Thanh Thanh Cong Investment acquires 35 million SBT shares, lifting ownership to 32 per cent
Thanh Thanh Cong Investment JSC has purchased 35 million shares in Thanh Thanh Cong – Bien Hoa JSC (SBT), lifting its ownership in the sugar manufacturer to 158.5 million shares, an equivalent of 32 per cent of SBT’s capital.
The number fell short of its total registered purchase of 45 million shares.
Shares in SBT were trading at around VND20,000-22,000 (US$0.90) on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange during the purchasing time from November 16 to December 14, putting the deal value at more than VND750 billion ($32 million).
Earlier in November, chairwoman of Thanh Thanh Cong Investment JSC Dang Huynh Uc My completed the purchase of 20 million shares of SBT, raising her stake to 10.6 per cent. The two shareholders have a combined stake of 42.6 per cent of the outstanding shares of SBT.
In October, the company approved a plan to allow My and her affiliates to increase their holdings to a maximum of 55 per cent without having to conduct a public tender.
In an opposite movement, Ben Tre Import Export JSC has continued offloading SBT shares since it was merged with the sugar company early this year. Its holding in SBT decreased from more than 93 million shares in February to 20 million shares in late November, equivalent to 4.08 per cent of SBT’s capital.
SBT will pay a cash dividend at a rate of 4 per cent on January 25 next year. The deadline for existing shareholders to register to participate in this payout is December 25.
Website vuivui.com moves to bachhoaxanh.com
E-commerce website Vui Vui (vuivui.com) of retailer Mobile World Group (MWG) has officially moved to bachhoaxanh.com.
When accessing the website, customers have been redirected to bachhoaxanh.com since November 27.
Regarding the issue, a representative of MWG explained via email that the firm had decided to focus on the online consumer market because of the huge market size of over US$50 billion and increasing demand.
“When deciding to focus on online Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG), the choice of website name bachhoaxanh.com is more suitable than vuivui.com,” he said.
All the previous functions of Vui Vui have been moved to Bach Hoa Xanh, he said.
Sugar company believes 2019 profits won’t be quite as sweet
Quang Ngai Sugar JSC (QNS) forecasts its revenue in 2019 at VND8.4 trillion (US$368.8 million) and post-tax profit at VND200 billion.
Next year’s revenue is a bit higher than this year’s estimate of VND8.35 trillion, according to the company’s resolution published last week. But 2019 post-tax profit is about one-fifth of this year’s number, which is forecast at VND1.1 trillion. The firm did not mention the reason for such slump in post-tax profit in 2019.
2018’s expected earnings are up 9.4 per cent year on year in revenue and up 7 per cent year on year in profit. In the first three quarters, QNS recorded VND6.14 trillion in revenue and VND788 billion in post-tax profit, which increased by 3.5 per cent and 15.2 per cent year on year.
According to the company, reasons for a strong boost in its third-quarter profit included higher sugar production for 2017-18 season, which was 50 per cent higher than 2016-17 season, and the efficient operation of its soybean production line.
Decree 20 has impact on property sector
The implementation of Decree 20/2017/ND-CP (Decree 20) has affected the production and business activities of enterprises, especially in the real estate sector.
Nguyen Tran Nam, chairman of the Viet Nam Real Estate Association, spoke on the decree in a seminar on finding solutions for real estate enterprises to overcome difficulties during its implementation. It includes regulations on the deductibility of loan interest, in effect since May 1, 2017 for enterprises with associated transactions.
The regulations do not match reality and affect the interests of enterprises, according to Nam. A cap on borrowing costs will have a negative impact on low-profit businesses and make it more difficult for enterprises to source capital, especially for businesses that need huge amounts of capital like in the real estate sector.
“The investment climate is equal for domestic and foreign invested enterprises, especially in terms of taxation. However, some sectors that require large investments need interest rate adjustments,” Nam said.
