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BUSINESS IN BRIEF 25/9 – News VietNamNet

HCM City to host int’l property, architecture expo


Real estate, architecture and interior and exterior decoration companies will showcase their latest products at Vietbuild International Exhibition to be held in HCM City from September 27 to October 1.

The second Vietbuild to be held in the city this year will have 2,500 booths, nearly 100 more than last year, set up by nearly 900 domestic and foreign companies from 27 countries and territories, including  Australia, the United States, Russia, France, China, the Republic of Korea, Japan, Thailand and Singapore.

They will showcase property projects, electrical equipment, doors and accessories, internal and external decorative items, building materials, solar energy systems and others. Conferences and business  meetings would be held on the sidelines.

Nguyen Dinh Hung, chairman of the Vietbuild Construction International Exhibition Organising Corporation, said the expo would be a good forum for local and international businesses to meet and tie up.

Participation by foreign companies in the exhibition is increasing, with more than 500 coming this time. Nguyen Tran Nam, a former deputy construction minister and head of the exhibition organising board,  called for greater participation by Vietnamese firms to promote locally made building materials as well as internal and external decorative items.

The expo will be held at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Centre in District 7.

Reference exchange rate down at week’s beginning

The daily reference exchange rate for VND/USD was set at 22,448 VND per USD on September 25, the first day of the week, down 2 VND from the last day of previous week. 

With the current trading band of +/-3 percent, the ceiling rate applied to commercial banks during the day is 23,120 VND and the floor rate 21,776 VND per USD. 

The opening hour rates at major commercial banks saw slight fluctuations. 

Vietcombank cut both buying and selling rates by 5 VND compared to September 22. It is buying the greenback at 22,695 VND and selling at 22,765 VND. 

Meanwhile, the rates listed at BIDV went up by 5 VND to 22,700 VND (buying) and 22,770 VND (selling). 

Techcombank maintained the same rates as on September 22, at 22,680 VND (buying) and 22,780 VND (selling) per USD.

Speculative stocks muddy market trends

Investors are shifting off blue chips and flirting with speculative stocks, making it more difficult to predict market trends.

Many speculative stocks posted impressive growth last week and their gains even far exceeded the increases of the two main stock indices.

The benchmark VN-Index on the HCM Stock Exchange inched up just 0.16 percent last week, closing September 22 at 807.13 points. On the Hanoi Stock Exchange, the HNX-Index rose by a stronger 1.94  percent, ending the week at 106.52 points.

Meanwhile, KLF Joint Venture Global Investment (KLF), a penny stock on the Hanoi bourse, cheered a seven-session rising streak, with its shares hitting the daily maximum rise for the last six sessions.

KLF has gained over 55 percent in the past seven sessions with a total of 127 million shares traded.

In the HCM City’s market, HUD1 Investment & Construction (HU1) was the best performer last week with a growth of 30.8 percent. Investors are betting on the firm’s third-quarter earnings, which its chairman  has said would see the best business results in the company’s history.

Property developer An Duong Thao Dien JSC (HAR) came second with a weekly gain of 17.5 percent.

Increasing cash flows in speculative stocks also stimulated trading and helped push up market liquidity.

An average of 223.5 million shares worth 4 trillion VND (176.2 million USD) were traded per session in the two markets, up 19.3 percent compared to the previous session.

Meanwhile, blue chips in the VN30 (which tracks the top 30 largest shares by market value and liquidity on the HCM Stock Exchange) widened divergence.

Vietinbank (CTG), BIDV (BID), IT group FPT (FPT) and steelmaker Hoa Phat Group (HPG) were gainers with growth of between 2-4 percent, but private equity Masan Group (MSN) declined 7.3 percent and  dairy giant Vinamilk dropped by less than 1 percent.

Weakening of large-cap stocks slowed down the market uptrend and made the market more volatile.

“This is a very difficult time for short-term opportunities,” said Nguyen Huu Binh, head of analysis at Vietnam Investment Securities Co. Binh said many major stocks with sound financial indicators have risen at  least 20 percent in the past two months, whereas investment in speculative stocks is often associated with high risks.

He cited the example of HAI Agrochem JSC (HAI), which climbed from just 4,000 VND a share at the end of June to over 21,000 VND in early August but declined sharply since then to around 10,000 VND  last week.

“I personally think that investors should ignore short-term factors and seek stocks with positive elements but have yet to increase much for medium investment purpose,” Binh was quoted as saying on  tinhnhanhchungkhoan.vn.

Last week, oil and gas stocks moved in line with global oil prices. They declined in the first three sessions and rebounded in the two week end sessions. Ending September 22, Petrolimex (PLX) lost 5.4  percent while PV Gas (GAS) closed unchanged.

According to market observers, oil and gas stocks are likely to increase this week as oil prices reached over 50 USD a barrel in world markets.

New York’s light sweet crude (WTI) delivery in November rose 11 cents, or 0.2 percent, to 50.66 USD in New York. Meanwhile, in the London market, Brent crude oil delivery also advanced 0.8 percent to  56.86 USD a barrel.

For the whole week, WTI oil added 1.5 percent, marking the third weekly gain. Brent Oil also gained 2.2 percent for its fourth straight week of gains.

