Vietnam Institute of Directors makes debut


The Council of the Vietnam Corporate Governance Initiative (VCGI) launched the Vietnam Institute of Directors (VIOD) in ​Ho Chi Minh City on April 5.

The institute is seen as an important market foundation for Vietnam to push market reform and intensify the implementation of commitments to good corporate governance and responsible business activities.

Established as a social enterprise, VIOD aims to advance board professionalism, promote business ethics and transparency, build a network to connect corporate leaders and stakeholders, and help companies inspire investor confidence.

Vu Quang Thinh, Chairman of VIOD, said the institute’s objective is to equip company directors with the right knowledge and tools to serve more effectively on boards and improve the competitiveness of Vietnamese firms.

The institute’s board of directors comprises a diverse group of business leaders and advocates of good corporate governance, including senior executives from investment funds, international legal and accounting firms, and independence board members in prominent companies.

It is governed by a board of directors comprising of private sector representatives supported by the State Securities Commission (SSC) and the Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh stock exchanges.

VIOD will hold workshops and board events on governance related topics. Its first training event will take place at the end of May.

The VCGI was made public in December 2016 by the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HOSE), the Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), with the support of the SSC and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).

It helps enhance cooperation of stakeholders in the market to promote the implementation of good corporate governance practices of Vietnamese businesses.

The VCGI Council was established in April 2017 with 18 members who are experts in corporate governance and representatives of management agencies, organisations and businesses from the private economic sector.

Swiss Ambassador to Vietnam Beatrice Maser Mallor, who is also the SECO representative, said Vietnam is one of the priorities in Switzerland’s economic cooperation.

SECO commits to encouraging the application of good corporate governance practices within the Vietnamese business circle, while helping local firms improve competitiveness and develop sustainably, she said.

The southern province of Binh Phuoc has attracted 11 investment projects totalling 100 million USD in the first quarter of 2018, approximately equal to this year’s target.

The figures represented year-on-year rises of 175 percent in the number of projects and 912 percent in capital.

Secretary of the provincial Party Committee Nguyen Van Loi on April 5 attributed the positive results to effective investment promotion measures.

The province plans to organise a large-scale investment promotion programme in May to attract more domestic and foreign investors.

Since the beginning of this year, there were 221 newly-established enterprises with a registered capital of 3.5 trillion VND (153.3 million USD).

Although it saw a breakthrough in investment attraction, the province was ranked 62nd out of the 63 localities in terms of provincial competition index.

Loi asked for drastic measures to improve the position in the time ahead.

Credit institutions hope for good business in Q2, 2018

Up to 75 percent of credit institutions expected better results in the second quarter of this year, while 84 percent hoped their business performance throughout 2018 to improve further compared to 2017, of this, 28 percent anticipated “significant improvement”.

They expressed their hope after making improvements in the first quarter, according to a March survey released by the State Bank of Vietnam on April 4.

The survey covered domestic and foreign commercial banks in the country.

Up to 72.4 percent of the respondents predicted their pre-tax profit in 2018 to rise compared to 2017, helping the average growth rate of the entire banking system to reach 18.2 percent, lower than the 19.3 percent forecast in the previous survey conducted in the first quarter of this year.

The survey also showed that 64 percent and 69 percent of the respondents expected customer demands for banking services, especially lending, in the second quarter and the entire year, respectively, to increase compared to 2017.

Banks expected the banking system’s credit growth to reach 4.85 percent in the second quarter and 16.3 percent in the entire year.

The respondents also anticipated capital mobilisation of the entire banking system this year to reach 16.65 percent, of which the increase in second quarter was anticipated at 4.71 percent.

Banks also said the liquidity of the banking system in both Vietnamese Dong and foreign currencies was currently “good” and that the positive status would continue for the rest of the year.

VPBank to lift chartered capital to 1.22 billion USD

The Vietnam Prosperity Joint Stock Commercial Bank (VPBank) plans to increase its current chartered capital from 15.7 trillion VND (around 691.6 million USD) to 27.8 trillion VND (1.22 billion USD) in 2018, the bank announced at its shareholders’ recent meeting.

The plan for raising charter capital includes the following mechanisms: issuance of shares for dividend payments instead of cash, issuance of shares using reserves to supplement charter capital, issuance of shares to VPBank staff under the Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) programme, private shares placement for local and foreign investors and the distribution of surplus capital.

The bank plans to make dividend payments in the form of common shares by utilising retained profits after allocating profit in 2017 and issuing common shares to raise capital from owner’s equity.

In the second quarter of 2018, VPBank also plans to issue shares worth nearly 337 billion VND – equivalent to about 1.7 percent of the bank’s charter capital at the time of issuance – to its staff under the ESOP programme.

In third quarter of 2018, the bank will buy over 73 million dividend preferred shares, with capital sourced from the firm’s capital surplus (1.3 trillion VND) and development investment fund (1.2 trillion VND).

VPBank will conduct private placement for local and foreign investors to raise charter capital. The maximum offer is about 15 percent of total common shares at the time of issuance.

The last mechanism to raise charter capital will be implemented in the fourth quarter by distributing bonus shares from capital surplus gains after the 2017 private placement. The total surplus distributed to common shareholders is expected to be more than 4.6 trillion VND. After surplus distribution, the charter capital will be raised to 27.8 trillion VND.

With the tentative 12 trillion VND capital surplus as results of the abovementioned actions, VPBank plans to use 8.500 billion VND to raise mid- to long-term capital to serve credit growth.