According to Decree 20, the deductibility of loan interest is capped at 20 per cent of earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA). Expenses for loan interest exceeding 20 per cent are taxable.
Economist Can Van Luc, a member of the National Financial and Monetary Advisory Council, spoke at the seminar. He said that in Viet Nam, the expense for loan interest at 30 per cent would be reasonable because the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has an average rate of 20 per cent.
However, it is still necessary to consider the characteristics of some industries and enterprises, according to Luc. There needs to be a roadmap on implementing the regulations, especially for businesses that must borrow up to 50 per cent of their investment needs to gradually reduce their percentage of loans. For instance, they need to reduce 10 per cent of their loans each year.
Dinh Mai Hanh, a Tax Partner of Deloitte Vietnam, said the Government issued the decree to manage tax issues for enterprises with associated transactions, especially multi-national enterprises. Therefore, the provision should be applied only when enterprises have capital transactions from their affiliates.
At the same time, the cap should be calculated on the interest expense of loans from parties with associated partnerships, but not from independent parties such as banks and credit organisations.” In many countries, the cap is calculated based on interest expenses of loans from affiliates abroad but not affiliates at home,” she said.
The OECD has recommended that countries should have a schedule to implement the regulation carefully with enterprises’ situations, operation models and capital structures. This would give enterprises time to restructure their finances and would reduce the impact on competitiveness of enterprises that have large debt volumes, she said.
Many local enterprises must pay higher corporate income taxes according to regulations on the deductibility of loan interest under Decree 20. Vietnamese businesses, especially those investing in key industries, end up paying higher income taxes because they borrow huge amounts of capital.
Lenders must pay taxes on income from the loan interest, while borrowers pay for exceeding the borrowing costs ceiling.
The regulation has also made corporations limit their investments in business development in some fields that need to encourage development.
Capping the interest rate ceiling for loans would impact lending and borrowing activities that are common in state corporations and private firms.
Microfinance crucial for financial inclusion: SBV
The State Bank of Viet Nam (SBV) will continue fine-tuning policies on microfinance to achieve the nation’s financial inclusion target, SBV Deputy Governor Dao Minh Tu said at a forum on microfinance held in Ha Noi on Wednesday.
According to Tu, the world currently faces three major challenges, namely poverty, inequality and migration. Financial services (including savings, insurance, money transfer, payment and credit) are an important basis to deal with these global issues and also a premise towards the goal of sustainable, equal and comprehensive development for all in society.
Microfinance can enhance economic conditions for poor customers, providing them development opportunities via the provision of financial services, Tu added.
In addition to facilitating direct access to financial and non-financial services, microfinance organisations also help customers access official financial services, he said.
In Viet Nam, Tu said, microfinance has also confirmed its importance in supporting the poor and low-income people to access financial services. This is considered an effective tool in the country’s poverty reduction strategy, helping Viet Nam reduce the number of poor households from 9.6 per cent in 2012 to 6.7 per cent in 2017.
Therefore, microfinance activities have been acting as a crucial pillar towards achieving financial inclusion, Tu said, adding that its development has also helped cut illegal lending at very high interest rates.
On the sidelines of the forum, an awards ceremony for the Citi – Vietnam Microentrepreneurship Awards 2018 (CMA 2018) took place, with 30 microfinance customers and four microfinance institutions, selected from more than 100 submissions honoured.
The annual awards, funded by Citi Foundation/Citi Bank – Vietnam, aims to recognise microentrepreneurs for using loans effectively and typical microfinance institutions that have contributed to poverty reduction.
VN ranks second in world on consumer confidence in Q3
Vietnamese consumer confidence ranked second in the world in the third quarter of this year, driven by optimism in jobs, incomes and spending, according to the Conference Board Global Consumer Confidence Survey conducted in collaboration with Nielsen.
The report, announced on Thursday, revealed Viet Nam scored 129 points in the consumer confidence in the third quarter, nine points higher than the previous quarter, a record score for the country in the past decade.