In addition, forecasts also point to gold trading as safe and profitable in the context of rising global political instability.

Phu Nhuan Jewelry JSC (PNJ) has climbed 51.5 percent since early this year, from 75,500 VND a share on January 3 to 114,400 VND on September 22.

Vietnamese dragon fruit on Australian shelves

Vietnamese dragon fruit went up for sale at Australian grocery stores from September 24 after nine years of negotiations, following lychees and mangoes.

The first batch of Vietnamese dragon fruit was exported to Australia by Hoang Phat one-member Ltd Co in the southern province of Long An.

According to Nguyen Thi Hoang Thuy, head of the Vietnamese trade office in Australia, this is a good opportunity for Vietnamese businesses as quality dragon fruit will be sold at high prices. Australian  consumers currently purchase off-season dragon fruit at 30 AUD per kilogrammes (23.89 USD). 

Export enterprises need to pay attention to food safety and hygiene and quarantines to earn a foothold in Australia’s fastidious market, she added.

The Vietnamese Trade Office in Australia is working with the Embassy and Vietnamese Consulate General in Sydney to promote Vietnamese dragon fruit, with activities including include short videos, books  and leaflets. The Vietnamese Dragon Fruit Day is scheduled for September 30 in Melbourne.

The office will work with the Australian Fruit and Vegetable Associations to promote fruit trade between two countries, comprising a programme to enhance Vietnamese businesses’ competitiveness and bring  Vietnamese dragon fruit to Australia’s supply chain.

Dragon fruit is one of Vietnam’s key export fruits, and saw export sales of 895.7 million USD in 2016, 50.3 percent of the country’s total fresh fruit exports and 36.1 percent of its total fruit and vegetable exports.

Vietnamese dragon fruit has been exported to 40 countries and territories such as China, Thailand and Indonesia.

Long An province earns about 40 million USD annually from dragon fruit export. The province has defined dragon fruit as its second most important crop, only after rice.

Granite factory: Vietcombank inks lending deal worth VNĐ400b     

Two branches of the Bank for Foreign Trade of Viet Nam (Vietcombank) have won a contract to provide loans for the expansion of a granite factory.

Located in the La Son Industrial Zone, Phu Loc District, Thua Thien-Hue Province, the factory belongs to Vitto Phu Loc Co Ltd, a subsidiary of Vitto Group.

Under the contract, the two branches — Vietcombank Vinh Phuc in the northern province of Vinh Phuc and Vietcombank Hue in the central province of Thua Thien-Hue — will grant a credit package worth  VND400 billion (US$17.8 million) for the factory’s second phase.

Vitto Phu Loc Co Ltd is a large granite producer in the central region, with productivity of 12 million sq.m per year. With investment of VND600 billion in the second phase of the factory, the company is planning  to increase productivity by 7.2 million sq.m per year.

Earlier, at the end of August, Vietcombank signed credit agreements for two investment projects under the Public-Private-Partnership with HCM City’s Department of Planning and Investment.

Specifically, the projects include a new facility of Children 1’s Hospital, worth VND800 billion, and construction of Tan Phu Hospital, worth VND973 billion. 

Reforms needed to help SMEs get credit: experts     

As the importance of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to the Vietnamese economy grows, experts are calling on the Government to reform the system of credit guarantee funds that are designed  to increase SMEs’ access to long-term financing.

Though SMEs account for 97 per cent of the country’s firms and 60 per cent of the total number of jobs throughout the country, they face a range of problems, including limited technology and management  expertise and a lack of available financing—70 percent of SMEs report they have been unable to access credit. The Government has been eager to support such firms, but the Ministry of Planning and  

Investment pointed out that the impact of 80 per cent of SME support programmes and policies have not been evaluated, while others, including credit guarantee funds, have demonstrated clear problems.

According to Dang Duc Anh from the National Centre for Socio-Economic Information and Forecast, the efficiency of these funds in supporting SMEs’ credit access remains disappointing. The funds were  established to provide credit for firms unable to meet banks’ stricter lending standards.

Duc Anh pointed out that it has been over 16 years since the last Prime Minister’s decision on issuing SME credit guarantee funds was issued. Since then, only 27 such funds have been established, while  many have minimal financial capacity and have not even reached the minimum capital requirement of VND30 billion (US$1.3 million).

The total charter capital of SME credit guarantee funds is estimated at only around VND1.5 trillion, which provides guarantees for just 3.2 per cent of SMEs’ total outstanding loans of VND1.3 quadrillion.

The funds have also not significantly improved SMEs ability to secure financing: nearly three-quarters of SMEs have failed to access credit, according to the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Credit guarantee funds have demanded excessively strict requirements for SMEs to receive their guarantees, including requirements on mortgage assets that are little different from the lending policies of  banks, according to Duc Anh.

“If SMEs already have mortgage assets, they can borrow money from banks and might not need guarantees from the funds,” he added.

Nguyen Thi Lan from the University of Foreign Trade’s Finance and Banking Faculty told chinhphu.vn that credit guarantee funds should not seek to avoid risks by limiting their operations or setting  excessively strict lending requirements. “The funds must provide other options,” she added.

