Conference seeks ways to boost Vietnam – Barcelona business connection
A trade conference connecting firms of Vietnam and Spain’s Barcelona region was held in Hanoi on November 12.
The event, jointly held by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the Port of Barcelona, created a chance for businesses of the two sides to meet and seek cooperation.
According to the VCCI, investors from Spain have paid increasing attention to Vietnam with their strengths in renewable energy, infrastructure, tourism, high technology, construction and architecture.
Vietnam is Spain’s leading trade partner among the ASEAN countries. In the past 10 years, two-way trade increased 15 percent a year, hitting over 3 billion USD in 2017. The two sides aim to lift the figure to 5 billion USD by 2020.
VCCI Vice Chairman Hoang Quang Phong said the countries’ achievements over the years are remarkable but still modest. Hence, Vietnam welcomes businesses from Barcelona to explore its market, since the region is the most dynamic in Spain and among the four largest industrial cities in Europe.
Barcelona sees five maritime routes which link with 18 ports in Vietnam, providing logistics and transport solutions for firms of Vietnam and other countries in Asia, the US, and North African region.
Phong expressed his hope that the two sides’ entrepreneurs will be able to find cooperation chances through the event, especially in the fields that Vietnam is seeking investment, including new energy development, renewable energy, supporting industry and tourism.
For her part, President of the Port of Barcelona Merce Conesa said it is the leading port in terms of economic value in the region, accounting for 70 percent of transport in Catalonia.
In 2017, the port witnessed the largest increase in value of goods in Europe. As many as 500 businesses are operating in the port, generating about 3.53 billion EUR (nearly 4 billion USD), or 1.7 percent of Spain’s gross domestic product.
The hosts were informed that in 2017, goods imported from or manufactured in Vietnam totalling 490 million EUR went through the port, while exports to the country worth only 11 million EUR.
Vietnam exports coffee, frozen fish and construction materials while importing chemicals, foodstuff, and biofuel from Spain, Conesa noted.
She underlined that the port is looking to enhance connection with Vietnamese firms in logistics for common development.
Logistics sector has recorded stable growth among Vietnam’s services over the years, with about 1,300 domestic firms.
Vietnam Airlines, El Al Israel Airlines launch codeshare partnership
National flag carrier Vietnam Airlines and El Al Israel Airlines (LY) launched a reciprocal codeshare partnership during a signing ceremony in Tel Aviv on November 12.
Accordingly, passengers could buy either Vietnam Airlines or LY tickets for flights between Hanoi/Ho Chi Minh City and Tel Aviv via Bangkok and Hong Kong.
Vietnam Airlines will operate flights between Hanoi/Ho Chi Minh City and Bangkok/Hong Kong, while LY will run services between Bangkok/Hong Kong and Tel Aviv.
Speaking at the event, Vietnam Airlines General Director Duong Tri Thanh expressed his delight at launching the partnership on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of bilateral diplomatic ties between the two nations, helping the carrier increase its presence in the Middle East.
Vietnamese Ambassador to Israel Cao Tran Quoc Hai said the agreement marks a new development in ties between the two carriers, especially on the occasion of the anniversary.
In 2012, the two national carriers also launched other codeshare partnerships via international gateway, Hong Kong.
Kien Giang adamant about withdrawing Kien Luong 1 thermal power plant
Rice exports reach 5.2 million tonnes in ten months
Vietnam exported 264,000 tonnes of rice with a value of US$136 million in October, thus bringing the total export volume of rice in the first 10 months this year to US$5.2 million tonnes, worth U$$2.6 billion, up 1.7% in volume and 14.1% in value over the same period in 2017.
According to the latest data from the Department of Agro-Product Processing and Market Development (under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development), China continues to rank first among Vietnam’s rice export markets, accounting for nearly 24% of the market share. Other markets also saw a sharp increase in importing Vietnamese rice, including Indonesia, Iraq, the Philippines and Malaysia.
The average rice export value in the last nine months of this year was at US$503 per tonne, up 13.7% over the same period last year. The price of jasmine rice was at US$575 per tonne at its highest, followed by Japonica rice at US$526 per tonne. The price for Vietnamese 5% broken rice in the first half of last month was at US$410 per tonne, higher than India’s at US$372 per tonne and equivalent to Thailand’s at US$411 per tonne.
