Mexico to face fierce competition from Vietnam: Mexican economists
Mexican economists have shared the view that once the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) takes effect, Mexico will have to face fierce competition from Vietnam in many sectors, such as garments and textiles, leather and footwear, and electronic equipment.
Arnulfo Gomez, a foreign trade expert, said Vietnam has successfully implemented a commercial strategy that helps improve the quality and competitiveness of its products on the international market by reducing spending on materials and applying technology in production.
With such advantages, Vietnam has more capacity than Mexico to utilise opportunities generated by the CPTPP, he said.
The experts suggested that the Mexican Government set forth new measures to raise the competitiveness of domestic businesses, thus avoiding adverse impacts from the deal.
Statistics of the Mexican Ministry of Economy show that trade between Vietnam and Mexico between January and October 2018 reached 3.85 billion USD, with a trade surplus of 3.5 billion USD in favour of Vietnam.
The CPTPP, formerly named the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), is made up of 11 signatories following the US withdrawal. The current member states are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, and Vietnam.
The deal is considered a high-quality free trade agreement and one of the most comprehensive trade deals ever concluded. The CPTPP member states form a giant market with 500 million consumers and a combined gross domestic product of 13.5 trillion USD, accounting for 15 percent of the world’s GDP and 15 percent of the global trade turnover.
The Vietnamese National Assembly passed a resolution ratifying the CPTPP and related documents on November 12. Mexico, Japan, Singapore, New Zealand, Canada, and Australia had already ratified the agreement.
The CPTTP is expected to take effect on December 30 this year.
Seafood export expected to hit over US$8 billion this year
According to the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Viet Nam earned about US$8 billion from exporting seafood in the Jan-Nov period of 2018, a year-on-year rise of nearly 5%.
In the fourth quarter of this year, the export growth and favourable factors from foreign markets, the country’s seafood exports are expected to rake in higher export value than during the same period last year, with this growth, seafood export is expected to hit US$8.8 billion for the whole of 2018, a year-on-year rise of 6%.
Specifically, tra fish export witnessed the sharpest turnover growth with US$212 million November, a year-on-year rise of 32%, totaling US$2 billion in the 11 months.
Catfish exports have continued to be a strong point of the Vietnamese seafood industry this year, according to the Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers.
Exports of tuna, squid and octopus were valued at US$600 million and US$609 million during the period, up 11% and 7% over a year earlier, respectively. The two products are expected to bag US$660 and US$680 million in 2018.
For shrimp, compared to the same period last year, November export decreased by 19%, valued at US$290 million; totaling nearly US$3.3 billion in the 11 months, down 7%.
Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Thuan Phuoc Seafood and Trading Corporation, said the high anti-dumping tariff is one of the reasons behind a decline in Viet Nam’s shrimp exports to the U.S. since 2017.
The U.S.’s imposition of a lower anti-dumping duty would facilitate Viet Nam’s shrimp exports to this market in the coming time, he said.
Of this, white-leg shrimp made up 69%, worth US$2.2 billion, down some 3%; while sugpo prawn accounted for 23%, worth US$745 million, down nearly 8%. Shrimp export is predicted to hit about US$3.6 billion this year, down 5% against 2017.
Currently, Viet Nam’s seafood products were exported to more than 180 markets worldwide, with Japan, the EU, the U.S., ASEAN, the Republic of Korea and China being the six biggest mảkets.
In 2017, Viet Nam’s seafood trade within Asia surged in 2017, reaching a combined export value of US$4 billion (€2 billion), 28% higher year-on-year.
The country exported seafood to seven countries and two territories in Asia in 2017, it reported. Japan was its biggest export market last year, rising 18.6% year-on-year to US$ 1.3 billion (€1.1 billion) in value, followed by China with US$ 1.1 billion (€ 892 million), jumping 59.4% from 2016, according to the data.
Overseas Vietnamese seek start-up opportunities
Overseas Vietnamese are contributing to the city’s development more than ever before but still face constraints in the business environment, according to the chairman of the HCM City Committee for Overseas Vietnamese (HCOV).