At this meeting, VPBank’s shareholders also approved the bank’s business plan for 2018. Main targets include reaching total assets of 359.4 trillion VND, customer deposits and valuable papers of 241.7 trillion VND, a non-performing loan ratio below 3 per cent and profits before tax reaching 10.8 trillion VND.

By the end of fiscal year 2017, VPBank was named one of Vietnam’s top five joint-stock commercial banks and one of the country’s top three retail joint-stock commercial banks.

Measures sought for fisheries sector’s sustainable development

Representatives from 28 coastal localities nationwide gathered at a conference in the south central coastal province of Khanh Hoa on April 5 to seek measures for sustainable exploitation, preservation, processing and consumption of aquatic products.

Participants heard reports on forecast of fishing grounds and resources, as well as made recommendations on fishing, processing and domestic consumption of seafood catches, and food safety.

Nguyen Hoai Nam, Vice Secretary of the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), proposed measures to boost seafood export while calling on agencies at all levels to help address issues facing enterprises.

Participants also discussed food safety observance on fishing vessels and at ports, logistic services, upgrades to ports and administrative procedures for certification of seafood meeting quality requirements of the EU.

Concluding the event, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong urged the fisheries sector to restructure towards sustainable, responsible development, effective exploration, and climate change adaption.

The ministry needs to review drastically and provide information timely for people and enterprises while developing a close chain of seafood processing to improve product quality, he said.

He also urged the aquaculture sector to make planning with application of advanced technology and find consumption markets.

Reports show that in 2017, the nation’s aquatic output reached over 3.42 million tonnes, exceeding the yearly target by 3.7 percent, and up 5.7 percent from 2016. In which, the seafood catches made up of over 3.22 billion tonnes. The rest was inland aquatic output.

Lotte considers opening more stores in Vietnam

Korean retail giant Lotte is considering whether to open more stores in major Vietnamese cities, including the capital city of Hanoi and the southern largest economic hub of Ho Chi Minh City.

Hotel Lotte Co., a hotel and duty-free operator of Lotte, said the operating profit of its duty-free unit plummeted to a record low in 2017 amid a diplomatic row between the Republic of Korea (RoK) and China over a US missile defence system.

Lotte Duty Free’s operating income was 2.5 billion won (2.4 million USD) in 2017, with sales reaching 5.45 trillion won.

The weak bottom line was widely forecast as the retailer has been suffering from China’s apparent retaliation over the deployment of the Terminal High Altitude Area Defence (THAAD) battery here.

The company said its profitability is expected to improve as it moves to stabilise its businesses at home and abroad, adding that it will focus on strengthening the competitiveness of its duty-free stores in Seoul after it recently began the process to end its concession deal at Incheon International Airport – a main gateway to the RoK.

The retailer aims to expand its global reaches and diversify its customer portfolio, which had been heavily reliant on Chinese tourists.

Sales from its overseas outlets came to 140 billion won in 2017, up 45 percent annually.

Northern power firm produces 13.8 billion kWh of electricity in Q1

The Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) Group’s Northern Power Corporation (EVNNPC) has reported that its commercial power output in the first quarter of 2018 picked up 14.06 percent year-on-year to more than 13.8 billion kWh.

Of the total amount, 65.06 percent was supplied for the construction industry, up 15.81 percent against the same time last year while 29.08 percent was provided for daily use, rising 9.7 percent.

During the January-March period, the corporation’s member companies began construction of ten projects and put into operation 17 power supply works and transmission lines, adding 657 MVA to the national grid.

Furthermore, the corporation completed all 14 customer service criteria, with average electricity access of 5.02 days per week. As of March 31, it informed power charges via SMS to 7.26 million out of 9.77 million customers, an increase of 1.08 million customers as compared to 2017.

The EVNNPC worked to ensure sufficient power supplies for production, daily life and socio-political activities during New Year and Tet (lunar New Year) holidays. In addition, it also paid due attention to communication campaigns to raise public awareness of power saving and response to the Earth Hour 2018.

In the second quarter, the firm will further its efforts to ensure stable power supply during hot weather as well as deploy drastic measures to reduce power consumption.

Mining Vietnam 2018 exhibition to be held in Hanoi

The fourth International Mining and Minerals Recovery Exhibition for Vietnam (Mining Vietnam 2018) will be held at the International Centre for Exhibition in Hanoi on April 18-20, gathering over 170 enterprises from 22 countries and territories.

The event will have nine group pavilions specifically designed for international exhibitors from various countries including the UK, Germany, Russia, Singapore, China and Australia.

Covering up to 4,000 square metres, the exhibition will highlight the latest mining equipment, technologies and services.

The exhibition attracts world leading manufacturers and suppliers, including Fong Chuan Machinery, Germanbelt, Hamakyu, Nippon Eirich, Sealtech Vietnam, and especially the country’s largest state-owned mining group – Vietnam National Coal and Mineral Industries Group (VINACOMIN).

BT Tee, General Manager of the UBM VES Exhibition Services, the organizer of Mining Vietnam 2018 said that although the past few years have proved to be another difficult period for the global mining market, Mining Vietnam has continued to maintain its scope and reputation, attracting a large number of local and international firms.

This shows the industry’s high potential thanks to the Government’s policy to encourage exports and rising local consumption of mineral resources, he held.

Mining Vietnam will continue to serve as an effective technology marketplace for mining technology and services in Vietnam and the whole Indochina as well, he added.

Mining Vietnam was first launched in 2012. The third edition of the exhibition was held in 2016 with the attendance of 171 companies from 22 different countries and territories.

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