND524 billion ($26.9 million) in revenue and VND13.88 billion ($711,800) in net profit.


Thang Long Invest Group raises stake in fund


Thang Long Invest Group bought 600,000 shares of Thang Long Meritz Fund Management Co from Meritz Securities Co, raising its total holdings in the fund from 50 per cent to 70 per cent.


Following the deal, Thang Long Invest owns 2.1 million shares, with the Meritz brokerage firm reducing its stake from 40 per cent to 20 per cent, or 600,000 shares.


Seafood company to pay 30% cash dividend


Ben Tre Aquaproduct Import and Export Co (ABT) set January 27 as the deadline for its shareholders to register to participate in 2010's second-phase dividend payout. The company expects to pay 30 per cent cash dividend on February 15.


Construction Lilama 10 Co (L10) also announced it planned to pay 2010's first-phase dividends in cash at a ratio of 8 per cent in the first quarter of this year. The total payout is estimated at over VND7.1 billion (US$365,100).


EVN to sell 19.6 million shares of Thac Mo


Electricity of Viet Nam (EVN) registered to sell a 28-per-cent stake, or 19.6 million shares, in its HCM City bourse-listed Thac Mo Hydropower Co (TMP) from January 20 to February 26.


The group currently holds almost 56 million TMP shares, equivalent to over 79.9 per cent in the hydropower company.


Transactions will be carried out through a negotiation method and the capital raised from the sale will be invested in other projects.


Hoa Phat Group earnings total $743.6 million


Industrial conglomerate Hoa Phat Group (HPG) estimates its revenue will reach almost VND14.5 trillion (US$743.6 million) in 2010, a year-on-year increase of 75 per cent, exceeding its annual target by 17 per cent.


In 2011, the group targets VND16 trillion ($820.5 million) in revenue and VND1.62 trillion ($83.1 million) in net profit.


Foreign investors shore up Index


Buoyed by heavy foreign investor interest in a few key stocks, the VN-Index gained 1.2 per cent yesterday to close the day's session on the HCM City Stock Exchange at 511.98 points – even as declining shares outnumbered gainers by 129-99.


Bao Viet Holdings (BVH) and Masan Group (MSN), both having a large impact on movements of the VN-Index, each rose to their ceiling prices yesterday, with foreign investors accounting for over 80 per cent of the volume in both stocks.


"Normally, foreign investors favour banking and financial stocks, but most of these have already bumped up against the foreign-ownership ceiling, so they have shifted to other blue chips like BVH or MSN," said Le Chi Thanh, a securities analyst with a Ha Noi-based securities firm.


Foreign investment funds might be playing a shell game of stepping up buying of certain blue chips that have a heavy influence on the VN-Index, thereby increasing the net value of their entire portfolios, said an expert familiar with the industry who asked to remain anonymous.


Foreign investors bought a net of 2.3 million shares on the HCM City exchange yesterday, accounting for 18.2 per cent of the total market volume of 41.2 million shares. The value of trades remained modest at VND1.1 trillion (US$52.4 million).


On the Ha Noi Stock Exchange, the HNX-Index fell for a third day, closing off by 0.23 per cent to 107.02 points. The volume of trades continued low at 21.6 million shares, worth a total of VND394.9 billion ($18.8 million).


Tien Phong Plastics (NTP) and Asia Commercial Bank (ACB) were the only leading shares by capitalisation to post gains on the day.


Yesterday, the Ha Noi Statistics Office announced January inflation data for Ha Noi, showing a 1.68 per-cent increase over December. HCM City inflation data for January showed a more modest 1.01 per cent increase.


Domestic gold prices plummet


Domestic gold prices on January 21 continued to decrease by nearly VND300,000 per tael compared to the previous day.


In HCM City, SJC gold was traded at VND35.17-35.24 million per tael while SBJ gold hovered around VND35.18-35.28 million per tael.


In Hanoi, SJC gold was sold at VND35.26 million per tael and purchased at VND35.17 million. Thang Long Dragon Gold at Bao Tin Minh Chau company was listed at VND35.18-35.28 million per tael.


The sharp decrease in the gold prices is attributed to the fact that people want to buy consumer goods on the occasion of the Lunar New Year Festival.


In the world market, gold prices also dropped remarkably by US$1.343.75 per ounce on January 21, the lowest level since November 19, 2010.


Mascot looking to sew up Vietnamese market


Danish Mascot International Vietnam Company is planning to intensify its niche in Vietnam.