The largest export market for Vietnamese jasmine rice is still China, accounting for 25% of the total exports, followed by Ghana with 21%. China continues to be the main market for Vietnamese sticky rice, accounting for 80% of the total glutinous rice exports.
According to the Department, domestic rice prices are expected to increase as enterprises buy more rice to serve export orders signed in October and prepare for the next orders that can be reached in the year-end biddings.
On October 18, the Philippines closed bids to buy 47,000 tonnes of rice, including 28,000 tonnes from Vietnam. Also on that day, Egypt opened its first tender in 2018 for the import of 25,000 tonnes of rice. In addition, during the 10th World Rice Conference in Hanoi last month, multiple export orders were signed, in which the Hanoi Trade Joint Stock Corporation (Hapro) reached orders with their US and Malaysian customers to export rice worth US$ 2.5 million.
Currently, farmers have finished harvesting their summer-autumn rice crop. Several localities also started harvesting their autumn-winter crop. The price for autumn-winter rice in the Mekong Delta rose slightly amidst a limited supply.
According to the local price supply system, in Vinh Long, the price for the autumn-winter rice variety IR50404 increased by VND200 a kg to reach VND5,300 per kg, while IR50404 dried rice is priced at VND5,900 per kg and IR50404 husk-free rice is at VND10,000 per kg. In Bac Lieu, dried OM 5451 rice wholesale price sold by the Provincial Food Company is at VND6,200 – 6,300 per kg. Many other localities also reported stable or a slight increase in rice prices.
US co-working space provider comes to Viet Nam
WeWork, a co-working space provider, on Wednesday announced plans to enter the Vietnamese market as part of its strategy to expand operations in Southeast Asia.
Turochas T Fuad, managing director of WeWork Southeast Asia, said the company would open its first office at E-Town Centre in HCM City’s District 4 in early December.
It is seeking locations to open more offices in HCM City and other cities and provinces next year, he said.
The HCM City office would be able to accommodate over 1,000 clients in its four floors, he said.
“With Viet Nam being one of the fastest growing economies in the world and Southeast Asia, there is no better time to be here than now.
“We are also seeing demand from our existing global members in other markets, such as Fortune 500 companies and leading financial institutions, looking to us for a solution for growing their local eco-system and network as well as a collaborative community for fostering innovations here in Viet Nam.”
At the launch, WeWork said Viet Nam is home to a rising millennial population and an increase in people moving to cities, so there is a shift towards a new way of working and living.
With the economy growing at its fastest pace in the past eight years, Viet Nam is one of the most exciting markets in Asia and the world today, it said.
The country is also a hotbed of technological innovation right now, with a country-wide drive to develop smart cities, especially in HCM City, Ha Noi and Da Nang, and a pledge to move towards a 90 per cent cashless economy by 2020, which spells further growth for the company, it said.
WeWork was founded in 2010 in the US. Over 43,000 companies and more than 268,000 members are now its clients.
In Southeast Asia it has 12 offices and more than 6,000 clients.
Securities companies maintains buy status in October despite market decline
Securities companies remained net buyers in October despite a strong market decline.
According to Stockplus statistics, securities firms purchased 90.6 million shares worth VND3.8 trillion (US$163 million) in October while selling more than 92.3 million shares for VND3.77 trillion. They were net sellers in terms of volume by 1.7 million shares but still net bought more than VND36.4 billion.
This was a positive sign given that foreign traders continued to offload shares when the stock market plunged in October.
On the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange, the VN-Index lost about 10 per cent in October while the HNX-Index on the Ha Noi Stock Exchange also gave up 9.4 per cent.
Excluding unexpected trading from Masan Group, foreign investors ended October as net sellers with total value of more than VND2 trillion ($92 million).
The PAN Group (PAN), FLC Faros Construction (ROS), fund certificate E1VFVN30 and steelmaker Hoa Phat Group (HPG) were among the most active shares among securities firm with net buy value between VND45 billion and VND147 billion for each share.
On the other side, private conglomerate Vingroup (VIC) was the most offloaded with net sell value of over VND335 billion, followed by Ho Chi Minh City Infrastructure Develoment (CII), Eximbank (EIB) and VPBank (VPB) with net sell value of between VND100 billion and VND200 billion each.
