Ha Giang Kombucha exported to Europe

A Shan Tuyet tea tree in Ha Giang

A speciality tea from the northern mountainous province of Ha Giang will be exported to Europe for the first time.

The first batch will be 30,000 bottles made from Shan Tuyet tea trees aged between 300-400 years old from Ha Giang’s Tay Con Linh area.

Le Ba Hai Sieu, a representative from a start-up firm in HCM City, said that the bottles are the combination between Shan Tuyet and Kombucha which is a fermented, lightly effervescent, sweetened black or green tea.

Sieu added that his desire is promoting Shan Tuyet tea and other Vietnamese farm products in the international market.

“Shan Tuyet tea of 300-400 years old has a unique taste. China and Taiwan have widely advertised their tea products, why can’t Vietnam? Vietnam boasts other famous products such as Ngoc Linh and Bo Chinh ginsengs. I will consider promoting these products in the future,” Sieu added.

According to Sieu, his company has set a target to sell 3.6 million Shan Tuyet tea bottles by 2022.

Pham Thi Minh Hai from a Ha Giang’s tea company said that Tay Con Linh mountain area which is located at the height of between 1,300 -1,700 metres are home to Shan Tuyet tea trees and some which could be hundreds of years old. After being picked up, the tea is often produced overnight quickly to ensure its quality.

Currently, a kilo of fresh Shan Tuyet tea is sold at between VND450,000 (USD19.56) and VND80 million (USD3,478), depending on the variety.

Every year, residents living on Tay Con Linh mountain areas harvest around 200 tonnes of Shan Tuyet tea.

The Intellectual Property Department earlier issued of Shan Tuyet tea geographical indications to 44 communes in six districts and cities in Ha Giang Province.

Companies urged to build farm produce brands: Workshop

Vietnamese enterprises need to improve quality and build a brand for the country’s farm produce as the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) creates a huge opportunity to bolster the exportation of goods and farm produce to Europe, heard a workshop in HCM City on July 24.

Organised by the branch of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) in the city, the workshop discussed ways of capitalising on opportunities brought about by the EVFTA and improving the capacity of agricultural companies joining the global value chain.

Once in effect, the EVFTA is expected to open the door for many Vietnamese products given that tariffs on agro-fishery-forestry products will be removed.

Aside from markets such as Germany, France, and the UK, Vietnamese companies were advised to also bolster exports to other markets in the EU that hold potential in farm produce consumption.

As European countries have stepped up inspection and control over the quality and origin of farm produce from Asia, companies also need ensure that their products meet requirements for exports.

They also need to take the initiative in applying intellectual property rights to raise brand recognition, competitiveness, and customer trust.

The EU is currently Vietnam’s third-largest agro-fishery-forestry export market, after only China and the US. The bloc accounted for 11.75 percent of Vietnam’s export value last year.

Hanoi workshop to promote cross-border e-commerce with Amazon

A workshop will take place in Hanoi on July 30 to discuss cross-border e-commerce with Amazon and opportunities for exports, according to Deputy Director of the Hanoi Department of Industry and Trade Tran Thi Phuong Lan.

The event will be hosted by the department in partnership with the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT)’s e-Commerce and Digital Economy Agency, the Hanoi Small and Medium Enterprises Association, and Amazon Global Selling.

It forms part of Hanoi’s plan on e-commerce development this year, Lan told a press conference on July 24.

COVID-19 has triggered travel restrictions worldwide, creating difficulties for Vietnamese exporters to ship their goods by air or sea. Trading on Amazon, however, would remove barriers and help them boost shipments, Lan said.

According to a report from the WTO, the pandemic has made it clear that e-commerce can be not only an important tool or solution for consumers during a crisis but also an economic driver for both domestic growth and international trade.

Lan added that her department will coordinate with the MoIT to help local producers seek alternative sources of materials overseas and new markets, as well as make the most of new-generation free trade agreements such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the EU-Vietnam FTA (EVFTA).

Cambodia, China to sign bilateral FTA before August 12

Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister Hor Nam Hong said on July 23 that Cambodia and China will sign a free trade agreement before August 12 ahead of the European Union’s partial withdrawal of the Everything-but-Arms (EBA) trade status.