Speaking at a dialogue on startups held in the city on Wednesday, HCOV Chairman Phung Cong Dung said that young startups could help domestic enterprises use the latest technologies and techniques, but obstacles still exist, mostly concerning the regulatory system, legal framework, support policies and venture capital funds.
“Financial policy is the most important factor that could improve business conditions for start-ups and help the startup community grow quickly,” Dung said.
Nguyen Hoanh Nam, deputy head of the State Committee for Overseas Vietnamese Affairs under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that the country has a dynamic business environment, with GDP growth reaching over 6 per cent each year.
In addition, start-up ecosystems, investment promotion activities and favourable living conditions create good opportunities for overseas Vietnamese businesspeople to become more confident in investing in or starting a business in Viet Nam, he added.
An overseas Vietnamese from Singapore, Vo Thanh Dang of HCM City, said that startups could begin their business in Viet Nam before reaching out to the world.
Another overseas Vietnamese, Tran Ngoc Phu, of France, is now seeking an opportunity to invest in HCM City but said that obstacles such as administrative procedures, investment policies, and especially taxation and customs regulations, hinder growth.
He said that information on investment policies was at times confusing, making it difficult for businesses to identify the right information.
Phu said he hopes the HCM City Committee for Overseas Vietnamese and media agencies will help the overseas business community access accurate information about the State’s policies.
“Government agencies should organise more meetings to listen to suggestions and ideas from overseas Vietnamese so they can solve problems together,” he said.
Nguyen Ky Phung, deputy director of the city’s Department of Science and technology, said the city’s budget had allocated over US$90 million to support innovative start-up activities in the past two years.
The city’s innovative and creative community has more than 20 foreign partners, 24 incubation centres, 12 start-up co-working spaces and over 760 startups.
Most startups focus on Information and Communications Technology (ICT), agriculture, education and training.
However, domestic start-up businesses also need more knowledge, experience and support from the overseas Vietnamese business community to help Viet Nam become a start-up nation.
“HCM City is the starting point for many young overseas Vietnamese,” Phung said.
According to the HCM City Committee for Overseas Vietnamese, each year the city welcomes more than 30,000 young overseas Vietnamese to visit and seek investment and co-operation opportunities with local partners.
UPS appoints Russell Reed to lead package operations in Vietnam
UPS’ (NYSE:UPS) appointment of industry veteran Russell Reed comes as the company renews its commitment to customers located in two strategic gateways – Vietnam and Thailand – to the ASEAN region.
As managing director of UPS Thailand and UPS Vietnam, Reed’s responsibilities will include the overall management of the company’s express business in both markets, and identifying opportunities for growth. He will report to the president for UPS South Asia District, Jim O’Gara.
“With both countries continuing to strengthen their bilateral relationships, UPS’ 30-year cross-border trade experience in Asia places us in a good position to help local businesses contribute to the two-way trade goal of $20 billion by 2020,” said O’Gara.
“Russell has more than a decade of experience working in Asia, and the insights he has gained while in the region will benefit Vietnamese businesses looking to increase their engagement in intra-Asia value chains,” O’Gara added.
Bilateral trade between Vietnam and Thailand grew by an average of 13 per cent annually over the past five years.
“Vietnam’s recent ratification of free trade agreements with the European Union and Canada, and participation in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) come together to spell out opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses,” said Reed. “The past few years have seen a transformative shift in global and regional value chains. I expect that we will continue to see increased participation of ASEAN businesses moving forward. The new responsibilities for Vietnam, in addition to Thailand, will enable UPS to deliver synergistic solutions for customers in either of these two markets.”
Before assuming country manager responsibilities for UPS Thailand earlier this year and now for UPS Vietnam, Reed served as director of marketing for UPS South Asia District. In this regional position, he led expansion initiatives, drove market competitiveness assessments, and established a strong position for UPS within identified market segments. His responsibilities also included overseeing agent operations for UPS in emerging Southeast Asian markets.