Ending October, proprietary trading of securities companies had total net sell value of VND755 billion. This is in line with market development since the beginning of this year with the VN-Index losing 7 per cent and the HNX-Index decreasing 10 per cent.
Proprietary trading still generated large revenue for securities companies.
In the third quarter alone, profits, which are shown in the financial assets at fair value through profit or loss (FVTPL) indicator of 34 securities companies in the market, reached nearly VND1.4 trillion, up 14.8 per cent against the same period of last year and accounting for a large proportion of total revenue of many brokerage firms.
In the leading securities firms like Saigon Securities Inc, Ho Chi Minh Securities Corp and VNDirect Securities JSC, profits generated from investing in stocks were big.
SSI earned profits of VND277 billion from investing in Viet Nam Electrical Equipment JSC (GEX), VND251 billion from Dabaco Group (DBC) and more than VND118 billion from Hoa Phat Group (HPG).
In October, securities companies also increased trading on the derivatives market, up 64 per cent in volume and 35 per cent in value against the previous month.
Mobile World Investment to issue $46m dividend stock
Mobile World Investment Corporation will issue 107.6 million shares to pay shareholders dividends at a rate of 3:1 after achieving positive business results.
The total value of this share issue reaches nearly VND1.08 trillion (US$46.2 million), derived from undistributed profits after audit in 2017. After the issuance, the company’s charter capital will increase to VND4.3 trillion ($184.5 million).
The company will finalise the list of shareholders for this payout on November 20.
At the annual shareholders’ meeting this year, Mobile World Investment approved a plan of paying dividends based on undistributed earnings with a maximum volume of 170 million shares. In addition, shareholders also approved a cash dividend plan of 15 per cent which was already paid in May and the ESOP (employee stock ownership plan) option with a volume of about 9.7 million shares, at the rate of 3 per cent.
In the third quarter, the mobile phone retail chain posted net revenue of VND20.9 trillion, up 27 per cent year-on-year. Net profit reached VND647 billion, up 14.5 per cent on-year.
Ending September, its consolidated revenues reached VND65.48 trillion and consolidated profit after tax was VND2.2 trillion, a growth of 34 per cent against the same period last year.
Among its subsidiaries, food chain Bach Hoa Xanh and electronics chains Dien May Xanh registered highest growth of 235 per cent and 79 per cent, respectively. Its long-established mobile phone retail chain increased 19 per cent.
Shares of Mobile World Investment Corporation were among the top 10 most expensive stocks on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange, trading at around VND112,000 ($4.8) per share on Wednesday.
Nguyen Kim Holdings bids to acquire Lam Dong Pharmaceutical
Nguyen Kim Investment and Development Joint Stock Company (Nguyen Kim Holdings) has submitted a public bid to purchase more than 2.1 million shares of Lam Dong Pharmaceutical Joint Stock Company, aiming to control the drug maker.
This purchase would be equivalent to 27.14 per cent of total voting shares in Lam Dong Pharmaceutical. If the deal goes through, Nguyen Kim will raise its stake to 51.14 per cent.
The offering price is set at VND23,500 (US$1) per share, which means Nguyen Kim will pay about VND50 billion.
The transaction is expected to take place between November 30 and December 30.
After the acquisition, Nguyen Kim is committed to developing the core business of the pharmaceutical company, including oriental medicine production, commercial medicines, medical equipment and importing drugs, it said in the open bid letter.
Lam Dong Pharmaceutical JSC is an affiliate of Nguyen Kim, which already holds 24 per cent of the drug company’s charter capital.
Starting in 2017, Nguyen Kim has attempted to buy more shares of Lam Dong Pharmaceutical to turn it into a subsidiary; however, its previous bids for the State Capital Investment Corporation’s portion of the pharmaceutical firm were unsuccessful.
Shares of Lam Dong Pharmaceutical (ticker: LDP) on the Ha Noi Stock Exchange have declined 41 per cent this year to around VND20,000 per share, the lowest in the past two years.
Performance of the drug company was not satisfactory with a loss of VND3 billion in the third quarter – its third consecutive losing quarter – bringing its nine-month loss to VND9.3 billion. It posted a net profit of VND14.8 billion in the same period of last year.