According to the Khmer Times, speaking to reporters after chairing a meeting to discuss an action plan for the China-Cambodia Community of Shared Future at the Office of the Council of Ministers, he said Prime Minister Hun Sen will travel to China to preside over the signing ceremony of the agreement.

“This agreement will open the door for more of our goods and agricultural products, such as bananas, cassava flour and rubber, to be exported to China. That is why China told Cambodia to speed up the work plans,” Nam Hong said.

In 2010, Cambodia and China agreed to create comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation. The two countries signed an action plan between 2019 and 2023 to build the China-Cambodia Community of Shared Future in Beijing on 28 April last year.

He said that from this year till 2025, China will also extend credit for projects such as road construction and repairs, rice storage warehouse and rice drier construction, hospital construction in rural areas, and electricity connection and water supplies in rural areas to improve the lives of Cambodian people.

So far this year, Cambodia has exported more than 300,000 tonnes of rice to China, as compared to the target of 400,000 tonnes for the whole year reached by both sides.

Long An International Port to have more wharves

Construction on three new wharves at the Long An International Port project will be completed in 2021, and another wharf will be built in that same year to increase the port’s capacity.

The Long An International Port currently has three operating wharves with a combined length of 630 metres, according to the Long An Provincial People’s Committee.

The three new wharves will be able to receive ships of up to 70,000 DWT and will be ready for operation in 2021. In addition, construction is expected to start on another wharf in 2021.

With a total investment of nearly 10 trillion VND (432.7 million USD), the project will cover 147 hectares in size.

All facilities, including storage space and operating centres, are under construction and will be finished in 2023.

The project investor is working on legal procedures to expand the port and build two other wharves, at an undisclosed date, that would be able to receive 100,000 DWT ships.

This would increase the total number of wharves to nine, and their combined length to 2,368 metres, making it one of Vietnam’s longest international ports.

The port project is key to reducing traffic congestion and logistics costs in Long An province and the Mekong Delta.

As of 2019, the Long An International Port had received nearly 1,000 domestic and foreign ships (including many 50,000 DWT ships), with about 1 million tonnes of goods imported and exported through it.

ASEAN Woman Entrepreneur Summit slated for November

The ASEAN Woman Entrepreneur Summit is schedule to take place on November 9 and aims to create a favourable business environment to promote women’s economic power and gender equality in the region.

The summit is among a series of events to be hosted by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), as Chair of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN BAC) in 2020.

The ASEAN Women Entrepreneurs Network (AWEN) was initiated by Vietnam at the sixth meeting of the ASEAN Committee on Women (WCW) in 2007 in Thailand. It was officially established in 2014, and Vietnam worked as the coordinator of AWEN in the first term.

The Vietnam Women Entrepreneurs Council (VWEC) was the first Chair of AWEN (2014-2016).

Later, the Vietnam Business Summit 2020, themed “Digitalised Vietnam: Adaptability Towards Sustainable Development”, will be held on November 12.

“This will be an opportunity for investors to study Vietnam’s economic outlook amid COVID-19 and determine the potential for cooperation in economic sectors that are strengths of Vietnam in the context of global economic uncertainties, such as logistics, agriculture, and IT services,” said VCCI Chairman Vu Tien Loc.

Following that summit will be the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (ASEAN BIS 2020), slated for November 13 and 14 and the most-anticipated event for the ASEAN business community.

Themed “Digital ASEAN: Sustainability and Inclusiveness”, it is expected to see the attendance of senior leaders from ten ASEAN member countries as well as eight ASEAN dialogue partners.

ASEAN ABIS 2020 will focus on six topics, including ASEAN’s economic outlook, technologies and future jobs in ASEAN, innovative agriculture, green growth through good governance, logistics and smart cities, and innovative ASEAN and digital startups.

VBS and ASEAN BIS 2020 will help enterprises seek cooperation opportunities and hear of new trends in order to adopt suitable development strategies, Loc said.

Moreover, the ASEAN Business Awards 2020 (ABA 2020) was launched in July and will honour ASEAN businesses that have made outstanding contributions to regional development.

Organisers will receive registrations and conduct assessments from August to October and then announce the winners in November.

ASEAN BAC Vietnam and VCCI will also coordinate with the Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group (VNPT) to implement the “ASEAN Network of Digital Startups – Digital STARS 2020” project, which aims to form a network of digital startups in ASEAN and therefore promote digitalisation, especially among micro, small and medium-sized enterprises – the driving force of the regional economy.