Reed’s UPS journey began in 1993 when he joined as an International Account Executive in the Oregon District. With over two decades of experience in the US and the Asia-Pacific, Russell brings expertise that spans strategic planning, supply chain management, new product development and launches, international marketing, sales enablement, strategic partnerships, and operations management in both developed and emerging markets. He has held multiple leadership positions that have helped UPS expand its service footprint and capabilities across diverse markets around the world.
$60 million convertible preferred SBT stocks offered to foreign strategic investors
For the first time, a Vietnamese sugar company engages in a strategic capital-raising deal of international significance, which not only contributes to the company’s sustainable development, but also to that of the Vietnamese sugar industry.
On December 12, 2018 the Board of Management at leading sugar maker Thanh Thanh Cong-Bien Hoa JSC officially announced selling preferred convertible stock equal to nearly 8 per cent of its stake after a successful issuance through private placement to foreign strategic investors.
Accordingly, the company (SBT) envisages selling to foreign strategic investors more than 44.4 million convertible preferred stock, equal to nearly 8 per cent of its total stock after successful issuance.
The lowest proposed price was set at VND30,000 ($1.3) apiece and the highest was VND45,000 ($2) apiece, meaning that the company might raise at least $60 million through this stock issuance.
The preferred dividend duration will last for 6.5 times, with a fixed dividend ratio of 5.5 per cent per annum in the first 1.5 years with the dividend rate negotiated between SBT and the investor in the successive years.
The entire preferred stock volume does not have voting rights, but they can be converted into common stock upon the investor’s request anytime after the placement. The stock price will be later negotiated between the company and the investors at the date of conversion, but must not exceed VND38,000 ($1.6) apiece.
Based on the company’s potential, the strategic investors assess the SBT ticker’s value in the long-time might be nearly 90 per cent higher than the price it closed on the December 12, 2018 trading session. This attests to not only SBT’s immanent strength, but also the strategic investors’ expectations for the company’s future development and that of the Vietnamese sugar industry.
The preferred stock volume will face transfer restrictions for at least one year after the date of placement. SBT is in the legal setup stage with the State Securities Commission (SSC). The private placement is expected to be completed within 90 days after being approved.
The company’s Board of Management hopes the strategic investors will go abreast with the company in the long haul, willingly supporting the company in executing its development strategy, offering management expertise, capital, insights on operation method and business operation, while simultaneously helping the company take the proper steps for sustainable development.
Financial restructuring to optimise the firms’ capital structure might take place via many forms, such as loan rescheduling or raising new loans via diverse models such as borrowing from banks or issuing bonds or convertible bonds. These methods, however, fail to tackle the root of the problem, as loan rescheduling could not bring positive changes to businesses.
SBT’s management, therefore, has chosen to selling preferred stock to strategic partners. The company’s Board of Management hopes the strategic investors will go abreast with the company in the long haul, willingly supporting the company in executing its development strategy, offering management expertise, capital, insights on operation method and business operation, while simultaneously helping the company take the proper steps for sustainable development.
For the first time, a Vietnamese sugar company boldly takes on a strategic capital raising deal of international significance, as this hand-shake is meaningful not only for SBT’s development, but also that of the domestic sugar industry.
The entire proceeds raised from the private placement the company will use to refinance part of the loans it has borrowed to conduct activities, such as buying the material growing area and a sugar plant in Atttapeu (Laos), and to cover investment cost for mechanising and expanding production of organic sugar at this plant.
As a top performer of Vietnam’s sugar industry and with the ambition to bring the SBT brand outside Vietnamese borders to reach the regional level when the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA) comes into force from 2020, SBT has foreseen the high potential of Laos’ Attapeu material area and decided to embrace an M&A with Hoang Anh Gia Lai Sugar Limited in 2017.
The material area in Laos has high sugar content and is near to the sugar refining facility, helping to save on transportation costs. Besides, the land area is ideal to develop an organic sugar line of high added value to serve the hi-end customer segment and has a better profit margin compared to other sugar products, perfectly fitting the company’s strategy to focus on organic sugar line development during 2018-2021.