Experts have stressed that a policy of risk sharing between credit guarantee funds and banks should be adopted. Under such a policy, the funds and banks will share the responsibility of paying off the  remaining debts of enterprises if they become insolvent. The potential ratio could be 80 per cent for the funds and 20 per cent for the banks, or 70 per cent and 30 per cent, respectively. The funds are  currently responsible for paying off 100 per cent.

Tran Thi Thanh Tu from Viet Nam National University, Ha Noi, stressed that credit guarantee funds should co-operate with SME associations in evaluating loan guarantees. 

TPP nations achieve progress toward new free trade deal     

The Trans-Pacific Partnership nations have made progress toward a new free trade agreement slated for November following the US withdrawal from the pact, according to Japanese chief negotiator of the  Trans-Pacific Partnership Kazuyoshi Umemoto.

Umemoto was quoted by Japanese news agency Kyodo as saying so to the press on September 22 after two days of negotiations in Tokyo. He also said chief negotiators of the 11 TPP member countries  agreed to meet again next month, adding that they aim to clinch a new deal at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Viet Nam in November.

During the latest round of negotiation, three working groups on legal, intellectual property and other issues discussed member economies’ requests for freezes on parts of the original agreement, particularly  clauses introduced at the US request.

The TPP was signed in February 2016 by Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the US and Viet Nam, covering around 40 per cent of the global  economy.

The US withdrew from the pact after President Donald Trump took office in January. 

Stocks mixed, trading liquidity remains low     

Shares were mixed on Monday morning with low market liquidity while large-cap stocks continued performing negatively.

The benchmark VN Index on the HCM Stock Exchange inched down 0.22 per cent to close at 805.35 points. It moved up 0.4 per cent on Friday.

The HNX Index on the Ha Noi Stock Exchange, however, extended gains following a three-day increase of 1.7 per cent, gaining 0.22 per cent to end Monday morning at 106.75 points.

More than 122.2 million shares were traded on both local bourses, worth VND2.08 trillion (US$92.5 million).

Large-cap stocks traded in negative territory as investors shifted attention to speculative stocks.

On the VN30 Index, which tracks the performance of the 30 largest companies by market capitalisation and trading liquidity, 18 stocks declined while nine others recorded gains.

Decliners on the VN30 Index included FLC Faros Construction (ROS), Binh Minh Plastic JSC (BMP), brewer Sabeco (SAB) and steel producer Hoa Sen Group (HSG).

Consumer goods producer Masan Group (MSN), Sacombank (STB) and DHG Pharmaceutical JSC (DHG) were, meanwhile, among the gainers.

Speculative stocks remained quite attractive to investors. Property developer FLC Group (FLC) was the most active stock on the market with more than six million shares traded.

The afternoon session starts at 1pm.

Stock price manipulation could send investors to court     

Investors could face criminal charges if they try to manipulate stock prices to earn illegal profits and cause damage to the market and listed companies.

According to the State Securities Commission (SSC), there are fines and penalties for violations that individual investors commit on the securities market.

The highest penalty for violations on the securities market is VND1 billion (US$44,400) for individual investors, according to Decree 108/2913/ND-CP issued in September 2013.

The SSC has recently issued several penalties for investors who violate market regulations on stock trading.

On September 1, investor Phan Sy Hai was fined VND550 million for using 28 accounts, including three under his name, to create false information to illegally trade shares of Vimedimex Pharmaceutical JSC  (HOSE: VMD).

On August 10, the SSC decided to issue a fine of VND600 million – the highest penalty on Viet Nam’s stock market – to Tran Thi Minh Phuong for using 42 accounts, including three under her name, to  illegally trade shares of HAGL Agrico (HOSE: HNG).

However, those fines have proved to be ineffective in reducing the number of violations by individual investors in the securities market, such as internal trading and manipulation of stock prices.

Therefore, the Ministry of Finance on August 22 released Document 20/VBHN-BTC to regulate penalties and fines for those who commit violations on the securities trading market.

The document was published by the finance ministry on August 22 this year to combine Circular 217/2013/TT-BTC and Circular 36/2017/TT-BTC, both of which were regulatory policies from the finance  ministry.

Circular 217 was issued on December 31, 2013, to regulate penalties and fines for violations committed in the securities market, and Circular 36 was dated April 27, 2017, as an amendment to Circular 217.

Under the Document 20, if an investor is suspected of having conducted illegal transactions that could cause heavy damages to companies, share prices or the stock market, the market regulators must  report the case to the police for criminal prosecution. 

Firms warned of difficulties in issuing shares

In October Đông Hải Bến Tre Joint Stock Company (DHC) will issue nearly nine million shares to raise VNĐ130 billion (US$5.73 million).

It will issue 5.2 million of the shares to existing shareholders at a price of VNĐ18,000. The money raised through the issuance will be used for the second phase of the Giao Long Paper Plant.

DHC will also issue 1.2 million shares under the employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) and 2.6 million shares will be issued to mobilise capital for paying dividends.

The HCMC Infrastructure Investment Joint Stock Company (CII) recently held an extraordinary general meeting to get shareholders’ approval for selling more than 123 million shares to existing shareholders at  par in the fourth quarter of this year. The company expects to raise VNĐ1.23 trillion ($54.23 million) through the exercise.