Nguyen Kim Holdings has a capital of up to VND5 trillion ($214.6 million), and is currently owned by Nguyen Kim, chairman of the Nguyen Kim Trading Company which also owns the Nguyen Kim electronics chains.
Nguyen Kim started investing in pharmaceuticals in 2014 after purchasing a 10 per cent stake in Lam Dong Pharmaceutical. After that, it increased its capital in the company to 24 per cent. It has also invested in FT Pharma.
In recent years, many electronics companies have moved into the distribution of drugs, including Mobile World Group’s investment in the Phuc An Khang drug chain, or FPT Digital Retail Company’s investment in Long Chau Pharmacy.
New securities law is a better fit
The new amended draft law on securities was revised based on the inheritance of the current Securities Law, broadening the scope of regulation and adopting a new approach more suited to market condition and overcoming the remaining limitations of the current law.
This is an opinion raised at a seminar in Ha Noi on Wednesday to discuss the Draft Law on Securities (revised), which is supposed to be submitted to the Government in the second quarter of 2019 and submitted to the National Assembly for consideration and approval in the fourth quarter of 2019.
The 2006 Securities Law was introduced in the context of the small-scaled securities market. The law has created the legal corridor to enable the stock market to grow over the past 11 years, said Deputy Minister of Finance Huynh Quang Hai.
“The law has contributed to boost the development of the Viet Nam’s stock market, making it become a medium and long-term capital mobilisation channel of the economy,” Hai said.
By the end of October this year, the number of listed companies has increased more than seven times compared to 2016, with over 1,537 listed companies with market capitalisation reaching around VND3.8 trillion (US$162 million), equivalent to 77 per cent of GDP, much higher than the 2016’s figure of 22 per cent.
“The stock market has also efficiently supported the equitisation process of State-owned enterprises (SOEs), making the process more open and transparent, contributing to speeding up the restructuring of SOEs,” Hai said.
However, according to Hai, after more than 11 years of implementation, the Law on Securities is also gradually exposing shortcomings along with its rapid expansion.
“Some provisions in the original law are no longer reasonable or consistent with the relevant provisions of other newly amended legal documents,” Hai said, insisting on the formation of an update on the securities law which meets demand for a more sophisticated securities market, giving a boost to the development of the securities market as well as the broader financial sector.
In 2018, the State Securities Commission (SSC) is tasked with building the revised Securities Law.
According to Vu Thi Chan Phuong, SSC’s vice chairwoman, the update on the securities law at the current time is necessary given that a number of laws (on investment, inspection, civil code and handling of administrative violations) were revised and promulgated which relate to the implementation of the Law on Securities such as the ownership of foreign investors, corporate governance, inspection authority and administrative sanctions.
The amendment of the securities law will demonstrate the policies and guidelines of the Government in restructuring financial markets, State-owned enterprises, creating favourable investment environment for all investors and enhance transparency for businesses, Phuong said.
The SSC is collecting consultation from ministries and market players for the revised law.
One of the much concerned issues that the draft law amended is the conditions for the initial public offering (IPO) of shares.
It requires that the issuing organisation must have the paid-up charter capital of at least VND30 billion at the time of registration of the offering, higher than the previous required amount of VND10 billion as stipulated in the current law.
According to Phuong, since 2005, the size of listed enterprises has increased 16.35 times. Therefore, the required charter capital of VND10 billion for a business to conduct an IPO is considered low compared to the current scale of firms and regulations of other countries.
Issuing organisations must also be profitable in the two nearest consecutive years before the registration year of the offer, instead of one year as said in the current law.
The new law also said at least 20 per cent of the charter capital of an issuing organisation must be sold to at least 100 non-shareholder investors owning 1 per cent of the charter capital of the issuing organisation or more.
With regard to the foreign ownership ratio of a public company, the foreign ownership ratio in a public company is determined to be 100 per cent, except in cases where there is an international treaty in which Viet Nam is a contracting party, or the specialised law specifies a lower level of ownership of foreign investors.
In cases where a public company operating in different branches and trades has different provisions on the foreign ownership ratio, the foreign ownership ratio shall not exceed the lowest level in branches and trades specified in the foreign ownership ratio.
Ba Ria-Vung Tau to develop logistics sector
The southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau has set a goal to develop logistics into a major service sector with a focus on seaport development.