Conference highlights development of businesses’ sustainable value chains

The Ministry of Planning and Investment together with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) co-organised a conference in Hanoi on July 24 to assist enterprises in developing sustainable supply chains for better growth of the business community and the economy.

Participants discussed a range of matters at the conference, which was part of the USAID Linkages for Small and Medium Enterprises Project (LinkSME), including the challenges and opportunities in supply chains; value chains for Vietnamese small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs); and encouraging SMEs to engage in value chains.

They also delved into expectations and the needs of companies that sit at the beginning of chains, while exchanging opinions on how to help businesses quickly respond to unexpected changes in supply chains.

Addressing the conference, Vietnamese Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung said that despite Vietnam’s achievements in FDI attraction and private sector development, there remains a lack of links in the business community, particularly between SMEs and companies of larger scale as well as between Vietnamese and foreign enterprises.

The participation of Vietnamese firms in global value chains is still modest, he said, recommending they seek new opportunities amid the changes taking place in supply chains and to reach overseas markets and access advanced technologies.

Competent public agencies and sectors should act quickly to support enterprises in seizing opportunities and developing sustainable value chains, he stressed.

Director of the USAID Office in Vietnam, Michael Greene, said the US has worked with Vietnam to help its private sector recover from COVID-19 and for SMEs adapt to shifts toward sustainability in global supply chains.

In the near future, he added, the LinkSME project will implement plans to support enterprises in digital transition, competitiveness improvements, and engaging more deeply in global production networks and value chains.

Long An province launches tourism portal and app

The Mekong Delta province of Long An has launched a virtual portal and a mobile application to provide information about local tourism services and destinations.

The portal http://mylongan.vn and app called “Long An Tourism” run on both iOS and Android devices, and are available in Vietnamese and English from the Vietnam Posts and Telecommunications Group.

Tourists can quickly access information on tourism sites, accommodations, food and beverage services, and entertainment and shopping places.

Hotel bookings and itineraries of tours around Long An are available on the portal and application.

Users can connect to Facebook Live Chat on the portal to get advice or support from the tourism desk of the provincial Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism.

Nguyen Anh Dung, director of the department, said the portal and app show the province’s efforts to promote tourism and help the tourism sector overcome challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dung added that Long An has advantages to make tourism a key economic sector. The province’s leaders have worked with tourism and cultural agencies to organise new tours and cultural activities to attract more visitors.

Conference discusses national energy efficiency project from 2019-2020

The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) held a national conference in Nha Trang city in south-central Khanh Hoa province on July 24 to discuss the implementation of the National Energy Efficiency Programme in 2019-2020 (VNEEP3).

VNEEP3 aims to save 5-7 percent from the total national energy consumption between 2019 and 2025 and 8-10 percent in the 2019-2030 period, or around 60 tonnes of oil equivalent (TOE).

The programme has total funding of 8.2 trillion VND (354.2 million USD), including 4.4 trillion VND from the State budget and the remainder from local creditors.

MoIT has coordinated with ministries and localities to develop plans for 2020 and the 2021-2025 period. It has also completed a five-year framework plan for the implementation of nine project components, which focus on regulatory improvements; the provision of technical and financial assistance for the promotion of energy saving; building an energy data centre; an awareness raising campaign; and international cooperation and scientific studies.

By 2025, the programme is to have cut power losses to less than 6.5 percent and reduced average energy consumption in the industrial sector compared to the 2015-2018 period.

It will ensure that 70 percent of industrial parks and 50 percent of industrial clusters apply solutions to use energy economically and efficiently; that all key energy users apply energy management systems; and that all key transport companies provide courses to improve workers’ skills in operating vehicles in an energy-saving manner.

From 2006-2015, VNEEP helped Vietnam save more than 15 TOE of energy, and cut total national energy consumption by 3.4 percent and 5.65 percent, respectively, in 2006-2010 and 2011-2015. Vietnam has saved more than 9 billion kWh of electricity on average each year, equivalent to 15 trillion VND.

Workshop seeks ways to help firms develop e-commerce

E-commerce is developing rapidly in Vietnam but needs a new push to reach rural areas and help small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) close the gap with large enterprises, experts have said.