The meeting also approved a proposal to sell 17.7 million shares to Rhinos Asset Management Fund at a price of VNĐ24,490 per share to raise an estimated VNĐ434 billion.

CII needs large sums of money for several build-operation-transfer projects it has lined up, like the Hà Nội Express Way, 152 Điện Biên Phủ Express Way and projects in the Thủ Thiêm New Urban Area in  HCM City.

Analysts said the economy was showing signs of recovery in addition to positive moves by the stock market this year, which was encouraging many enterprises to hit the market to mobilise funds.

They said the stock market had been one of the most popular avenues for enterprises to raise capital in recent years, but it was not really working any longer.

They routinely faced difficulties with rights issues, and after failing to persuade existing shareholders to subscribe, offered the shares to strategic partners. But that had not been proving easy either due to  various reasons.

Some enterprises tried to issue shares to debtors to convert their debt into equity, but faced the same problem as with rights issues.

Int’l property, architecture expo in HCMC

Real estate, architecture and interior and exterior decoration companies will showcase their latest products at Vietbuild International Exhibition to be held in HCM City from September 27 to October 1.

The second Vietbuild to be held in the city this year will have 2,500 booths, nearly 100 more than last year, set up by nearly 900 domestic and foreign companies from 27 countries and territories, including  Australia, the United States, Russia, France, China, South Korea, Japan, Thailand and Singapore.

They will showcase property projects, electrical equipment, doors and accessories, internal and external decorative items, building materials, solar energy systems and others. Conferences and business  meetings would be held on the sidelines.

Nguyễn Đình Hùng, chairman of the Vietbuild Construction International Exhibition Organising Corporation, said the expo would be a good forum for local and international businesses to meet and tie up.

Participation by foreign companies in the exhibition is increasing, with more than 500 coming this time. Nguyễn Trần Nam, a former deputy construction minister and head of the exhibition organising board,  called for greater participation by Vietnamese firms to promote locally made building materials as well as internal and external decorative items.

The expo will be held at the Saigon Exhibition and Convention Centre in District 7.

Masan to buy back up to 10 per cent of common stock

Masan’s buyback of its common stock is seen as one of the group’s attempts to respond to the expectations of shareholders.

Masan Group Corporation (Masan, ticker MSN on HOSE) today announced that the group’s Board of Directors has approved the buyback of up to 10 per cent of the company’s total issued shares, subject to  market conditions.

Masan believes that the weighted average trading price over the recent period for its shares undervalues the company, which owns and operates market-leading platforms across key sectors of Vietnam’s  growing economy.

As such, Masan believes the planned buyback is the optimal use of its cash holdings and reflects Masan’s confidence in its strategic direction and financial outlook. The buyback will be implemented by the  company’s disciplined approach to capital allocation and balance sheet optimisation.

The buyback also reflects Masan’s commitment to engaging with and serving its diverse shareholder base. Purchasing shares allows Masan to return cash to its investors who are interested in immediate  liquidity, while remaining shareholders can benefit from Masan’s three-year strategic outlook.

With the buyback of its common stock, in addition to the previous buyback of over nine million shares in October 2016, the pay down of expensive debts, and a cash balance to further consolidate stakes in its  subsidiaries, Masan aims to increase its return on equity while maintaining its financial discipline and building a healthier balance sheet.

The buyback is subject to customary regulatory approvals and market conditions. Masan said that further details about the buyback will be released later.

Currently, Masan has a chartered capital of more than VND1.157 trillion ($60 million). It is expected that Masan will purchase a maximum number of 115 million shares.

In 2016, Masan’s consolidated revenue was nearly VND26 trillion ($1.1 billion) thanks to a wide range of well-known brands, such as Chinsu and Tam Thai Tu soy sauces, Nam Ngu fish sauce, Omachi and  Kokomi instant noodle, and Vinacafe and Wake-up coffee.

Realising the importance of positioning a brand in the success of an enterprise, Masan focuses on both quality and marketing.

In particular, Masan spent about VND1.5 trillion ($66 million) advertising in 2015, an equivalent of 11 per cent of its total revenue. In the first half of 2016, this figure increased by 26 per cent compared to the  same period of 2015.

Meanwhile, Masan has been constantly investing in research and development (R&D) activities to come up with new and high-quality products, such as the Omachi Special containing real meat, which was  introduced to the market in early 2017.

Masan now possesses a variety of valuable brands in the fields of food and beverage, thanks to their understanding and meeting the daily needs of Vietnamese consumers. The company is now considered  one of the Vietnamese enterprises that have the capacity to compete with global brands around the world.

2017 textile & garment exports forecast to increase 8-9%

Textile and garment exports are expected to increase 8 to 9 per cent this year.

August exports reached $2.68 billion, up 8.6 per cent against July, for an eight-month figure of $16.86 billion, up 8.2 per cent year-on-year.

Exports to the US stood at $8.16 billion, up 7.3 per cent, to the EU $2.47 billion, up 4.1 per cent, to Japan $1.97 billion, up 5 per cent, and to South Korea $1.56 billion, up 12.6 per cent.

Exports have been effected by many factors, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT).

Growth in Vietnam’s biggest import markets, including the US and the EU, has slowed, while rising in South Korea and Russia through free trade agreements (FTAs).