The TTC Attapeu sugar refining facility, with a sugarcane pressing capacity of 7,500 tonnes and producing 700 tonnes of sugar per day, is only second to the largest TTCS facility which has a sugarcane pressing capacity of 9,800 tonnes per day and produces 1,000 tonnes of sugar per day, with an associated material area reaching 7,000ha in Laos’ Attapeu region.
With its prevailing comparative advantages, SBT’s leaders expect the Attapeu merger to become an important link to perfect the company’s value chain. The Attapeu sugar segment will contribute to diversifying the company’s product portfolio, lower production costs by virtue of advantageous material area, high sugar output, and integrated warehouse and distribution system, gradually boosting SBT’s edge in the race against Thai sugar products in its journey to reach out to the regional market.
After a period of careful preparation to modernise its management system, on December 5, 2018 the first organic sugar batch produced at the TTC Attapeu sugar facility was packed to break into the European market, in anticipation of the sugar industry’s rebound.
This stands behind the strategic co-operation contract SBT has signed with the UK’s ED&F Man Sugar Company on selling organic sugar produced at TTC Attapeu and other sugar products in the 2018-2019 season to Europe.
SBT’s sugarcane industrial complex in Laos continues receiving big incentives in tax and land rent from the Lao government. Besides, Laos is one of the countries benefitting from export preferences when exporting to the EU market based on a new tariff preference programme applied to the lowest developed countries. Vietnam no longer belongs to this group as the country has moved to the group of developing countries.
The EU reportedly has a big demand for sugar products to serve both the food and non-food industries. This proves that SBT’s move to acquire Hoang Anh Gia Lai Sugar Limited in Laos will help the company firmly realise its strategy for market expansion to avoid reliance on traditional sugar consumer markets which includes Vietnam and 14 sugar export markets in America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Pacific Islands.
NCS opens food processing facility in Noi Bai Airport
Noi Bai Catering Service JSC (NCS), a member of Vietnam Airlines, inaugurated a new food processing centre on Wednesday, marking its 25th year of foundation and development.
The three-storey, 21,000sq.m facility has a capacity of 35,000 portions per day, 3.5 times higher than that of the old centre.
The new facility was designed by IO Consultants, which has partnered with the world’s leading airlines through Cathay Pacific Catering Services, Emirates Flight Catering and LSG Sky Chefs.
To meet increasing demand and the stringent standards of the catering market, the facility is equipped with advanced technology and equipment lines, meeting requirements on food hygiene and safety standards set by the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Most of the equipment for the kitchen, bakery, refrigeration and food storage was imported from prestigious brands specialising in aviation food processing in Germany, Italy, Switzerland and France.
NCS provides portions for more than 25 domestic and international airlines, including standard airlines All Nippon Airways, Asiana Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Malaysia Airlines and Japan Airlines.
Experts discuss current situation of informal economy
Economists and managers gathered at a conference in Ha Noi on Thursday to discuss the informal economy.
Prof. Dr. Nguyen Cong Nghiep said that although the informal economic sector exists in all economies, the sector’s operation is particularly strong in developing countries due to incomplete legal frameworks, as well as weak inspection, supervision and administrative systems.
More than half of the non-agricultural workforce in most low- and middle-income economies work in the unofficial economic sector, he said.
The informal economic sector accounts for about 30 per cent of GDP in Latin America, more than 50 per cent in India, and over 60 per cent in Sub-Saharan Africa.
According to the professor, in more developed economies, while it differs from nation to nation, generally speaking the sector is smaller in scale. In the US, the percentage is 5.4 per cent of the GDP; in Sweden, 6 per cent; Spain, 17.2 per cent; and Italy, 19.8 per cent.
Some experts estimate that the sector’s scale in Viet Nam is about 20-30 per cent of GDP. The General Statistics Office (GSO), while yet to give an official figure, believes the number is less than 30 per cent of GDP.
Whatever the exact number is, it is obvious that such economic activities are complex, said Nghiep.
Economist Le Dang Doanh said the fast development of technology and the dynamism of a strong, integrated economy may create spaces for digital economic forms to rise as part of the informal sector. However, these forms may lead to greater social inequality and increase the gap between the rich and the poor, he said.