Speaking at a workshop on “Overview of Vietnam e-Commerce: Speeding up after the COVID-19 pandemic” held in Dong Thap province on July 22, they said the digital business environment would help reach more customers in rural areas in places like the Mekong Delta to increase the competitiveness with large firms.

E-commerce is an effective tool for SMEs in rural areas since they do not need to invest in brick-and-mortar stores and distribution systems, but many in the delta region have not grasped or fully exploited its advantages and remain focused on traditional sales channels, they said.

The workshop, attended by provincial authorities and hundreds of business executives from the delta region, was held to share and update information on e-commerce development trends in the country.

To help local businesses better understand the rules and procedures of participating on Tiki, one of the leading e-commerce platforms in Vietnam, Nguyen Chi Hung, Tiki’s Training Manager, spoke about registration procedure, effective sales processes and special support for Dong Thap enterprises in designing booths and posting products on the Tiki website.

The Vietnam E-Commerce Association also work with 4 modern e-commerce platforms including Tiki, Lazada, Sendo and Shopee to signed a strategic cooperation with the province Department of Industry and Trade to help local enterprises selling their products more smoothly on e-commerce floors.

Dong Thap has a number of agricultural products including specialities that are in great demand, but most of them are still distributed through intermediaries and traditional markets.

Every year in the province, as well as in the delta, farmers struggle to sell their products, and in some provinces they suffer losses when prices fall due to excessive supply.

E-commerce is thus seen as a new avenue for them to seek new customers and even expand globally, experts said.

Pham Thien Nghia, Vice Chairman of the Dong Thap Provincial People’s Committee, said the province has paid special attention to and seeks to create favourable conditions for developing e-commerce.

The number of businesses entering e-commerce is increasing, he said.

In future the province would continue to support businesses with developing e-commerce by organising training courses, coordinating with Lazada to promote local products, encouraging businesses to go on modern e-commerce platforms, building free websites for businesses, and developing digital brands for the province’s key products, he added.

HCM City needs over 41.3 bn USD for transport infrastructure

HCM City estimates it will need more than 952 trillion VND (41.3 billion USD) for transportation infrastructure between now and 2030.

In a report seeking approval for the city’s transportation infrastructure development project, sent to the People’s Committee recently, its Transport Department said that nearly 429 trillion VND is for the 2020-2025 period and the remainder for 2026-2030. Over 457.7 trillion VND will come from the city’s budget and the remainder, from other sources.

Roads stretching 636km and 78 bridges will be built over the course of the decade, in addition to 18 intersections, 32 other transport projects, five under the smart urban development programme, 211.9km of urban railway lines, and 379km of inland waterways.

Capital from the city’s budget will be used for projects under its congestion and traffic accident reduction scheme and other key projects this year.

Its transportation infrastructure development project was compiled by its Transport Department in cooperation with the Transport Engineering Design Joint Stock Incorporated South (TEDI South).

It targets national highways, belt roads, and other roads linked to new urban areas, industrial parks, and airports.

Fifty-one of the 172 key transport projects were completed from 2016 to 2020.

Son La successfully exports dragon fruit

Son La Province exported 10 tonnes of red heart dragon fruit to Russia on July 23 after successfully exported a large amount of mango and longan to China, Australia, the US and the EU.

The exports have helped the farmers avoid a season with bountiful crops but low prices and expanded the markets for local fruits.

Tong Thi Thanh Huong from Hung Nhan Village said two years ago, her one hectares of land was used to plant coffee and there were times when it was abandoned due to a volatile market. Last year, she decided to plant organic red heart dragon fruit and found success with over 1,000 dragon fruit plants.

“We used to sell our products in the domestic market but now we have met the requirements to export to other countries. We felt proud,” she said.

Tran Van Dong from Tien Hung Village is one of the first families that removed their tea crops, a traditional crop in the area, and replaced it with a dragon gruit garden. After two years, he harvested three tonnes of dragon fruits on four hectares of land. Most of it will be exported to Russia. According to Dong, if one hectare of tea brought him VND150m a year then the dragon fruits helped him earn over VND300m a year.

“We used compost for the plants in our garden and it has brought great results and it’s safe. Difficult markets like Russia, Australia and Japan have also made a bigger orders this year,” he said.