The Vung Tau Shipbuilding and Oil Services Joint-Stock Company will invest in the new logistics centre and container port.
Located in Phu My Commune, the Cai Mep Ha logistics centre will have a total area of 1,200ha, with an estimated investment of VND40 trillion (US$1.71 billion).
The Cai Mep Ha container port will be developed on an area of 86.6ha with total investment of VND10 trillion.
As a sea-based economy, the province wants to increase the current capacity of its seaports, improve international transshipment services, and achieve throughput capacity of more than 100 million tonnes in coming years.
The province will also continue to upgrade roads to improve connectivity and enhance goods and service circulation, local authorities have said.
By 2020, the province is expected to have 18 port operators and 219 logistics companies, contributing around VND94 trillion to GDP and 47.1 per cent to the service sector.
Seaports in Vung Tau City by 2030 will be capable of handling 140 to 275 million tonnes of goods, according to authorities.
Under a master plan for the logistics industry, the province will create favourable conditions for seaport and logistics service providers to meet regional standards.
The master plan calls for businesses in service and market development sectors to join the supply chains of key products like oil and gas, energy, industrial equipment, supporting industries, and building materials, among others.
A groundbreaking ceremony held by the Vina-Japan Shirogane Logistics Company at the Phu My 3 Specialised Industrial Park in Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province.
Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province is a major gateway for international shipments in Southeast Asia, especially because of the Cai Mep-Thi Vai port complex, one of the key ports in the region.
The port system is one of only 19 in the world capable of handling 190,000 deadweight tonnage (DWT) vessels.
Container ships from the port complex are capable of transporting goods to Europe and North America.
In addition, the province is only 70km from HCM City’s Cat Lai port.
To improve connectivity, efficiency and port capacity, the province also plans to increase investment in terminals and road infrastructure.
Infrastructure investments in recent years have increased connectivity within the province and with neighbouring economic hubs like HCM City and Dong Nai Province.
By the end of last year, the province had 315 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects with total registered capital of $27 billion, and 450 domestic projects with total registered capital of more than $11 billion.
Last year, FDI flow reached $1.5 billion in 29 new and seven existing projects.
In the first seven months, the province emerged as the third largest destination of foreign investment, just behind Ha Noi and HCM City.
Total registered capital reached $2.15 billion, accounting for 9.4 percent of total FDI investment in Viet Nam. The province aims to attract $4 billion FDI by 2020.
To meet its target, the provincial government plans on more investor-friendly reforms in many areas.
In addition, it also plans to increase investment in distribution networks, technology transfer, skill development, and funding for small- and medium-sized enterprises.
The four key sectors in the province include seaport logistics, high-tech industrial production, tourism, and high-tech agriculture.
Other areas of opportunities for investors include food processing, shipbuilding, traffic infrastructure, and metallurgy-mechanical engineering.
Located in the southern key economic zone, which contributes nearly 8 per cent to the national GDP and 10 per cent to State revenues, Ba Ria-Vung Tau is one of the country’s major investment destinations.
In the last decade, rapid economic growth has resulted in the province having the highest GDP per capita and the third highest living standard in Viet Nam.
SOE efficiency still low: experts
Equitisation and divestment were key tasks for restructuring State-owned enterprises (SOEs), said Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Van Hieu.
Speaking at a forum on promoting the renewal process and raising the efficiency of SOEs held in Ha Noi on Tuesday, Hieu said that enterprises needed to increase their equitisation efforts and comply with legal provisions, meeting international requirements and practices.
“They need to build feasible plans, ensuring the accuracy and transparency of information and clarifying debt issues in order to attract potential investors,” said Hieu.
Hieu said that through over 20 years of reform, the number of SOEs had fallen from 12,000 in the early 1990s to about 500.
“Many SOEs have been holding large amounts of State assets but their production, business efficiency and contributions to the State budget are low. A number of projects have suffered big losses. Equitisation and divestment from SOEs had not reached the Government’s targets,” said Hieu.
The main reason is that a number of business leaders were unwilling to change, avoiding responsibility or worrying about loss of interests if the business model changes. Problems related to land, asset valuation, institutional inefficiencies, regulations, obstacles in handling labour arrangements and propaganda had not been solved effectively, said Hieu.