The report said that while most Asian economies were vulnerable to the ongoing trade dispute between China and the US and general protectionist tendencies globally, Viet Nam was a possible exception as it might attract parts of the global value chain that run through China.
Besides the solid labour market, strong third-quarter GDP growth and rising credit growth in Viet Nam also created a positive outlook for the consumer sector, according to the report.
Nguyen Huong Quynh, general director of Nielsen Viet Nam, said this was an opportunity for producers and retailers.
“However, rising inflation and new petroleum taxes to be implemented in early 2019 could dampen confidence in Viet Nam going forward,” the report noted.
In Asia-Pacific, Thailand, Malaysia, Viet Nam and Australia were the main drivers of the confidence uptick in the region, which improved from 112 points in the second quarter to 114 in the third quarter.
In the global ranking, India ranked first in consumer confidence, scoring 130 points in the third quarter.
The top five also included Malaysia, Indonesia and Pakistan.
Overall, the global consumer confidence index increased by two points in the third quarter to 106 points from 104 in the prior quarter and was now back to its all-time high.
This was driven by optimism about job prospects and personal finances improving compared to the second quarter.
The report said the global uptick in confidence was a positive sign for economic and business growth. However, moderate expectations regarding global GDP growth along with several other headwinds seemed to have translated into a more cautious attitude toward spending.
The Conference Board projected global GDP growth in 2019 to fall slightly below 2018. “Fears of significant pullback of global trade could undermine the growth outlook,” the report said.
Also, with anticipated price rises amid high oil prices, trade uncertainty, falling currency and rises in borrowing costs, global consumer’s were likely to be more prudent in the near future.
Start-ups should be reaching out to large firms: forum
Large companies and start-ups need to collaborate and grow together, delegates told the Viet Nam Young Leaders Forum in HCM City on Friday.
The business environment is changing drastically, and big corporations need clear strategies to keep pace while start-ups are innovative with regard to products and services but need resources to survive and grow, according to the delegates.
The two should work together to leverage their strengths and develop together, they said.
Hoang Quoc Quyen, CEO of Vinfast Service, said start-ups often hesitated to reach out to large companies and wanted them to be “more active in contacting leaders of ‘elephants’.”
Delegates said there had been a strong start-up wave this year, with many newcomers using technology platforms.
But starting a business is never an easy job, and start-up entrepreneurs need to make solid preparations in terms of planning and resources, and possess determination and capability, according to the delegates.
Nguyen Ba Diep, vice chairman of MoMo, a leading mobile payment company, said next year would see “many changes in the digital services market, especially in fintech, with many new models emerging.”
Viet Nam’s fintech market was still young, and the market would gradually develop when there are many start-ups, he said.
Talking about new trends in the education sector, Ho Duc Hoan, founder and CEO of Edu2Review, winner of the 2016 Start-up Wheel competition, said mobile learning apps had become popular.
Many educational units were using artificial intelligence and the integrated learning experience platform to offer more experiences to learners, he said.
Technology had brought big changes to many sectors including education and training and finance, Diep said.
He said start-ups must always think “what’s next?”
“Start-ups must always innovate to stay afloat in the market because your successful models today can be imitated by other start-ups, so you need to be innovative and creative to come up with new models.”
Quyen said start-ups usually developed products and services for customers in big cities like Ha Noi and HCM City. This should change and they should focus more on exploiting markets in provinces and rural areas, he said.
Organised by the Business Start-up Support Centre (BSSC) in collaboration with the Young Businesspeople Association of HCM City, the forum, themed “Start-up 2019: What’s Next?” attracted over 500 delegates, including company chiefs and university students.
Truong Ly Hoang Phi, founder of the BSSC, said the forum aimed to create opportunities for young leaders to learn from successful Vietnamese start-ups. This would inspire entrepreneurship and a positive mindset in the younger generations.
VN to become major source for ASEAN buyers
As more export orders shift from China to other countries, Viet Nam will become one of the next major sourcing destinations for buyers from ASEAN-member countries, experts said at a meeting on Friday in HCM City.