In 2018, the red heart dragon fruit was piloted in several communes like Chieng Pha, Phong Lai and Chieng Ly in accordance with the plan to develop a closed product value chain for dragon fruits during 2018-2020 period. There are 26 hectares of dragon fruits in Thuan Chau District and this will be expanded to 200 hectares during the 2020-2025 period.

Nguyen Minh Tien, party secretary of Thuan Chau District, said had made development plan and issued guidance to the farmers to meet all requirements and commitments.

“Agricultural exports will be one of the key activities of our district. We also give support to the farmers to grow the fruits organically and so that the products will meet Vietnamese Good Agricultural Practices,” he said.

Farm produce needs to meet tough EU standards under EVFTA: Experts

The agriculture sector needs to address challenges related to branding, geographical indications, traceability, and intellectual property to take full advantage of the free trade agreement Vietnam has signed with the EU, speakers said at a meeting on July 24.

Le Duy Minh, chairman of Vietnam Farms and Agricultural Enterprises Association (VFAEA), said the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) has created tremendous opportunities for Vietnamese exports, including agro-forestry-fishery products.

Exports of agro-forestry-fishery products to the EU stands at nearly 5 billion USD per year, according to Minh.

Dr Dinh Viet Tu, of the Ministry of Agricutlure and Rural Development’s Agro-product Processing and Market Development Department, said it was important to protect intellectual property at home and abroad for key and specific agricultural products, and promote branding development, geographical indications, and traceability.

Le Thanh Tung, deputy head of the ministry’s Plant Cultivation Department, noted that it was also important for the agricultural sector to raise its chain value to take full advantage of the trade deal.

Exporters must improve standards and develop new value-added products that can compete internationally, he said.

Vo Tan Thanh, vice chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), said that to take full advantage of the agreement, farmers should shift from traditional to sustainable cultivation.

Enterprises should intensify deep processing as well as follow regulations on technical barriers and food safety and hygiene committed in free trade agreements in general and the EVFTA in particular.

The Government should also intensify food safety management, while calling for more investors in agriculture, especially after harvesting, he said.

For the past decade, Vietnamese exports of agricultural, forestry and aquatic products grew more than 9 percent on average. There are 10 agricultural products with export turnover of 1 billion USD or more, including fruit, cashew, coffee, rice, and shrimp.

Experts said Vietnam’s agricultural sector will be one of the biggest winners from the EVFTA, as a reduction in tariffs will increase demand and boost exports to Europe’s large, high-spending consumer market.

According to EU statistics, trade in agricultural products represents 11.75 percent of the total two-way trade between Vietnam and the EU.

The EVFTA abolishes 99 percent of import tariffs over the next seven to 10 years.

Thailand’s exports plunge in June

Thailand’s exports declined by almost 23.2 percent in June compared to the same period last year, the strongest fall since July 2009, but the country’s Commerce Ministry still expects improvement in the second half of 2020.

Pimchanok Vonkorporn, director-general of the ministry’s Trade Policy and Strategy Office, said that in June, export value was at 16.4 billion USD while imports went down by some 18.1 percent to 14.8 billion USD.

In the first half of this year, overseas shipments dropped by about 7.1 percent to 114.3 billion USD, and imports down 12.6 percent to 103.6 billion USD.

Thai media cited the official as saying that exports would be bottoming out, and they were slowly improving in many markets and would show an overall contraction of 8-9 percent throughout this year.

Most enterprises applying CSI have sustainable governance: survey

Enterprises applying corporate sustainability index (CSI) have more competitive ability, higher production and better business results.

This is one of the conclusions in a survey on implementation of CSI indicators conducted by the Viet Nam Business Council for Sustainable Development (VBCSD).

According to the survey, up to 70-90 per cent of enterprises applying CSI have drastic changes in governance to move towards a transparent and sustainable business model with responsibility for the community and environment.

In addition, Pham Quang Vinh, general secretary of the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and VBCSD general secretary, said this survey has shown the implementation of CSI has had a positive impact on business results.

Those enterprises applying CSI have achieved better production and business results, higher labour productivity and higher competitiveness. They have increased market shares more quickly than businesses without CSI.

Besides that, they have had more investment in product research and development activities as well as advertising activities.

Especially, the survey also found that the use of CSI has had an important contribution to building businesses’ effective and sustainable development strategies, reported Dau tu chung khoan (Securities investment) newspaper.