The company’s managing director Thomas Bo Pedersen told VIR that Mascot wanted to invest more into Vietnam’s lucrative garment industry.


“I can confirm that we have decided to invest an additional $24 million to build our second garment factory in Vietnam. This is due to our longer term strategy for our presence in the country,” Pedersen said.


“We expect to triple the capacity with the new factory,” he said.


He said that Mascot had experienced strong growth of approximately 20 per cent in its European market during 2010. The company expected this growth to continue. Therefore, it needed more production capacity to meet the demands of our customers.


“Our experience as an investor in Vietnam has been very positive, and therefore it is a natural choice for us to further develop Mascot International Vietnam,” Pedersen said.


In the spring of 2008, Mascot opened its $10 million 15,000sqm-factory in northern Hai Duong province, about 40 kilometres from Hanoi.


Mascot International is an international family-owned business, which develops, manufactures and markets high-quality work-wear and safety footwear for craftsmen and industries.


For many years, the company has experienced rapid growth in turnover as well as revenue. At present, it has a staff of more than 1,300 competent and committed employees in Europe and Vietnam as well as a great number of workers in sewing factories in the Far East.


Listed firms unveil results


Many listed firms in the country have unveiled positive 2010 profits and growths on their websites although most of them have yet to send consolidated financial statements to securities watchdogs as the deadline is still days away.


Thanh Nam Construction and Investment Co. (CSC) is among the first enterprises to announce fourth quarter and 2010 reports. CSC obtained over VND400 billion in revenues, surging by 134% against 2009.


PetroVietnam Fertilizer and Chemicals Corp. (DPM), meanwhile, gained VND6.4 trillion in revenue and VND1.8 trillion in pre-tax profit, or 13% and 84% higher than its 2010’s targets. The enterprise last year increased fertilizer and packaging productions, as well as earned strong profits by importing 150,000 tons of fertilizer for distribution on the local market.


Ninh Hoa Sugar Co. (NHS) also saw its profit doubling the annual plan to VND100 billion, primarily due to sugar price hikes in Vietnam, said NHS general director Nguyen Thi Hoa.


Hoa Binh Construction & Real Estate Corp. (HBC) expects to obtain VND133 billion in after-tax profit, or 40% higher than the 2010’s plan.


Nguyen Dao Thinh, chairman of Vietnam Petroleum Transport Co. (VIP), said real estate contributed a major ratio to the enterprise’s 2010 profit of VND100 billion while international transport business remained poor. VIP earlier targeted to obtain VND74.2 billion in after-tax profit in 2010.


However, some enterprises said they might fail to reach 2010 targets due to macro-economic issues like high lending rates and inflation. Sacom Development and Investment Corporation (SAM) expected its profit to drop 20% year-on-year to VND200 billion given some disappointing property projects and deductions for the forex risk management fund.


Meanwhile, securities enterprises posted losses last year. Bao Viet Securities Co. incurred a loss of VND92 billion while Kim Long Securities Co. lost nearly VND173 billion.


A securities expert said financial reports of the fourth quarter of 2010 would not show strong quarter-on-quarter growth. Therefore, most listed enterprises may post a 20% growth rate against 2009.


The figures will support the market within the next two months. Many brokers expect the VN-Index to increase slightly next month as investors have begun to acquire stocks with good earning reports.


Securities watchdog scraps drug firm public offering


The State Securities Commission of Vietnam has canceled Ho Chi Minh City-based Vien Dong Pharmaceutical Joint Stock Company’s public offering of over 7 million shares for issuing a misleading prospectus with inadequate and inaccurate information.


It had suspended the issue last November and gave Vien Dong 60 days to rectify the situation.


But with the deadline passing, Vien Dong failed to do so, the SSC said, ordering the company to refund the VND69 billion (US$3.5 million) it had collected from applicants.


Le Van Dung, Vien Dong’s former chairman and CEO, and three associates were earlier detained for involvement in a stock manipulation case related to the Hanoi-listed Ha Tay Pharmaceutical Joint Stock Company in which Dung has a major stake.


The possible fraud is still under investigation.


Ben Tre sets 14% growth target


The Government has set a growth rate of 13.8 per cent for the southern province of Ben Tre for the next 10-year period.


The socio-economic development plan for the province through 2020, approved by Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, calls for an export revenue of US$1.4 billion in 2020.


The province will bring into play its advantages in the garden and marine economy in its aim to reach a similar growth rate of nearby provinces.