Pham Thiet Hoa, director of the HCM City Investment and Trade Promotion Centre (ITPC), said that trade relations between Viet Nam and ASEAN countries had grown rapidly in recent years.
“ASEAN is Viet Nam’s fourth largest export market, after the EU, the US and China, he said.
ASEAN economies have a combined population of around 660 million and high economic growth, and Vietnamese firms now have greater opportunities than ever to export to them, according to Hoa.
The establishment of ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) three years ago is expected to open up many opportunities for Vietnamese businesses.
Compared to other trade agreements, commitments on tariff reductions in the AEC are the most favourable.
Viet Nam plans to complete the AEC tariff-reduction schedule by the end of the year, when tariffs will be cut to zero.
To tap into the ASEAN market, Hoa said that Vietnamese exporters should engage in more trade promotions and market surveys, and strengthen linkages with enterprises in target markets.
Exporters should also study prices, tastes and trends of consumers in other markets, and offer labels and packaging in English and in local languages.
To meet the requirements of the ASEAN market, enterprises should also build brands, apply technology in production to reduce costs, and improve designs to increase the added value of products.
“E-commerce is also essential,” Hoa added.
China is the biggest trading partner of Viet Nam. Vietnamese exports to China reached $38.1 billion in the first 11 months, up 23.2 per cent year-on-year, which was higher than any other markets.
As of the end of October, bilateral trade between Viet Nam and China reached $86.9 billion, up 19 per cent year on year.
Last year, bilateral trade between the two countries totalled $93.7 billion. Exports of agricultural, forestry and fishery products were worth more than $8 billion, accounting for 35 per cent of Viet Nam’s total export turnover.
At the APEC summit held in Da Nang last year, President Xi Jinping said that China would import goods worth more than $24 trillion over the next 15 years.
China has been Viet Nam’s largest trading partner for more than 10 consecutive years, and Viet Nam is one of China’s 10 largest trading partners, according to the consul general of China in HCM City.
The Chinese consulate said that Viet Nam’s government should research different trends in consumption markets and then issue suitable policies to help local exporters.
Exporters must learn about changing markets to sell the products that the market needs, instead of selling products the market already has, the consulate said.
Vietnamese enterprises should also improve the marketing of their products, especially to the Chinese market, through major events like the China-ASEAN Fair and Canton Fair, among others.
A traceability system to protect consumers and higher investment in warehousing and logistics to ensure faster delivery were also important.
Businesses and individuals should not sell poor quality products for short-term benefits, and instead should have a long-term vision to protect the reputation of the industry, according to the Chinese consulate.
Speaking at the meeting, Nguyen Thi Ngoc Hang, head of the marketing division of the Halal Certification Agency, said halal was a thriving industry worth $2.3 trillion in revenue each year globally, attracting not only Islamic countries but also non-Muslim countries.
The number of Muslims worldwide is 1.6 billion. With half of ASEAN’s population as Muslim, the halal industry in the ASEAN market has great potential and is continuing to grow, according to Hang.
Bilateral trade between Viet Nam and ASEAN last year reached US$49.5 billion, a rise of 19.6 per cent over 2016, accounting for 11.7 per cent of the country’s total import and export turnover, according to the General Department of Customs.
Last year, total exports from Viet Nam to ASEAN were $21.51 billion, a surge of 23.9 per cent compared to 2016, accounting for 10 per cent of the country’s total exports.
The key exports included telephones and components, computers, electronics and components, iron and steel, machinery and spare parts, textiles, crude oil and petroleum, among others.
Viet Nam’s imports from ASEAN were $28.02 billion in 2017, up 16.4 per cent compared to 2016, accounting for 13.3 per cent of the country’s total imports from all markets.
The GDP of ASEAN reached $2.551 billion in 2016. The area is expected to become the world’s fourth largest market by 2030.