Doanh said that to develop the digital economy in a legal manner, the State should build a suitable legal environment for economic forms.
GSO Deputy General Director Nguyen Thi Huong said unobserved economic forms are mostly in the illegal, leftover activities of data-collection programmes.
She said a project to build statistics on the informal economic sector is being built and will be submitted to the Prime Minister for approval later this month.
Asserting that this is a difficult job, Huong called for support and co-ordination from ministries, sectors and localities, as well as economic experts and researchers.
Chinese steel prices falling affects Hoa Phat shares
Concerns about the sharp fall in Chinese steel prices is affecting the share prices of giant steel maker Hoa Phat (HPG).
In recent weeks, the trading condition of Hoa Phat shares (HPG) has not been really positive as it has retreated continuously.
Trading at VND43,000 per share in early October, HPG has slumped to only around VND33,000 per share recently, down 23 per cent.
The company’s business performance showed positive results, completing the target plan in the first 11 months of this year. Its chairman Tran Dinh Long has revealed he will purchase more shares. However, HPG prices have not seen much progress.
The deep correction of HPG shares has been driven by not only unfavourable market conditions but also by sharp declines in Chinese steel prices.
According to VNDirect Limited Securities Company, Chinese steel prices are down 11 per cent since the start of November. Domestic steel prices have stayed largely flat over the same period but HPG’s share price has fall by 16.8 per cent over the same period.
According to Reuters, Chinese steel futures dropped for a third consecutive session on Tuesday on concerns that slower demand will persist next year, with prices of steelmaking raw materials – coking coal and coke – retreating.
China’s steel shipments dropped nearly 9 per cent to 63.78 million tonnes in January-November.
“HPG, until recently a darling of most analysts and among the most widely and deeply held stocks among large funds in Viet Nam, is under a sledgehammer. With steel prices in clear correction territory across Asia, investors are pricing in a spillover into Viet Nam even though domestic steel prices appear to be holding up and demand is still strong,” VNDirect said in a statement on its website.
The recent pull back could even be justified on the ground the HPG’s valuation had run ahead of the steel price upcycle in late 2017 and over the first half of 2018, helped in no small part by the overall expansion in market-wide valuations over the same period, it said.
“So some retreat in valuations was to be expected. But the tumble in Chinese steel prices is clearly taking HPG’s PE multiple down with it.”
The securities firms said investors were reacting to Chinese steel prices as this was a lead indicator of the domestic steel price trends.
Weakening Chinese steel prices point to building material oversupply which, combined with the sharp recent devaluation in the Chinese yuan, could mean that Chinese steel could well find its way into the Vietnamese market, despite hefty import tariffs of roughly 12-20 per cent.
News that the Chinese government has relaxed environmental norms on steel production, such as no production bans in winter and ability to use lower grade iron ore, means that Chinese steel producers are likely to become more competitive relative to Vietnamese producers, which would affect their profits, such as HPG.
All this at a time when HPG is about to launch a record amount of new long steel capacity into the market with the anticipated commissioning of the Dung Quat complex.
VNDirect said the Chinese economy could be doing even more badly than forecast with actual growth now estimated to be closer to the 4 per cent mark, and the reserve requirement ratio (RRR) cuts at Chinese banks not really appearing to be very effective thus far, another bout of public spending is a real possibility.
“And, as always, this is more likely than not to take the avatar of another infrastructure spending binge even if that means kicking the deleveraging can down the road,” the company said.
According to VNDirect’s equity sales head Lawrence Heavey, HPG looks rather being oversold, on an Relative Strength Index (RSI) basis, and a potential improvement in US-China trade tension “optics”.
This might be an opportunity to accumulate on weakness. But keep a very close eye on Chinese steel prices.
Struggling Vinalines to open container shipping centre next week
The Vietnam National Shipping Lines (Vinalines) will open a logistics centre for container shipping on December 17 as part of moves to restructure the State-owned firm, according to Deputy Director General Do Thi Ngoc Trang.