In addition, several leaders’ corporate management capacity was weak, especially investment in modern technology, not meeting the demands of change as well as challenges in the Fourth Industrial Revolution and international economic integration, he added.
According to Director of the Finance Ministry’s Enterprise Finance Department Dang Quyet Tien, the process of reforming, reorganising and improving the efficiency of SOEs had been conducted for many years and achieved remarkable results.
Since 2016, 74 out of 137 enterprises had been equitised, earning trillions of dong for the State budget and contributing to the diversification of ownership. After equitisation, many businesses had continued to develop, ensuring quality, reputation and brand.
However, Tien said there were still some shortcomings such as slow equitisation and poor business performance in other enterprises. Economic efficiency was limited and tending to decrease.
“SOEs contribute 22 per cent to the total State budget and 28 per cent to GDP. The performance and profitability of SOEs are lower in comparison with other sectors,” said Tien.
According to Pham Duc Trung, an official from the Central Institute for Economic Management, to operate effectively, SOEs should continue to renovate their management mechanisms to apply international corporate governance practices and increase the efficiency of management of State assets.
Trung said the Government would continue to accelerate the speed of equitisation and diversify business ownership, while focusing on improving the scale, range and competitiveness of some branded and capable economic groups in the hope of pushing businesses into the world’s top 500 as well as being able to compete in the region.
Binh Thuan revokes eight stagnant tourism projects
The southern province of Binh Thuan recently decided to revoke eight tourism projects in Ham Thuan Nam District due to delayed implementation.
Those included four projects in Tan Thanh Commune and four in Thuan Quy Commune.
The provincial authority said that it could not contact the investors of these projects.
Previously, the provincial Department of Planning and Investment proposed 20 projects to be revoked in the southern province, including eight projects in Phan Thiet City and 12 projects in Ham Thuan Nam District.
The department said that strong measures would be taken to revoke stagnant projects and prevent land from being left deserted.
Other projects would continue to be checked for updates on their implementation progress.
The provincial Department of Planning and Investment’s statistics revealed that as of July 20, more than 100 tourism projects had not started construction in the province.
The department said that the stagnation was mainly due to problems in land clearance.
Binh Thuan has rich potential for sea tourism with nearly 200 kilometres of coastline and a warm climate all year round. It has plentiful tourist attractions such as Mui Ne, Phu Quy Island and Ke Ga Lighthouse.
In the Viet Nam tourism development master plan to 2020, Binh Thuan was recognised as one of the key provinces for the country’s tourism development.
Ham Thuan Nam District has beautiful beaches and attracted a large number of tourism projects.
The development of transport infrastructure in recent years has also helped boost tourism in the province, such as the HCM City – Long Thanh – Dau Giay Expressway, upgrades to the Dau Giay – Phan Thiet and Phan Thiet – Nha Trang highways, and Phan Thiet airport.
The Malaysia Vietnam Offshore Terminal (MVOT), a joint venture between PetroVietnam Technical Services Corp and Malaysia’s MIBS Bhd, has won a US$176 million contract to provide equipment for Idemitsu Kosan to develop the Sao Vang-Dai Nguyet gas project.
Under the seven-year contract, MVOT will provide a floating storage and offloading (FSO) vessel to the Japanese firm for the development of the gas and condensate fields, the Viet Nam Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) said on Tuesday.
The FSO has a capacity to store 700,000 barrels of condensate, double Idemitsu Kosan’s minimum storage requirement of 350,000 barrels. It is slated to receive the first condensate flows in July 2020.
The FSO is designed with housing for 55 technical and operational personnel and a helicopter landing gear with the latest UK CAP 437 standard, capable of receiving Airbus H-225 or equivalent.
The contract can be extended another eight years.
Le Manh Cuong, CEO of PetroVietnam Technical Services Corp, said: “Winning the contract to provide the FSO vessel for the Sao Vang-Dai Nguyet gas development has proven the company’s capacity in implementing high-tech and complex petroleum projects at a very competitive cost.”
The Sao Vang-Dai Nguyet gas fields are located in Blocks 05-1b and 05-1c, about 350km southeast of Viet Nam’s coast. Idemitsu Kosan is the operator of the offshore development with an ownership of 43.08 per cent.