CSI includes sustainable governance indicators, information transparency, economic indicators (revenue, profit), social resposibility indicators (employee policy, community impact) and environmental indicators.

Phan Thi Thanh Xuan, vice chairwoman and general secretary of the Viet Nam Leather and Footwear Association, said that leather and footwear enterprises faced many difficulties and had to cut labour due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The disease had negative impacts on supply chains from China and consumption chains to major export markets such as the US and EU.

Therefore, Xuan said, to overcome these challenges, CSI is an effective tool to help businesses in stable production and sustainable development in the future.

She said it should be more widely applied and the Governmental agencies should use it as a business evaluation tool, leading to reducing many administrative procedures. This tool would also make business auditing activities more convenient.

According to the representative of Deloitte Vietnam, it is necessary to promote local businesses to use CSI and sustainability reports and also to disseminate this set of indicators and this report to the Government and management agencies. 

Moody’s maintains VPBank’s credit ratings at “stable”

Global credit rating firm Moody’s Investors Services has announced it would keep VPBank’s credit rating at B1. This decision was made nearly four months after Moody’s announced the review on risks, financial strength and development prospects of the bank amid the COVID-19 pandemic, negatively affecting almost all sectors of the economy.

Accordingly, Moody’s confirmed VPBank’s outlook at ‘stable’ including counterparty risk assessment at Ba3 and long-term local currency deposit at B1.

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to the global economic recession, in the first half of 2020, Viet Nam’s economy recorded a GDP growth of 1.81 per cent – the lowest increase over the past decade. In this context, Moody’s maintained its credit rating with VPBank, showing that the bank has good financial capacity, with risks less than initial concerns when the disease broke out.

In confirming VP Bank’s B1 Baseline Credit Assessment (BCA), Moody’s acknowledges the bank’s above-industry average profitability and strong capitalisation. In addition, Moody’s stated that the risks that may occur to the consumer finance segment due to impacts of COVID-19 were well controlled by VPBank by optimising the balance sheet, ensuring safety ratios and good liquidity assets. It can be said that the decision to maintain the credit rating with VPBank reflected the efforts of maintaining a solid foundation to ensure the bank’s sustainable and efficient growth.

By the end of the second quarter of the year, VPBank’s consolidated operating income reached VND18.8 trillion (US$810.6 million), an increase of 12 per cent over the same period last year. The bank’s consolidated before-tax profit was recorded at nearly VND6.6 trillion, equivalent to 64 per cent of the whole year’s plan. In parallel with maintaining revenue and profit growth, risk control activities have been implemented well by the bank.

VPBank’s consolidated bad debt ratio by the end of June stood at 2.71 per cent. The parent bank’s bad debt ratio dropped to 2.07 per cent. VPBank has also been one of the banks with the highest capital adequacy ratio (CAR) in the market. By the end of June 2020, VPBank’s CAR was above 11 per cent based on Basel II standards, much higher than the 8 per cent required by the State Bank of Viet Nam.

The bank’s caution in preventing risks was also reflected in the increase of provision fund expenses. In the first half of this year, VPBank’s provision expenses – excluding the provision for Viet Nam Asset Management Company (VAMC) – in 2019 increased by 8.6 per cent and 30.4 per cent at individual banks. High provision expenses showed that VPBank has always been cautious and has sufficient financial resources to prevent risks that may arise when the economy is in an unpredictable stage.

At the same time, VPBank still consolidates its position as one of the banks with the highest return on equity (ROE) and return on assets (ROA). These ratios as at the end of June were 23.5 per cent and 2.7 per cent respectively.

With the success of cautious steps in the right direction with the recognition of international organisations including Moody’s, VPBank continues to consolidate a solid foundation for future development goals. 

PNJ’s profit and revenue plummet in Q2

Phu Nhuan Jewelry JSC (PNJ) recorded revenue and post-tax profit of VND2.7 trillion (US$116.8 million) and VND31.7 billion in the second quarter of this year, down 7 per cent and 81 per cent year-on-year, respectively.

According to PNJ, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the company had to temporarily close 85 per cent of its stores in April.

Although jewellery sales recovered in the remaining two months of the quarter, PNJ’s revenue was still significantly affected.

In the first six months of this year, PNJ’s revenue hit VND7.75 trillion, equivalent to the first half of 2019. However, the increase in the cost of goods sold caused pre-tax profit to decrease by nearly 10 per cent.