Vietnam’s textile sector is also experiencing a number of favorable factors. In particular, the EU has approved rules on the accumulation of origin for raw materials for Vietnam.

Exports, however, are still forecast to be affected by global factors, such as US President Donald Trump’s trade protection policies and the impact of the US Federal Reserve’s adjustments to interest rates.

Vietnam’s competitors are also likely to continue support their textile and garment industries through tax policies and currency devaluations.

Vietnam’s textile sector has also been affected by high costs and a lack of human resources, which impact on competitive capacity.

Based on its analysis, MoIT said the garment sector will not see many changes over the closing months of the year.

HAGL bananas now available in China

After two months of harvesting, bananas from the Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL) Group are now being sold at many large supermarket chains in Chinese cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu, Zhejiang,  and Dalian through partners such as Dechang Fruit and Tai He Fruit.

The quality of HAGL’s bananas are favored by Chinese consumers and are being sold at prices equal to those imported from the Philippines.

The group’s Cambodian partners have also begun selling its bananas at supermarkets in the country’s capital of Phnom Penh. In Vietnam, the Bach Hoa Xanh supermarket network, belonging to the Mobile  World Corporation (MWG), now sells 2 tons of HAGL bananas each day; double the figure of just a month ago.

As at June, HAGL had planted more than 2,800 ha of bananas in a number of orchards in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. The first crop can be harvested nine months after planting and then every six  months. HAGL is now harvesting its first crop, on an area of 1,000 ha, which is expected to produce 50,000 tons for export.

More than 2,800 ha of planted bananas will yield two crops next year, with a dramatic increase to be seen in exports compared to this year.

With advantages from such a large scale, a regular supply, and stable quality that meets Global GAP standards, many major importers in China, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, and Canada are seeking to  sign large and long-term purchasing orders for HAGL’s bananas.

To ensure quality continues to meet export standards, HAGL has been expanding its investment in cold storage systems and working with shipping companies to increase export volumes.

At the same time, the group is preparing a private share placement to increase its capital, in order to accelerate investments in improving its cold storage systems and expanding growing areas to meet new  export orders.

Techcombank & Manulife strike exclusive partnership

Techcombank and Manulife Vietnam officially announced the signing of a 15-year exclusive insurance cooperation agreement on September 22.

The agreement improves upon a non-exclusive cooperation deal signed four years ago.

Manulife Vietnam will provide its range of insurance products to Techcombank customers under the arrangement, with the two targeting VND10 trillion ($440.2 million) in insurance premiums over the next five  years.

The advantage of the new partnership, according to Techcombank, is that customers will be provided comprehensive banking and insurance solutions at one transaction point, benefiting from a combination  of Techcombank’s services and Manulife’s solid financial foundation.

Mr. Nguyen Le Quoc Anh, General Director of Techcombank, told the signing ceremony that “this partnership is part of our overall strategy to provide the best and most comprehensive financial solutions to  customers.”

“The strength and vision of our two companies complement each other,” said Mr. Paul Nguyen, General Director of Manulife Vietnam. “We expect to provide superior experiences to customers.”

“Vietnam is a strategic growth market for Manulife Asia,” Mr. Michael Huddart, General Director of Hong Kong, China, the Philippines, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam, said. “This long-term partnership with  Techcombank will help us meet the rapidly changing financial needs of our customers in Vietnam.”

Some 1.4 million existing customers and prospective customers of Techcombank will be able to access the life insurance solutions of Manulife Vietnam through Techcombank’s network of 300 or so  branches around the country.

In addition to Manulife’s outstanding products, the two partners will also focus efforts on creating new products designed to meet the specific needs of Techcombank’s customers.

Techcombank is now boosting its comprehensive financial solutions for customers as their incomes increase along with Vietnam’s economic development, ensuring financial security into the future.

SHB offers new preferential package to SMEs

The Saigon Hanoi Commercial Joint Stock Bank (SHB) recently announced that it will launch a 2.5 trillion VND (109.9 million USD) credit package with preferential interest rate from 6.5 percent per year for  small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

The package will be divided into two programmes, “Giving strength to business” and “Quick financing by area”.

The “Giving strength to business” programme targets businesses in 17 industries, including medicine, pharmaceutical chemistry, rubber, plastic, fertiliser, electronics, communication equipment, garment and  textile, footwear and farm produce. Loans are mostly short terms, at less than six months, designed to help firms promote production and business activities in the last months of the year.

Meanwhile, the “Quick financing by area” programme is built based on specific socio-economic situations of the Southeast, South central, Mekong Delta, Central Highland, North central and Red River Delta  regions and Ho Chi Minh City. SMEs in those regions are able to access to loans at the minimum interest rate of 6.5 percent for terms of up to 12 months.

According to SHB General Director Nguyen Van Le, SMEs are among targeted customers of SHB in the bank’s development strategy. The bank has designed a line-up of preferential programmes and  initiatives to back this group of firms, including financial consultancies, helping businesses seek customers and market, loan restructuring and enterprise shake up.

The solutions have increased SHB’s credit quality while boosting SME development in Vietnam.

Geographical indication protection of ‘Quan Ba’ seedless persimmon announced

Quang Ba seedless persimmon has become the 56th product in Vietnam which is protected by geographical indication registration.