The 2018 Export Forum: ASEAN-China Market was organised by ITPC under the direction of the HCM City People’s Committee.
Samsung and MoIT provide supports to help firms improve productivity
The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) plans to increase support to help local businesses improve their productivity via a training programme with Samsung Viet Nam, said Truong Thanh Hoai, the ministry’s head of the Industrial Department.
The official made the announcement at the end of the ‘Vietnamese support industry specialists collaboration training course in production improvement and quality enhancement” held in Ha Noi on Friday.
Hoai said in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the trade war between China and the US, local businesses would have both opportunities and challenges.
Meanwhile, the number of Vietnamese firms in manufacturing was limited at some 70,000, with only 3,000 operating in the support industry.
This made for a good opportunity for the specialists to improve their knowledge to the international level and then help Vietnamese companies deeply join global production chains, he added.
Of the 200 Vietnamese specialists that will receive training between 2018 and 2019, from April until now, 95 specialists have completed training courses in Ha Noi and HCM City.
These training courses were initiated based on a consultant process that has been successfully applied by Samsung.
According to assessments from specialists, through the practice opportunities, they received meticulous guidance on how to help the enterprises enhance their production capacity and improve their quality.
Shim Won Hwan, President of Samsung Viet Nam Complex said: “This is the first step of a long-term plan that Samsung have committed to co-operate with the Vietnamese Government to expand the service to many other support enterprises to improve their production capability and products’ quality, from which elevating these enterprises’ competitive capability. I firmly believe that, in the near future, there will be more Vietnamese enterprises able to participate in the global supply chains operating in Viet Nam, other than Samsung’s”.
The consultant specialists will be assigned to participate in the enterprise consulting programme by the MoIT. The best 30 per cent will take advanced training in South Korea, paid for by Samsung.
Not only focusing on supporting enterprises in their supply chain, Samsung’s ultimate goal is to partner with the Government to improve the competitiveness of domestic supply chains to develop the supporting industry of Viet Nam.
Quang Nam’s Chu Lai OEZ to expand
Chu Lai Open Economic Zone (OEZ) in Quang Nam Province was designated as a multi-sector economic zone yesterday, following Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s decision on the zone’s master planning.
The new OEZ, which will cover 27,000ha of Tam Ky City, Nui Thanh and Thang Binh districts, is set to be developed in various industries including automobile manufacture, car supportive industry, oil refinery, high-tech agriculture and more.
The new zone will include seven industrial parks on 4,950ha; four ports and logistics centre; four urban zones and a 4,300ha high-tech farm.
Chu Lai Airport will be upgraded to host 5 million tourists and 5 million tonnes of cargo a year, while Ky Ha Port will be upgraded to host 50,000 DWT (deadweight tonnage) cargo ships.
The four urban zones in the OEZ are set to accommodate a population of 500,000 in 2050, the ministry of construction said.
Speaking at the announcement of the adjusted plan yesterday , PM Phuc praised the efforts from the Chu Lai OEZ authority, businesses and people of Quang Nam in making the zone a key part of Viet Nam’s economy.
“The Chu Lai Open Economic Zone has been face-lifted from a desert with only sun and sand into a dynamic economic hub and a destination for investment. The zone has attracted 158 investors with total investment of US$4.5 billion.
“The zone has been an example of successful economic growth, especially from private sector and foreign direct investment. It has also contributed much to the provincial budget and State budget with huge income,” he said.
PM Phuc said the economic growth of the zone had helped Quang Nam improve from a poor State budget contributor at about VND120 billion (US$10 million) in 1997 to VND23 trillion ($1 billion) now.
He also urged the province, department and Stage agencies to enhance administrative reform to aid investors and offer preferential policies to attract technology transfer and high-quality workers.
He said the zone and the province should plan long-term policies and improve forecasts in terms of market and investment to lure multinational groups to the zone.
Also yesterday, the PM opened a railway flyover roundabout at one of the busiest crossroads on National Highway No 1A, in Nui Thanh District, and a road linking Chu Lai Port to Da Nang-Quang Ngai Expressway.