Under the plan, the annual growth rate of the agricultural and forestry sector will be 6.3 per cent.


Products to be developed include fruit, coconuts, seafood, ornamental trees, pork and beef. Rice will be farmed on around 25,000 hectares.


The mainstay of the economy in Ben Tre is the garden and orchard economy, which will be carried out on 87,600ha of agricultural land.


About 54,000ha of land will be reserved for planting coconut trees. In addition, 31,000ha of water surface will be set aside for breeding shrimp and fish.


For the industrial sector, the province plans growth at 22 per cent every year.


The mainstay of the industrial sector will be food processing, chemicals, garments, handicrafts and electronic products.


The province's export turnover is expected to have an annual growth of 20 per cent over the 10-year period, thanks to co-operation with neighbouring localities.


In addition, the province has targeted reducing the poverty rate from 17 per cent to 7 per cent over the next five years.


$1.5 billion target set for tra fish exports


Viet Nam has targeted up to $1.55 billion earnings from tra fish exports this year, a year-on-year increase of 10.7 per cent, said the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development in a Mekong Delta summation conference held in Can Tho Province yesterday.


The ministry also said the total of tra small fry in the region would be 2.5-2.6 billion and the total yield was estimated to be 1.2-1.3 million tonnes.


This year, tra fish raising would be developed in a stable way, said Ministry Deputy Vu Van Tam. The sector planned to have the same yield and area of raising tra fish as last year.


Last year's results were also announced at the conference.


The region raise 2.4 billion small fry and harvested nearly 1.15 million tonnes of tra fish last year.


In the first 11 months of last year, Viet Nam earned $1.3 billion from exporting 600,000 tonnes of tra fish, year-on-year reductions of 2.8 per cent in volume and 7.8 per cent in value.


For the whole year, the total export turnover and volume were estimated to be $1.4 billion and 645,000 tonnes.


The ministry attributed the downturn to the high price of feed.


Last year, the EU was the biggest importer of Vietnamese tra fish, taking about 36 per cent of the country's total export turnover.


The EU was followed by the US, Mexico and Russia.


More firms to deal in puffer fish


The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development plans to allow more foreign companies to participate in an ongoing programme to export puffer fish after the sole foreign partner stopped imports recently.


The ministry chose two provinces — Kien Giang in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta and Khanh Hoa on the central coast — to implement the pilot project in 2010-11.


It also chose South Korea's Poseidon Seafood Co as the sole buyer of processed puffer fish from Viet Nam.


The Korean firm had provided the Vietnamese processors the technology to process the deadly fish.


The ministry chose just one buyer to ensure it can keep a close eye on the shipments of the toxic fish during the trial period, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Luong Le Phuong said.


Speaking at a meeting held in Nha Trang on Monday to review the project's progress, he said more foreign companies would be allowed to import the fish to avoid a monopoly situation.


Nguyen Thi Ngoc Phuong, deputy director of the Kien Giang Province Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said licences had been granted for 77 fishing boats to catch puffer fish, four purchasing units, and Mai Sao Seafood Company to process and export it.


Mai Sao has bought more than 90 tonnes of the fish since August 2010 but the Korean firm, which bought only 22 tonnes, has recently stopped imports due to low demand.


Poseidon also informed Mai Sao last November and December that Vietnamese puffer fish could not compete with Indonesian puffer fish for size and freshness.


But Nguyen Vu Phuong, head of Mai Sao's technology department, said though his company had strictly followed Poseidon's instructions, the Korean company still refused to continue imports.


He wanted the ministry to persuade Poseidon to buy its entire stock or allow Mai Sao to look for other buyers.


The deputy minister said if Poseidon does not buy the fish, the ministry will allow Mai Sao to find other partners.


"There are two other South Korea companies seeking to buy puffer fish," he said.


Young Shik Kim, director of Poseidon, said his company would work with Mai Sao to solve the problem.


Phuong said the ministry was seeking to expand the project to Phu Yen, Quang Ninh, and Nghe An provinces.


Retail chain to boost quality of food, farm produce


Ho Chi Minh-based retailer Saigon Co.op will get assistance under the Food and Agricultural Products Quality Development and Control Project (FAPQDCP) project to boost quality and safety of its farm and food products.


Following the agreement signed Monday by the participants, FAPQDCP provides Saigon Co.op with staff training and technology support in processing, packaging, preserving fresh fruit and vegetables during purchasing and distributing process.