This is also the third geographical indication of Ha Giang province after MeoVac honey and Ha Giang King orange, making Ha Giang the locality which has the largest number of geographical indications in  Vietnam.

The National Office of Intellectual Property under the Ministry of Science and Technology in coordination with the People’s Committee of Quan Ba district, Ha Giang province announced the geographical  indication registration certificate for the Quan Ba seedless persimmon on September 22.

The protected geographical areas which includes Tam Son town and communes of NghiaThuan, Thanh Van, Bat Dai Son and Quan Ba in Quan Ba district, Ha Giang province.

The geographical indicationcontributes to protecting the legitimate rights and interests of seedless persimmon producers in Quan Ba district and is also used as a tool to promote the product in the market,  helping to enhance the values of the product.

Minister of Science and Technology Chu Ngoc Anh affirmed that the geographical indication for Quan Ba seedless persimmon is the recognition from the State for the specialty of Ha Giang province which will be a basis for local growers and enterprises to enhance their reputation, develop market and protect the values of quality and origin of the product.

Different from seedless persimmon in other localities, QuanBa seedless persimmon has a long history of being cultivated by ethnic minorities groups of Mong, Dao, Tay, Bo Y and others. There are more than  300-year old seedless persimmon trees in NghiaThuan commune.

Quan Ba persimmon is round in shape and glossy yellow in colour. There are 20 to 25 fruits per kilogram. The fruit is fragrant with agentle sweetness and is crunchy and rich with sugar particulates.

JICA urges timely disbursement for infrastructure projects

Shinya Ejima, senior vice president of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), has asked the Ministry of Transport to work with other ministries and agencies to quickly disburse capital for traffic  infrastructure projects funded by Japan aid.

In a working session with the Transport Ministry on September 21, Shinya Ejima said some traffic infrastructure projects financed by Japan’s official development assistance (ODA) loans have run into trouble  due to Vietnam’s capital allocation delays. Therefore, capital disbursement has been lower than expected.

He proposed the Transport Ministry work up with the Ministries of Planning-Investment and Finance to speed up capital disbursement for the 57-kilometer Ben Luc-Long Thanh Expressway and Haiphong  International Gateway Seaport, or Lach Huyen Port, in the northern coast city of Haiphong.

Other completed projects, such as Can Tho Bridge in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho and 44 rail bridges between Hanoi and HCMC, also need capital disbursement on the Vietnam side.

The Japan-funded Ben Thanh-Suoi Tien urban rail line in HCMC, or Metro Line No. 1, is in dire need of capital. Despite repeated petitions by HCMC, the central Government has yet to deal with the slower- than-expected capital disbursement for this project.

Transport Minister Truong Quang Nghia said his ministry has already worked with relevant ministries and agencies, and has forwarded disbursement solutions to the Government for consideration.

He also asked JICA to offer financial support for three large-scale projects – the North-South Expressway, the North-South Express Railway, and the Long Thanh International Airport.

The Transport Ministry also called for Japanese investors to get involved in projects under the public-private partnership (PPP) format.

Truong Thanh invests in ERP

Truong Thanh Furniture Corporation will adopt an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system in June next year.

The corporation on Wednesday struck a deal with FPT Information System Company (FPT IS) in which the latter will offer consulting services and install an ERP system for the former within 10 months.

Nguyen Trong Hieu, deputy general director of Truong Thanh, said the firm initially focused on material, workforce and equipment optimization. However, it is no longer suitable, so the corporation wants to  employ ERP.

FPT IS deputy general director Nguyen Tuan Hung said the company has offered an ERP solution that fits a large firm like Truong Thanh. After completion, Truong Thanh will have a management system  meeting the standards of SAP, a global ERP solution provider, Hung added.

The ERP system requires Truong Thanh’s management and staff to comply with the standard ERP processes, and participate in training courses held by FPT IS.

O Mon 1 oil-fueled power plant to switch to gas in 2021

O Mon 1 fuel oil-fired power plant in the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho will switch to running on gas in 2021, according to the municipal Department of Industry and Trade.

A department report said the O Mon Power Center has commissioned O Mon 1, including generators No.1 and No. 2 and that this power station will no longer use fuel oil by 2021. Therefore, the power center  

will need around 0.95 billion cubic meters of gas a year from offshore Block B in the southwestern coast of Vietnam.

Ngo Viet Hoang, deputy head of the construction and investment management board at Power Generation Corporation 2, the operator of the plant, told the Daily that the oil price has steadily picked up, so fuel  oil-powered electricity generation will not be efficient in the long run.

O Mon 1 can run on either fuel oil or gas, Hoang said. Therefore, he added, if the gas price is lower than that of oil, the facility can shift to using gas.

Truong Hoang Vu, deputy general director of the corporation, said O Mon 1 and the O Mon Power Center as a whole can be supplied with gas from Block B in 2021.

According to the revised master plan for the O Mon Power Center released by the Ministry of Industry and Trade last year, the center will have a total of four power stations whose combined capacity is 2,910  MW, with O Mon 1 accounting for 660 MW.