The flyover, invested in by Truong Hai Automobile Company (Thaco) to the tune of VND600 billion ($26.5 million), will allow non-stop travel on the national highway and hasten the transportation of cargo from the seaport to the road system and Chu Lai Airport.
The PM also applauded Thaco for its contribution of VND70 trillion ($3 billion) to Quang Nam’s budget over the past 15 years.
On the celebration of the 15th anniversary of the Chu Lai OEZ establishment, the central province also handed out investment licences to five new projects from local investors Thaco and Bach Khoa Viet joint-stock company (BKV Petro) and Zuru from New Zealand, with combined investment of $1 billion.
According to the province, Thaco will expand its automobile mechanical complex, aiming at increasing localisation ratio of made-in-Viet Nam car to 40 per cent for export, and will also build a farm produce processing plant with the firm Hoang Anh Gia Lai.
The local car maker plans to construct a 350m pier for hosting cargo ships with 50,000DWT accessing Chu Lai-Truong Hai port.
BKV Petro will also build bio-fuel (E5) and liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) storage at Tam Hiep port in Chu Lai EOZ with total investment of $154 million in 2019-21.
Zuru Building and Construction Company plans to invest $400 million in prefabricated houses using new materials.
To date, Chu Lai OEZ has drawn 43 foreign direct investment projects worth $1.3 billion – 30 per cent of total investment.
According to OEZ authorities, 111 projects worth $3 billion are in operation, creating 20,000 jobs for locals.
Investment projects in the zone contribute about 60 per cent to the local budget annually.
T&T Group to import cashews from Ivory Coast
Viet Nam’s industry-real estate-finance conglomerate T&T Group and the Ivory Coast’s Cotton and Cashew Council (CCA) last week signed a strategic co-operation agreement to import raw cashew nuts.
The agreement was signed during a visit by T&T Group to the Ivory Coast from December 7-21.
T&T Group plans to build a cashew processing factory in the Ivory Coast with a processing capacity of up to 50,000 tonnes per year.
The CCA is committed to ensuring the availability of raw materials to meet T&T Group’s needs in line with market conditions and to monitor the implementation of commitments between T&T Group and its domestic partners.
The CCA will assist T&T Group in selecting the location of the plant to ensure convenient access to raw materials, logistics and a labour source for the factory.
The Ivory Coast ranks second in terms of raw cashew production worldwide.
In August, T&T Group also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Guinea Bissau to import raw cashew nuts with an annual volume of 150,000-200,000 tonnes per year.
During the business trip, T&T Group also visited Guinea Bissau to work with local authorities and enterprises in order to implement the MoU.
T&T Group’s vice general director Nguyen Thi Thanh Binh and Guinea Bissau’s Minister of Trade, Tourism and Handicrafts also signed a 2019 action plan.
Founded in 1993, T&T Group JSC operates in the real estate, finance, industry, sports and import-export segments. Its real estate projects include residential units, trade centres, office buildings, resorts, marine eco-tourism areas, urban areas and industrial zones. The company currently has total assets of over VND35 trillion (US$1.5 billion) and charter capital of VND15 trillion.
Vietjet President named in Bloomberg 50
President and CEO of Vietjet Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao has been named by Bloomberg Businessweek as the first Vietnamese representative in the annual Bloomberg 50 (B50), honoring noteworthy global leaders.
Thao is chairwoman of Sovico Holdings, President and CEO of Vietjet, as well as standing vice chairwoman of HDBank.
Over the past two years, Thao has listed Vietjet and HDBank on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HOSE). The market capitalisation of both companies accounts for billions of dollars, making Thao the second richest person in Viet Nam’s stock market.
This month, Thao has also been recognised as one of the 100 most powerful women in the world by Forbes. Thao was ranked 44th, up 11 spots compared to last year. Viet Nam’s first self-made billionaire’s estimated net asset is about US$2.6 billion, $1.98 billion higher from last year.