Teikoku Oil (Con Son) Co Ltd owns 36.92 per cent and PetroVietnam holds the remaining 20 per cent.
Estimated output of the gas fields is about 1.5 billion cubic metres (m3) of gas per year and 2.8 million barrels of crude oil and condensate per year.
Late in August this year, PetroVietnam signed a gas sale-purchase agreement with the developers of the field.
Hoa Binh’s safe farm produce promoted in Ha Noi
The Ha Noi Promotion Agency (HPA) and Hoa Binh Province Department of Agriculture and Rural Development on Monday signed an agreement to promote the distribution of safe farm produce of Hoa Binh Province in the capital city.
Accordingly, HAP would provide support to farmers and enterprises in Hoa Binh to connect with distributors in Ha Noi as well as in enhancing quality of farm produce in the northern province.
Nguyen Gia Phuong, HPA’s Director, said that connecting with other provinces to supply agricultural products for Ha Noi was important as the capital city had huge demand and now had to buy around 50-60 per cent from other provinces.
HPA recently launched the website nongsangantoan.gov.vn to introduce safe agricultural products and connect producers, distributors and consumers.
Hoa Binh had huge demand for developing safe farm produce but the consumption in Ha Noi remained modest due to the lack of a distribution system. It was estimated that only around 20-30 per cent of farm produce in the province was sold in Ha Noi.
Vuong Dac Hung, deputy director of Hoa Binh Province Department of Agriculture and Rural Development said that the northern province had major agricultural products such as orange, grapefruit, sugarcane, pork, chicken and fish.
Nearly 80 hectares for farm produce in the province had VietGap certificates.
However, Hung said that finding distribution channels for Hoa Binh Province’s farm produce remained difficult. Price fluctuations also caused problems for farmers.
Hung added that it was necessary for the province to develop large-scale farm production in association with distribution channels.
A representative from BigC supermarket said that farmers and producers in the province must focus on enhancing product quality and transparency in product origin to gain consumer trust.
Hoa Binh targeted to have 12,000 hectares of farming area for fruit with an output of 30,000 tonnes by 2020, together with 7.5 hectares for sugarcane cultivation with an output of 53,000 tonnes, 10,000 tonnes of fish and 5.2 million chickens. By 2025, the outputs were expected to increase by 30 per cent.
Visually impaired people need better access to bank cards
Commercial banks have been told to study the process of opening payment accounts and ATM cards for visually impaired people.
The State Bank of Viet Nam (SBV) has asked institutions providing payment services to review the accessibility of all processes, procedures and applications to open a bank account for people with disabilities. They were asked to develop suitable instructions for visually impaired people to use bank accounts while following laws and regulations.
The SBV also asked commercial banks to disseminate information to their employees and managers to help visually disabled people in opening and using bank accounts.
In particular, banks should note some difficulties that people may encounter in providing necessary information and identifying documents required by law to open contracts or use a payment account or bank card.
Banks were asked to provide warnings of possible risks which visually impaired people could encounter in the process of using bank accounts and ATM cards to ensure security and asset safety to customers.
Previously, some visually impaired people faced difficulties in opening bank accounts and receiving ATM cards at commercial banks.
One visually impaired singer was denied a bank card and told to come back with a guardian.
Banks require visually impaired people to have a guardian when opening a card to ensure the safety of both the bank and its clients.
Experts said the guardian requirement could be troublesome and inconvenient. It limits the rights of visually impaired people, who must have the consent of another person to withdraw their own money. The guardian has the right to withdraw money from the account, meaning visually impaired customers can be more easily taken advantage of by those who are supposed to provide help. Other risks such as the loss of passwords and money are issues for all ATM and internet banking customers.
HDBank supports clean agriculture
HDBank said it has earmarked VND10 billion (US$430,172) for loans with tenures of up to 10 years to clean and hi-tech agricultural businesses.
The interest rates on the concessional loans will be 1 per cent lower than normal.
The loans can be secured by assets formed from them, and borrowers can get 80 per cent of the asset’s value.
They are available to all agricultural businesses, including those in aquaculture and processing, for production and trading, expansion or investment in new projects.
To enable supermarket and convenience store chains and export companies to distribute clean agricultural products, the lender is also offering concessional loans to them.