State budget revenues decline compared to GDP: finance minister

Budget revenue over GDP has fallen from 26.3% during the 2006-2010 period to 23.6% of GDP between 2011 and 2016, Finance Minister Dinh Tien Dung has confirmed.

The minister’s statement was made during the opening of Vietnam Finance Forum in Hanoi on September 21. Under the theme of “Public Finance Reform towards Sustainable Development,” the annual event was organised by the Ministry of Finance with the support of the US Agency for International Development.

Minister Dung affirmed that the Vietnamese public finance has been renewed in the direction of being increasingly transparent, effective and sustainable; however, it also faces a range of challenges and certain risks.

Among these risks is the issue of budget size compared with GDP decreasing rapidly with the unreasonable structure of revenue. Particularly, in the 2006-2010 period, budget revenue reached 26.3% of GDP (of which revenue from taxes and fees was at 22.6% of GDP), and during 2011-2015, budget revenue only accounted for 23.6% of GDP (of which tax revenue was at 20.8% of GDP).

Meanwhile, the demand for budget spending has been constantly exceeding the ability to balance resources, leading to difficulty in balancing the state budget, overspending and low budget accumulation for development.

In addition, public debt and repayment obligations have increased rapidly, with large repayment pressure in the short term, potentially causing danger, but have not been secured yet. The basic construction budget repayment and budget advances are still large, with inadequate management and use of such capital, plus ineffective use of public funds.

Amidst the difficult context, the Politburo issued Resolution No. 07-NQ/TW dated November 18, 2016 on policies and measures to restructure state budget and public debt management to ensure national financial security.

Accordingly the goal was set by 2020 thus the tax policy system will be revised to cover all revenue sources, expand the collection base, especially in regards to new revenue sources in line with international practice.

Policies on state budget expenditures will be changed in order to increase the ratio of investment expenditures to gradually reduce the proportion of regular expenditures associated with vigorous reforms of the public service sector towards strengthening financial autonomy.

With regard to public debt management, the finance minister emphasised the need for the improvement of institutions, policies, tools and public debt management apparatus to ensure compliance with the Constitution, relevant laws and international practices, while strengthening public debt restructuring, strictly controlling foreign debt within the allowable limits and improving the efficiency of loan utilisation.

Minister Dung said that the restructuring of the state budget and public debt is not only to increase revenue and control public debt, but also to develop the budget and debt system supporting the building of a healthy business environment, with a neutral, transparent, and convenient collecting system, along with the renewal of policies and regulations on public spending and effectively managing and distributing scarce resources for socio-economic development and national financial security.

Experts at the forum suggested that in order to gradually reduce the budget deficit, there must be public investment reform, in which clearly defining the strategic objectives in regards to long-term spending, focusing on allocating resources to infrastructure development, science and technology and rural and developments in the agricultural sector.

At the same time, it is necessary to review and further improve the efficiency of allocating, spending and using capital, while intensifying the supervision, inspection and coordination among state management agencies in the allocation and use of budget capital.

This year’s event gathered nearly 200 delegates who are managers, policymakers, experts and economists nationwide and from international organisations and enterprises. The delegates discussed public finance reform towards sustainable development in Vietnam.

HCM City to host printing and packaging exhibition

The 17th annual Việt Nam International Printing & Packaging Industry Exhibition will be held in HCM City in October.

The four-day event will feature 300 exhibitors from 11 countries and territories including Việt Nam, Hong Kong, India, South Korea, North Korea, and China.

They will include renowned companies such as Trung Mỹ Á JSC, SANSIN, J&V Wonder Printing Việt Nam Co., Ltd, CKC, and Innopack Việt Nam Co., Ltd.

They will showcase their latest products and technologies including printing machines and accessories, inks, printing materials, cutting disks, packaging machinery, raw materials, auxiliaries and coding and marking systems.

According to the Việt Nam Printing Association (VPA), the packaging and labelling sector is growing at around 10 per cent annually thanks to high demand from processing firms and exporters.

The Việt Nam Packaging Association expects annual growth of 15-20 per cent in the coming years given expanding production.

Visitors can book online before October 3 at https://www.vietnamprintpack.com/visitorReg.asp or at the exhibition.

The show will be organised by the Việt Nam National Trade Fair & Advertising Company (VINEXAD), Chan Chao International Co., and Yorkers Trade & Marketing Service Co.

It will be held at the Saigon Exhibition & Convention Center from October 5 to 8.

HCMC wants firms to scale up

Agricultural households, farms and co-operatives would get access to various funds if they upgrade into companies, a seminar heard in HCM City yesterday.

“HCM City always offers incentives to develop agriculture and the city encourages agricultural business households, farms and co-operatives to upgrade into enterprises to ensure sustainable development of the sector,” Nguyễn Văn Trực, deputy director of the city Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, said.

Besides, they would get technological support to improve quality and labour productivity and help to develop brand names for better domestic and international visibility, he said.

“As newly established companies, they will also get numerous tax incentives. Besides, tax agencies will assist in registering for taxation, using VAT invoices and managing their accounts.”

Lê Thế Khải, director of Phú Hòa Đông girdle cake trade village, said: “Local authorities should encourage households and farms to become enterprises because they do not have legal status and it is hard for them to access capital.”