The Ha Noi-based centre will provide logistical support for 10 container ships owned by Vinalines. It is expected to help the corporation develop a professional system of container transportation, utilising existing resources from its two subsidiaries – the Vinalines Container Shipping Company (Vinalines Container) and Bien Dong Shipping Company.
By founding the centre, Vinalines expects to cut administrative costs by half, equivalent to VND18.7 billion (US$780,000), by reducing the number of personnel needed and lease payments.
The Government and the Ministry of Transport have adopted long-term and short-term strategies for sea-based economy development and the centre will help translate the strategies into practice, Trang said.
The centre also hopes to lure more domestic and foreign customers and partners in port and logistics industries for Vinalines, boosting its performance, she added.
Vinalines, founded in 1995, is a fully State-owned enterprise. It was transformed into a holding company in 2006 and a State-owned one member limited company in 2010. The corporation has made various restructuring steps to improve its business results after several years of sharply falling profits.
The company’s revenue exceeded VND3.1 trillion in 2017, only half of 2016’s number. Its pre-tax profit was just VND306 billion, equivalent to 12.2 per cent of 2016’s result.
With more than 30 subsidiary and affiliate companies, Vinalines’ total consolidated revenue was VND15.8 trillion in 2017, down by 12.3 per cent year-on-year, while its pre-tax profit surged 189 per cent over 2016 to reach VND682 billion.
In 2018, the company’s leaders have set lower business targets due to continued fleet streamlining and decreasing of financial income.
Vinalines is projected to earn consolidated revenue of VND13.64 trillion in 2018, down 13.7 per cent from 2017, and a pre-tax profit of VND668 billion, down 3 per cent.
Vietnamese group participates in Middle East’s largest construction expo
The Tan A Dai Thanh Group, a leading Vietnamese water solution manufacturer and supplier, has recently attended The Big 5 Dubai Expo, the largest construction event in the Middle East.
Held in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) late last month, the event comprised 2,600 pavilions from 64 countries across the world and attracted nearly 65,000 visitors. More than 100 seminars and events were also organised on the sidelines of The Big 5 Dubai Expo.
Visiting the Tan A Dai Thanh Group’s booth, Vietnamese Trade Counsellor in the UAE Le Phuong said that with its convenient position and eye-catching products, the group’s pavilion drew a lot of visitors.
The success made by the group at the event, which attracted a huge number of visitors from not only the UAE but also the Middle East and other regions over the world, will help introduce Vietnamese products to international friends, Phuong added.
The UAE has become a major trade partner of Vietnam in the Middle East and Africa with bilateral trade surpassing 6 billion USD, accounting for one-third of Vietnam’s trade with regional countries. Both sides are striving to lift two-way trade to about 10 billion USD by 2020.
Viet Nam’s GDP could grow more than 6.9% in 2019-20: NCIF
Viet Nam’s economy could grow between 6.9 and 7.1 per cent in the 2019-20 period under stable macroeconomic conditions that could boost foreign direct investment (FDI) and promote economic restructuring and the implementation of free trade agreements (FTAs).
The statement was made by Dang Duc Anh, head of the Analysis and Forecast Division at the National Centre for Socio-Economic Information and Forecast (NCIF) at a conference in Ha Noi on Wednesday.
However, Viet Nam faces risks in the upcoming period as economic growth becomes more dependent on the FDI sector. FDI enterprises in Viet Nam are focusing on a number of key commodities, so when there are trade disputes or conflicts, economic growth will be impacted significantly, Anh added.
In addition, credit growth and a high rate of money supply could lead to national debt and macroeconomic instability. High public debt and large repayment obligations also affect macroeconomic management as well as the possibility of reducing interest rates.
Meanwhile, the US trade deficit continues to rise; FDI flow from China is unclear; and bilateral and multilateral FTAs will have an increased impact on the Vietnamese economy, according to the NCIF representative’s forecast.
Ford reports record sales in November
Ford said it achieved the highest ever monthly sales in Viet Nam last month – 3,466 units, representing an increase of nearly 44 per cent year-on-year.