In addition, the Vietjet President and CEO has become a Harvard Business School (HBS) case study this year.
The B50 highlights those who have changed the global business landscape in measurable ways in 2018. Differentiating from other traditional power lists, the B50 showcases those who changed the equation 2018 in measurable, quantifiable ways thanks to the utilisation of Bloomberg’s worldwide resources of 2,400 journalists, proprietary data and analytics.
The 2018 B50 honorees include prestigious leaders and entrepreneurs, including Jerome Powell, Chairman of the US Federal Reserve; Amy Hood, Chief Financial Officer of Microsoft; Ben van Beurden, CEO of Royal Dutch Shell; Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada; Leanne Caret, President and CEO of Defence, Space & Security at Boeing; and Cyril Ramaphosa, President of South Africa.
Automated customs system connects around 280 firms
Nearly 280 businesses dealing in ports, warehouses and yards nationwide have been connected to the Viet Nam Automated System for Seaport Customs Management (VASSCM) a year since it was launched.
According to the General Department of Customs, VASSCM had been deployed at all 25 customs branches across the country.
It said companies operating ports, warehouses and yards were scattered across different localities, so it had given priority to larger enterprises that had IT infrastructure in place to supervise the transportation of goods.
The department is also expanding the system to bonded warehouses.
Launched last December, the system is connected with the National Single Window System, the Viet Nam Automated Cargo and Port Consolidated System and the Vietnam Customs Information System (VNACCS/VCIS). It helps port operators, warehouses and yards control the flow of goods to improve workflow and reduce costs by minimising paperwork.
Cargo volume at Quy Nhon Port hits record high
The volume of cargo handled at Quy Nhon Port in the central province of Binh Dinh has reached a record eight million tonnes so far this year.
The 8 millionth tonne arrived on Sunday on a Maersk Line tanker.
Huynh Van Phuc, a representative of Maersk Line in Quy Nhon, said since being equitised, Quy Nhon Port had been upgraded to raise its capacity and shorten the time for loading and unloading goods.
Director of the Quy Nhon Maritime Administration Vu The Quang said this year, the port had received fewer vessels, but the volume of cargo handled had increased by 800,000 tonnes from 2017 and was 300,000 tonnes over the annual target.
Chairman and Director General of Quy Nhon Port JSC Le Hong Thai said the port was expected to handle another 200,000 – 300,000 tonnes of goods in the two remaining weeks of 2018.
With its existing facilities, the port was able to handle 11 million tonnes of cargo each year, he said, noting it aimed to handle 10 million tonnes of goods in 2019.
Thai said that the port was expected to reach a revenue of more than VND705 billion (US$30.6 million), representing a rise of 28 per cent over 2017 and 13.7 per cent higher than the annual target. Pre-tax profit was expected at VND116.5 billion, up 24.2 per cent over the previous year.
He said that the results were considerably better than before 2013 when the port was privatised.
With more than 20,900 sq.m of warehouses and 48,000 sq.m for containers, Quy Nhon Port is the gateway to the East Sea for the south central and Central Highlands regions of Viet Nam, as well as countries in the sub-Mekong region.
Binh Thuan welcomes 5.7 million tourist arrivals in 2018
The south central province of Binh Thuan expects to receive 5.7 million visitors in 2018, a jump of 12 per cent from last year.
According to the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism, total earnings from tourism services were predicted to surge 18.8 per cent to VND12.8 trillion (US$550.9 million).
About 675,000 foreigners chose Binh Thuan for their holidays, with China and the Republic of Korea the top tourist sources, accounting for 28 per cent and 13 per cent of total international arrivals to the locality, respectively.
Stable growth was also seen in tourist arrivals from traditional markets like Russia, the UK and France.
Local tourism has been enjoying the busiest months of the year, so the department has asked tourism service providers to improve quality and diversify entertainment options. In addition, local authorities should work to ensure social order and food safety with an aim to build Binh Thuan into a friendly and safe destination.