Loan interest expenses doubled in the same period, resulting in a slump of 26 per cent in post-tax profit in the first half, reaching VND440 billion.

By the end of the second quarter, total assets of PNJ decreased by VND446 billion from the beginning of the year to VND8.2 trillion.

According to PNJ leaders, the company plans to open 31 more stores and invest in facilities and machinery for the factory No. 2–PNJP this year.

In the future, PNJ will focus on wholesale activities, competing with portable products on the market. The company has registered additional occupations to supplement e-commerce and instalment sales. 

SSI’s index-tracking ETF gets registration certificate

SSI Asset Management Co., Ltd. has received the registration certificate from the State Securities Commission of Vietnam to establish its exchange-traded fund, ETF SSIAM VN30.

It had launched the IPO for it from June 1 to 26. The initial value of the fund is estimated at at least VND50 billion (US$2.15 million).

SSIAM plans to list it on the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange (HOSE) on August 13.

The fund is open-ended and will passively replicate the performance of the VN30-Index, which contains the 30 largest stocks by market value and liquidity on HOSE.

It will be managed by SSIAM along with founders SSI Securities Corporation, Mirae Asset Securities (Vietnam), and BIDV Securities.

This is the second ETF to track the VN30- Index.

SSIAM VN30 ETF has a total expense ratio of 0.75-0.8 per cent, the lowest in the market.

In future, when the Vietnamese stock market gets emerging market status, ETFs would attract most of the cash flows coming into the country instead of active funds, the company said.

Therefore, research and establishment of ETFs based on various indices would be essential and is part of its plans next, it added. 

Duc Giang chairman regrets listing on Ha Noi exchange

Moving its listing from the Ha Noi Stock Exchange (HNX) to the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HOSE) would help Duc Giang Chemical Group (DGC) increase its trading liquidity, according to its chairman.

“Listing here (HoSE) would help Duc Giang increase trading liquidity, thus attracting more capital investment from funds. Some have expressed their intention to buy 20-25 per cent of Duc Giang” said Dao Huu Huyen, Chairman of DGC.

“Our decision of listing shares on the HNX in the beginning was wrong as Duc Giang was qualified enough to list on HOSE at the time. Now we have to follow hundreds of procedures for the move,” Huyen said at a conference held early this week in HCM City.

Duc Giang Chemical Group JSC, formerly known as Duc Giang Chemical Company, is a State-owned enterprise under the Viet Nam General Department of Chemicals, established in 1963.

It specialises in washing powder production and is well-known for its Duc Giang-branded washing powder.

In August 2014, the company registered its shares on the HNX with a volume of 33.5 million shares. The stock closed the first session at VND18,740 per share, now they cost some VND40,000 per share.

It has filed for listing on the HOSE with a registered volume of more than 129 million shares, from July 28 at the reference price on the first trading day of VND39,700 per share.

Profit forecast

Duc Giang forecast revenue of more than VND1.6 trillion (US469 million) in the third quarter, and after-tax profit of VND210 billion.

The company plans to spend VND50 billion for the site clearance of the Apatit-Field 25 Mining Project in the northern province of Lao Cai and complete all mining licences in August. The project is expected to be exploited from September. The company will also spend VND116 billion for site clearance of the Duc Giang Nghi Son project in the central province of Thanh Hoa, which is expected to break ground in October.

In the first half of 2020, the company’s net revenue exceeded VND3 trillion, up 24 per cent year-on-year. Pre-tax profit reached VND690 billion, up 56 per cent compared to the first half of 2019.

During the first half this year, revenue from financial activities doubled to nearly VND60 billion. Selling and administrative expenses increased sharply by 55 per cent and 33 per cent.

Post-tax profit increased sharply from VND280 billion to VND444 billion in the first six months, up by nearly 60 per cent year-on-year.

In 2020, Duc Giang plans to achieve revenue of VND6.08 trillion, up 20 per cent compared to 2019.

According to its chairman, after 2021, the group will call for investment in the second phase of the Nghi Son project.

The Nghi Son project, set to be completed in 2026, is only the first stage in the group’s 10-year vision, said the chairman, adding that the group was taking the first steps to apply to mine in the Central Highlands.

