[Round-up] Central Group Eyes Casino’s Vietnam Unit, $812 Million in Japan ODA Secured

Tuan Minh

17:30 18/01/2016

BizLIVE - Central Group has become the second Thai retailer to express interest in buying Casino Group’s Vietnam operations. The Vietnamese government has signed an agreement to borrow $812 million in ODA from Japan.

[Round-up] Central Group Eyes Casino’s Vietnam Unit, $812 Million in Japan ODA Secured

Central Group has become the second Thai retailer to express interest in buying Casino Group’s Vietnam operations.

Keangnam Vina Enters Disputes with Buyers
Keangnam Vina, the developer of Keangnam Landmark Tower in Hanoi – the highest building in the country - has refused to show up in court for all three cases of dispute with apartment buyers earlier this month, according to the Vietnam Investment Review (VIR).
The disputes arose over the area of the apartments sold. Specifically, the buyers claimed that the company added reinforced concrete pillars and electrical boxes into the units, but did not account for this in their calculations of floor space.
The trials will be held again 30 days after the first date. If representatives of Keangnam continue to not show up, the trials will go on without their presence.
Honeywell to Provide Modular Gas Processing Plant for PV Gas
PetroVietNam Gas JSC, a subsidiary of PetroVietnam, has signed an agreement with American engineering service conglomerate Honeywell, under which the latter will supply a seven million cubic meter modular liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) processing plant to the former.
PV Gas will use the modular gas processing plant of Honeywell subsidiary Universal Oil Products (Honeywell UOP) to separate LPG from mixed natural gas at its facility in the southernmost province of Ca Mau.
Vietnam Leading Economic Hub’s GDP Growth Hits 4-year High
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s largest economic hub, posted a gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of 9.85% in 2015, the fastest pace over the past four years and above the country’s 6.68% rate.
Foreign direct investment (FDI) soared 43% year-on-year to $4.6 billion, the Saigon Times newspaper reported, citing a municipal official. Retail sales and service revenue increased 10.5% year-on-year to 679 trillion dong ($30.18 billion).
The city’s exports slid 2.4% from 2014 to $30.59 billion last year, as crude oil exports plunged 49% year-on-year.
Vietnam Construction Ministry Privatizes 10 Corporations
The Vietnamese Ministry of Construction has finished the equitization of 10 out of 14 corporations under its umbrella mandated to go public in the 2011-2015 period.
Five firms namely Bach Dang Construction, Viglacera, Viwaseen, Hanoi Construction and Locogi have become joint stock companies.
Song Da Corp, Housing and Urban Development Corp (HUD), Vietnam Urban and Industrial Zone Development Investment Corp (IDICO) and Vietnam Cement Industry Corp (Vinacem) are set to undertake privatization this year.
Hepza Licenses Two FDI Projects YTD
Ho Chi Minh City Export Processing and Industrial Zones (Hepza) has granted investment certificates to two FDI projects, with the total registered investment of more than $30 million, since the start of this year.
The first is the $4.4 million packing production project in Tan Phu Trung Industrial Park by Nippon Paper VHM Joint Stock Company. The company produces paper trays, glasses, and cups for export.
The second is the $25.6 million sauce and spice production project, a joint venture between Saigon Union of Trading Co-operatives (Saigon Co.op) and Singaporean Wilmar International Limited.
Vietnam Start Building South Korea-funded Road Linking Can Tho and Kien Giang
Vietnam on January 17 kicked off the construction of Lo Te-Rach Soi Highway, connecting Can Tho City and Kien Giang province in the Mekong Delta region, part of the Ho Chi Minh Road.
The 53.34-km Lo Te-Rach Soi Road will run from Thot Not district in Can Tho to Kien Giang province’s Chau Thanh district.
In the first phase, the project will cost 6,694 billion dong (roughly $301 million), with $200 million coming from South Korea’s official development assistance.
Maserati Opens Showroom in HCM City
Maserati Vietnam has opened its first showroom in District 1, Ho Chi Minh City, the first of its kind in the country, to provide sales, service and spare parts (3S).
Ha Nam Province Attracts $1.4 Billion in FDI So Far
Foreign investors from 11 countries and territories have poured $1.4 billion into 155 projects in the northern province of Ha Nam to date, a local official said at a meeting on January 15 with representatives from over 100 foreign-invested enterprises operating in the province.
The local authorities granted investment licenses to 35 foreign-invested projects in 2015, the official said, adding that FDI firms have contributed over 320 billion ($14.2 million) to the state budget, making up 17.18% of the province’s budget collection.
MIGA Credit Enhancement Backs Hoi Xuan Hydropower in Vietnam
The Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), the political risk insurance and credit enhancement arm of the World Bank Group, has announced its support to the Hoi Xuan Hydro power project in Thanh Hoa province.
MIGA issued a $239.7-million guarantee to a consortium of lenders led by Goldman Sachs and Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi (BTMU). The guarantee supports financing for the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of a 102-megawatt hydropower plant.
Central Group, Thailand’s largest retail conglomerate, may bid for French supermarket operator Casino Group’s Thai and Vietnam units, as part of its strategy to increase foothold in fast-growing Southeast Asian market, Reuters cited an executive as saying.
“We are interested in both (Casino-controlled) Big C in Thailand and Vietnam,” Prin Chirathivat, deputy chief executive officer, said. “If the prices are not too expensive, we will be keen to bid,” Prin added.
Foreign-invested enterprises (FIEs) operating in Vietnam posted a trade surplus of $1.39 billion in December 2015, bringing the whole-year figure to $13.33 billion, the General Department of Vietnam Customs said in a release on January 18.
The foreign sector’s exports increased 17.7% year-on-year to $110.59 billion in the period while its imports climbed 15.5% year-on-year to $97.26 billion.
Vietnam’s gross domestic product (GDP) will likely deliver a growth rate of 6.5%-6.7% in 2016 in a neutral scenario, compared to 6.68% in 2015, as the country deepens its international integration, Bao Viet Securities Company (BVSC) has said in its latest macro report.
The country’s participation in a number of free trade agreements (FTAs) such as the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), the EU-Vietnam FTA, Vietnam-Korea FTA and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) will fuel its economic growth in 2016 as well as in the coming three to five years, according to BVSC.
The Japanese government will lend the Vietnamese counterpart 95.17 billion yen (roughly $812 million) in official development assistance (ODA) so that the latter can carry out transport infrastructure and climate change response projects, the Vietnamese government said on its website.
The ODA will be allocated to three transport infrastructure projects, including the North-South expressway, Lach Huyen port in the northern coastal city of Hai Phong, and the fourth phase of a climate change response project.