HCMC seeks clean-food suppliers
Authorities in HCM City have been monitoring food safety violations more closely but challenges remain, including finding more suppliers of clean, high-quality products.
Consumers also need to be better aware of clean food standards and not buy from untrustworthy places just because they are cheap and convenient, according to experts.
In recent years, the city has taken steps to ensure high quality and traceability.
As of September, the city’s Food Safety Management Board had provided certification for 128 facilities that produce a total of 110,000 tonnes of food annually.
Pham Khanh Phong Lan, head of the board, said that finding more sources of high quality food was crucial to ensure safety.
“I’m not saying that food products from traditional markets aren’t safe, but buying from supermarkets is usually safer,” she said. “We would like customers to actively support clean food and not just say that they want clean food but continue to buy from cheap sources with unclear origin.”
Phan Thanh Tam, deputy director of the city’s Department of Health’s Nutrition Centre, said that retailers should monitor the quality of the goods they sell, while firms need to invest in high-quality production processes.
Nguyen Huynh Trang, deputy director of the city’s Department of Industry and Trade, said that modern retailers have been playing a big role in promoting food safety by applying high standards and raising awareness about high-quality goods.
Many retailers are working with farmers to help them produce goods that adhere to high-quality standards.
Next year, the board will publish a list of traditional markets which offer safe food.
With an abundance of goods, the city has planned more convenience stores in the suburbs, new residential areas, industrial zones and export processing zones. These new stores will enable producers to distribute goods directly to shops and give consumers greater access to goods.
The decision also provides consumers with more shopping channels and prevents sellers from accumulating goods and raising prices during the Tet shopping season.
Small shops and traders now even offer delivery services as consumers can place orders by phone and get the goods at their front door.
With the development of the retail markets, shopping has become more convenient for consumers.
As such, sellers must keep up with the changing demands of consumers as they now have more choices than before, meaning competition is now getting tougher.
Processed food leaves a good taste
With its annual stable growth rate of about 10 percent, the country’s young population with increasing income and a trend to consume ready-to-eat food, especially organic, the food processing industry offers many opportunities for investors.
Vietnam’s food processing industry has developed strongly and supplied products with high competitiveness for both domestic and export markets, according to the Trade Promotion Agency under the Ministry of Industry and Trade.
Last year alone, food and beverage consumption increased by 18 percent, the agency said, adding that the food and beverage consumption value accounted for 15 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product and would go up in the coming time.
Business Monitor International (BMI) projected earlier this year that Vietnam’s food industry would grow by 10.9 percent each year between 2015 and 2020.
Vo Thanh Do, deputy head of the Department of Agricultural Products Processing and Market Development under the Ministry of Agricultural and Rural Development, said having a diverse source of raw materials for processing food and beverages was an opportunity for firms in the food and beverage sector to diversify their products and satisfy demands from customers, especially young ones.
An abundant source of raw materials, the country’s stable and high economic growth, favourable investment environment, abundant human resources, and good infrastructure at industrial parks are also factors that help attract investors in the sector.
In addition, free trade agreements have opened up opportunities for domestic food firms to enhance exports and attract more foreign investors in the sector.
But to capitalise on the opportunity, local firms need to invest more in deep processing to add more value for the products.
They also need to further improve their production technologies, apply good manufacturing practices and develop close linkages with multinational food processing groups in Vietnam to shorten the roadmap for them to participate in the global food supply chain, according to experts.
To attract investment and develop the food processing sector in a sustainable manner, Vietnam needs to create a zoning plan for high-quality material areas to meet quality and hygiene, and food safety standards of the global food supply chain, experts said.
According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade, Vietnam is among the world’s largest exporters of rice, coffee, pepper and cashew nuts.
Exports of farm produce, especially fruits and vegetables, have seen good growth over the past years, with the products exported to more than 100 countries and territories.
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