The 2008-2013 project, funded by Canada International Development Agency (CIDA), incorporates many other pilot projects in 12 provinces and includes many food commodities chain’s stakeholders, from food producers, processors, distributors, to wholesalers and retailers.


Saigon Co.op, with its chain of 50 Co.op Mart retail supermarkets spreading across the provinces, is the first retailer in Vietnam to be chosen to join the project.


Golden Dragon awards laud top foreign firms


Eighty foreign-invested businesses from various sectors will be awarded the Golden Dragon Award for excellent business performances in 2010.


The finance, banking and insurance sector excelled with 15 winners, followed by real estate and services with 13. Other awards went to businesses involved in construction and building materials, the automotive industry, agriculture, forestry and fisheries, electronics and education.


"Along with the foreign-invested business community in Viet Nam, the award winners have made significant contributions to the country's economic structure and enhanced its industrial production capacity," said the editor-in-chief of the Vietnam Economic Times, Dao Nguyen Cat during a press conference yesterday.


They had also contributed to speeding up technical transfer and administrative procedure reforms as well as improving the transparency of the country's investment climate, he noted.


The Golden Dragon Awards had encouraged our efforts to make a long-term investment in Viet Nam, said Gavan Iacono, general director of Language Link Viet Nam, one of this year's winners.


The country's future was rosy if it could continue to attract investment both externally and internally, he said, adding that the bigger priority was domestic investment.


"History tells us that foreign investors were the first to leave when things got challenging so focusing on developing local investment would set Viet Nam up for the long-term."


"International investment is still very important, and I'd like to see a good balance between the two," he said.


The annual awards have been organised by Vietnam Economic Times and the Ministry of Planning and Investment's Foreign Investment Agency for a decade now and this is the 10th consecutive year the awards have been conferred on outstanding businesses.


The awards ceremony will take place in Ha Noi this Sunday.


New regulation governs bid review process


The Ministry of Planning and Investment issued Circular No 01/2011/TT-BKHDT on January 4, governing bid review which are implemented by organisations and individuals authorised by competent agencies. Circular No 01 is intended to assist agencies and units with functions and responsibilities to manage bid processes, to carry out the courses of training on bid, to bid and other related activities with provisions and principles and procedures of bid reviews. The regulation includes sample procedures. Circular No 01 takes effect on February 30, 2011, and replaces Ministry of Planning and Investment Decision No 327/2007/QD-BKH of April 2007.


Decision aids SMEs to receive loan guarantees


The Prime Minister issued Decision No 03/2011/QD-TTg on January 10 on guaranteed loans for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Under the decision, the Viet Nam Development Bank is obligated to guarantee loans from commercial banks in Viet Nam for SMEs operating in agriculture, processing, manufacturing and construction as regulated in Decree No 56/2009/ND-CP. A qualifying will receive a guarantee from the Development Bank within 30 days of applicaiton. The new decision takes effect on February 25 and replaces Decision No 14/2009/QD-TTg and Decision No 60/2009/QD-TTg.


Japan eyes farm, retail sectors


Viet Nam's retail, distribution and agriculture production sectors, along with the real estate market, are attracting more interest from Japanese investors in 2011, domestic investment funds say.


Japanese companies were investing heavily in foreign countries because of their unstable domestic market, and Viet Nam was one of their priority choices, said deputy director of the Sai Gon - Mekong Joint Stock Company Ho Van Tuyen.


Tuyen said that his company was in talks with a number of Japanese companies who were interested in investing in Viet Nam.


He also added that those companies had a special interest in the retail, distribution and agricultural sectors.


In an interview with domestic media, chairman of the Sai Gon Invest Group Dang Thanh Tam said that Japanese companies would invest strongly in Viet Nam this year.


Tam said that the Japanese Prime Minister had mentioned Viet Nam many times at a recent APEC forum at which Tam himself participated in 20 meetings with Japanese companies.


He added that he was regularly receiving leaders of large Japanese companies, showing the interest they had in the Vietnamese market.


Japanese companies have already started to infiltrate the market. Mini Stop, a famous Japanese convenience store chain, has already formed an agreement with Viet Nam's Trung Nguyen Group, and branches of Mizuho Corporate Bank Ltd in HCM City and Ha Noi have been allowed to increase their capital from US$15 million to $133.5 million, a move appreciated by local investors.


This was evidence that a fresh wave of Japanese investment would be arriving in Viet Nam soon, said an investor.

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