Duc Giang needs an estimated VND10 trillion for its investment plan. Currently, the company has about VND1.5 trillion in bank deposits. It is expected to issue shares worth VND2.5 trillion for shareholders and individual investors. Accumulated profit for the next five years is expected to be more than VND4 trillion. It will borrow the other VND2 trillion from banks. 

More than $396 million raised from G-bond auction

The State Treasury raised more than VND9.2 trillion (US$396.1 million) through a Government bond auction on the Ha Noi Stock Exchange (HNX) on July 23.

A total of VND11.5 trillion worth of bonds was up for auction, including five-year bonds valued at VND1 trillion, 10-year bonds at VND6 trillion, 15-year bonds at VND3 trillion, 20-year bonds at VND1 trillion and 30-year bonds at VND500 billion.

The five-year bonds were sold for a total of VND1.4 trillion with an annual interest rate of 1.75 per cent, 0.17 per cent lower than that of the previous auction on July 15.

Nearly VND4.3 trillion was mobilised from the 10-year bonds with an annual interest rate of 2.8 per cent, up 0.02 per cent from the previous auction.

Sales of the 15-year bonds exceeded VND2.15 trillion, with an interest rate of 3.01 per cent per annum, up 0.02 per cent from the July 15 auction. A later auxiliary auction mobilised another VND32 billion.

The 20-year bonds raised VND1 trillion at an interest rate of 3.34 per cent per annum, equivalent to that of the previous auction.

The 30-year bonds were sold for VND350 billion with an interest rate of 3.5 per cent per annum, equivalent to that of the previous auction.

The State Treasury has raised close to VND145.6 trillion ($6.27 billion) from G-bonds so far this year. 

VinaCapital launches ETF to track VN100 Index

VinaCapital, one of Viet Nam’s leading investment management companies with over US$3 billion in assets under management, launched its VN100 Exchange Traded Fund on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange.

The ETF, under the ticker FUEVN100, VinaCapital’s first, aims to replicate the performance of the VN100 Index, a free-float adjusted, market capitalisation-weighted index measuring the performance of the 100 largest and most liquid stocks.

It is closest in performance to the VN Index, which consists of all listed stocks on HOSE and is considered the country’s benchmark.

The VinaCapital VN100 ETF provides investors with exposure to Viet Nam’s leading listed large and mid-cap companies across a diverse group of sectors.

It targets a 0.5 per cent tracking error to the VN100 Index.

Brook Taylor, CEO–Asset Management, said: “The VinaCapital VN100 ETF offers investors an efficient and low-cost vehicle that mirrors the performance of the VN100 Index and the broader VN Index better than other ETFs currently on offer in Viet Nam.

“Of particular importance to foreign investors is that the VinaCapital VN100 ETF enables them to participate in a wider range of growth stocks that might otherwise be unavailable to them due to foreign ownership limits, a feature that further sets apart the product from the international ETFs.”

The VinaCapital VN100 ETF is managed by VinaCapital Fund Management JSC, which is regulated by the State Securities Commission of Viet Nam.

Its authorised participants are VNDirect Securities, BIDV Securities and Bao Viet Securities.

The supervisory bank is the Bank for Investment and Development of Viet Nam.

It has a low management fee of 0.67 per cent. 

Digital banking indispensable in globalisation era

To catch up with the trend of globalisation, banks are racing to develop mobile applications and digital banking.

The Southeast Asian Finance, lnvestment and Cooper Trade Research Institute held a seminar on digital banking and technology revolution on Friday.

The process of implementing digital banking is posing some challenges to the banking industry.

Experts said that in executive management, when the banking sector transformed models of business, governance, administration, and service provision, it also required changes from thinking to action.

Phung Thanh Quang from the National Economics University said that Viet Nam chose 2020 as the year of digital transformation.

For years, banks had been at the forefront of using technology to support customers’ diverse financial needs, said Quang.

The fields used by the bank include accounting, cybersecurity, security systems, risk management, customer service, lending, credit rating, asset management, sales and marketing.

Ngo Thanh Xuan from the National Economics University said that the development trend of digital banking needed transparency and information must be secured.

Dao Thi Huong from the Academy of Finance said that there had been some digital banks in Viet Nam such as VPBank’s Timo, but it has not developed well due to user habits.

Many people still preferred cash, especially in rural areas. Moreover, human resources is also a current concern of banks, said Huong.