Ranger and Focus led strong sales across its full line-up, each notching their best-ever monthly results.
“Things are really coming together for us to close out the year – including a series of successful new vehicles launches with new Ranger, Raptor, Everest and EcoSport, and a healthy supply of our full line-up at dealerships across the country,” Pham Van Dung, the company’s managing director, said.
Its record November numbers helped Ranger remain Viet Nam’s best-selling pick-up truck this year, a position it has held since 2014 – with year-to-date sales now totalling 6,747 units.
The Focus saw sales more than double from a year earlier to 269 vehicles, helping push its year-to-date total up 74 per cent to 1,851.
The EcoSport remained the country’s popular compact SUV with sales increasing 5 per cent to 400.
November sales of the Transit rose 7 per cent to 427 units and year-to-date sales to 5,475 vehicles. It has led the commercial van segment since 2015.
The mid-size Everest delivered November sales of 480 vehicles, up sharply from the same month a year ago. Year-to-date sales total 1,386 units.
The imported Explorer premium SUV equipped with a 2.3L EcoBoost engine saw sales jump 25 per cent in November to 133 vehicles and in the year-to-date to 602.
Base.vn raises $1.3 million
Base.vn, a Viet Nam-based SaaS (software as a service) platform enterprise, has successfully raised US$1.3 million in its second round of funding.
This round was led by Alpha JWC Ventures (Indonesia) and Beenext (Singapore), with 500 Startups and VIISA, who had provided seed funding, joining in again.
The amount is “the biggest ever invested in a B2B tech company in Viet Nam,” Pham Kim Hung, Base.vn’s founder and CEO, said.
“Our first priority with this funding is to acquire more talent for product development and build a solid platform for our strategic expansion in Southeast Asia in mid-2019.”
Alpha JWC Ventures’ co-founder and managing partner, Chandra Tjan, said: “Selling to enterprises is challenging, and Base.vn with its outstanding products has managed to become a market leader in the SaaS sector in Viet Nam.”
Founded in 2016, Base.vn is the first open platform in Southeast Asia that helps enterprises streamline company activities such as hiring, payroll, task management, team collaboration and approval management.
It has more than 20 applications in five key product lines — human resource management, workload tracking, task management, finance, and marketing and sales — via multiple apps such as Hiring, Approval Management, Task Management, and Communication.
It said its mission is to build a centralised platform with the best softwares for businesses.
Its products have been used by more than 500 SMEs and corporate customers in Viet Nam like VIB Bank, VP Bank, McDonald’s, MK Group, The Coffee House, and VinCommerce.
Last August Base.vn had announced its seed round funding from VIISA and 500 Startups besides three other angel investors.
PV Oil to sell State’s stake
PetroVietnam Oil Corporation (PV Oil), the second-largest petrol dealer in the country, will sell the State’s stake in a package deal instead of splitting it into different small sales, news site ndh.vn reported.
According to PV Oil General Director Cao Hoai Duong, the company has submitted a plan to the firm’s parent company – the Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam or PVN).
The company is trading more than 200.4 million shares on the Unlisted Public Company Market (UPCoM) as OIL. Its shares gained 0.7 per cent to close Friday at VND15,400 (US$0.67) per share.
It has a total of 1.09 billion outstanding shares on the Vietnamese equity market.
PVN will represent the State to hold 35.1 per cent of PV Oil’s charter capital after the latter firm completes its equitisation plan.
Under its plan, PV Oil must sell 20 per cent of its charter capital via initial public offering (IPO). The company had done so in January 2018, raising around $184 million.
PV Oil will also have to sell nearly 45 per cent of its capital to a strategic investor. A number of foreign companies had shown interest including budget carrier Vietjet, HDBank, SK Energy from South Korea and Idemitsu from Japan.
However, due to a shortage of time and the complication of administrative procedures, PV Oil was unable to fulfill all required documents, Duong said, adding that no strategic investors were able to buy the shares.