Trần Đức Trọng, a senior official at the Bình Nguyên Joint Stock company, said: “To encourage households and farms to upgrade into companies, local authorities should provide loans for them to invest in infrastructure, upgrade and buy necessary materials. 

“Authorities should adopt policies for comprehensive support for sales.”

Bùi Văn My, director of the department’s agricultural consultancy and support centre, said: “Large-scale household businesses, farms and co-operatives with many workers are encouraged to upgrade into companies to take advantage of incentives.”

Thai company to offload stake in Tiền Phong Plastic

Thailand’s Nawaplastic Industries (Saraburi) Company Limited will offload its entire stake of 21.27 million shares in Tiền Phong Plastic JSC (NTP).

The Thai company’s stake is equivalent to an ownership of 23.84 per cent of the Vietnamese firm’s charter capital.

In a filing to the State Securities Commission, the Thai company said the transaction will be carried out from September 25 to October 20 on the Hà Nội Stock Exchange through matching or the trading method.

The tender price has not been disclosed. However, with the price of some VNĐ69,000 (US$3.04) per NTP share on the Hà Nội Stock Exchange, the deal value is expected to be around VNĐ1.47 trillion (nearly $65 million), a three-fold increase over the initial cost.

Nawaplastic bought 9.82 million shares of Tiền Phong Plastic in March 2012 for VNĐ463 billion. A year later, the Thai company paid VNĐ24 billion to own another 500,000 NTP shares.

During that time, it also bought seven million shares of Bình Minh Plastic JSC (BMP) for VNĐ352 billion.

Tiền Phong and Bình Minh are the two largest plastic companies in Việt Nam.

Nawaplastic had earlier expressed its interest to up its stake holding in both the Vietnamese plastic companies if the State Capital Investment Corporation undertakes divestment. Thus, Nawaplastic’s announcement of selling stake in Tiền Phong Plastic came as a surprise, especially in the context that the Vietnamese company this year approved the policy of expanding foreign ownership.

Tiền Phong Plastic is considered profitable for the Thai company, as its ownership has doubled from 10.32 million shares in 2013 to over 21 million shares in 2017, as well as VNĐ173 billion in cash following several dividend payouts in the last five years.

Nawaplastic is a 99.79 per cent (indirect stake) subsidiary of the Siam Cement Public Company Limited (SCG) and operates under direction of SCG Chemicals Company Limited, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of SCC.

Until now, SCG has invested in 12 plastic companies in Việt Nam, including big names such as Tiền Phong, Bình Minh and Tân Đại Hưng. It has also carried out a number of large-scale merger and acquisitions in the fields of cement, enameled tile and packaging.

Vietjet gives away 55,000 promotional tickets for int’l routes

Vietjet on Thursday launched promotional golden days from September 22 to September 24 and September 28 to October 1, offering 55,000 super-saving tickets to welcome the Mid-Autumn Festival.

The promotion tickets priced from zero đồng, which are available from noon to 2pm, are for international routes from HCM City/Hà Nội to Kaohsiung, Taipei, Taichung, Tainan (Taiwan). These are applicable for travel between October 1, 2017, and March 31, 2018.

Besides, Vietjet continues to increase the frequency of flights on several international routes to serve passengers.

Accordingly, from December 21, the HCM City – Taichung route will have seven return flights a week. It will also operate a daily return flight for the HCM City – Kaohsiung route from December 24.

“The Mid-Autumn Festival is a special occasion for family reunions. When the season changes, it is the most beautiful time for tourists to travel and discover. This is also the ideal season to travel with loved ones as the cool weather makes international destinations such as Taiwan attractive,” Vietjet said in its statement.

Over the past few years, Taiwan has emerged as an ideal destination for many Vietnamese travellers. Up to 190,000 Vietnamese people travelled to Taiwan last year for holidays — an increase of 50,000 from 2015. The figure is expected to reach 500,000 in 2017.

Vietjet offers saving tickets on Vietnam-Taiwan routes

To welcome the Mid-Autumn Festival, Vietjet launched a series of promotional golden days from September 22 to 24 and from September 28 to October 1, 2017 within 12:00 – 14:00, offering 55,000 super-saving tickets priced only from 0 VND (excluding taxes and fees). 

The promotion is applied for international routes from Ho Chi Minh City/Hanoi to Kaohsiung, Taipei, Taichung, Tainan (Taiwan) with the flight time being from October 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018 (except the national holidays).

Besides, Vietjet will continue increasing the flight frequency of international routes to serve the passengers. Accordingly, from December 21, 2017, flights on the Ho Chi Minh City – Taichung (Taiwan) route will be increased to 7 return flights a week. For the Ho Chi Minh City – Kaohsiung (Taiwan) route, the airline will operate the return flight daily from December 24, 2017.

The promotional tickets are available for booking within the golden hours from 12:00 to 14:00 daily at www.vietjetair.com (also compatible with smartphones athttps://m.vietjetair.com) or at www.facebook.com/vietjetvietnam (just click the “Booking” tab). 

Payment can be easily made with debit and credit cards of Visa/ Master/ AMEX/ JCB/ KCP and ATM cards issued by Vietnam’s 32 banks that have been registered with internet banking.

VNA/VNS/VOV/SGT/SGGP/TT/TN/Dantri/VNEVET

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