In mid-November, SK Energy bought more than 3.55 million PV Oil shares for VND56 billion ($2.46 million) to become a major shareholder with 54.12 million shares or 5.23 per cent of PV Oil’s charter capital.
At a recent meeting with PVN Deputy General Director Le Manh Hung, Dutch royal petrol group Shell’s Vice Chairman Douglas Buckley said the firm was willing to purchase a part of PVN’s ownership in PV Oil and learn the requirements that a strategic investor must meet.
The offer was considered a move to help Shell make deeper inroads into the Vietnamese petrol market.
Shell was among a number of global firms that filed to become a strategic investor in PV Oil after the Vietnamese firm completed its IPO in January 2018.
Hung said at the meeting that the requirements of a strategic investor for PV Oil were being developed and Shell could make direct contact with PV Oil for updates.
Shell was also willing to work with Vietnamese companies to supply liquefied natural gas (LNG) for upcoming projects of PVN and its sub-unit PetroVietnam Gas (PV Gas).
According to Hung, PVN has two LNG terminal projects: the Thi Vai LNG Terminal and Son My LNG Terminal.
PVN and PV Gas were seeking short-term and long-term LNG suppliers via contract bidding for the Thi Vai LNG Terminal, while waiting for the Government’s approval on the Son My LNG Terminal.
PAN Group registers to buy Sao Ta Foods shares
Vietnamese agriculture and food company PAN Group JSC has registered to buy nearly 4.8 million shares of Sao Ta Foods JSC (FMC) to raise its current holding in FMC to 45 per cent.
The shares, to be bought for VND30,000 each (US$1.28), are equivalent to a 11.85 per cent stake in FMC.
PAN Group will receive the registration dossiers of the sellers from tomorrow to January 14.
Sao Ta Foods’ revenue rose 3 per cent year-on-year to hit $16.2 million in November. The firm’s shrimp output surged 33 per cent to 1,937 tonnes in the month.
In January-November, its shrimp output was more than 20,700 tonnes, exceeding the goal for the year by 7 per cent. Its revenue surpassed the full-year target by 6.2 per cent at $201.8 million.
Vinamilk to pay second round of dividends
Viet Nam Dairy Products Joint Stock Company (Vinamilk) has announced plans to finalise the list of shareholders that will receive its second dividend payment for 2018 on December 28.
According to the plan, dividends will be paid in cash at a ratio of 10 per cent, (VND1,000 per share), valuing the deal at more than VND1.74 trillion (US$74.4 million).
The dividend payment period is expected to begin on February 28, 2019.
On September 26, Vinamilk spent VND2.9 trillion on its first dividend payment for 2018.
The company’s dividend payout ratio for this year is 30 per cent, equivalent to more than VND5.22 trillion.
According to the financial report of the third quarter of 2018, the company recorded net revenue of nearly VND39.56 trillion, an increase of two per cent over the same period last year. The after-tax profit of shareholders of the parent company reached nearly VND7.93 trillion, down 7 per cent year-on-year.
As of September 30, Vinamilk’s total cash and short-term deposits were VND8 trillion, down significantly from VND11.1 trillion at the beginning of the year, mainly due to dividend payment.
FPT sees revenue and profits rise
IT giant FPT recorded an 11-month revenue and pre-tax profit up 21 per cent and 35 per cent from last year.
During the first eleven months of 2018, the company’s revenue and pre-tax profit were estimated at VND20.5 trillion (US$876 million) and VND3.6 trillion.
FPT’s post-tax profit reached VND3 trillion, up 20 per cent against last year, and profit margin was 17.4 per cent, 2.3 times higher than the same period last year.
Revenue from technology and telecommunication segments contributed 94 per cent to the total revenue.
The technology segment recorded revenue and pre-tax profit of VND11.2 trillion and VND1.4 trillion, up 25 per cent and 44 per cent against last year, respectively, equivalent to 106 per cent and 112 per cent of the yearly plan. In the technology segment, the software export sector reported revenue and pre-tax profit of VND7.5 trillion and VND1.2 trillion, up 35 per cent and 33 per cent year-on-year, respectively.