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Funds cut stakes at ACB



The logo of Asia Commercial Joint Stock Commercial Bank (ACB). — Photo

HÀ NỘI — Two investment funds have cut their stakes at Asia Commercial Joint Stock Bank (ACB) after the lender saw its market value soar in the last three months.

The two shareholders are First Burns Investments Limited and Asia Reach Investments Limited.

The funds are related to Dominic Timothy Charles Scriven, a member of the board of managers at ACB, also the founder and executive chairman of Viet Nam-focus investment firm Dragon Capital.

First Burns Investments Limited has sold 32.9 million ACB shares to cut its ownership to 53.5 million shares or 2.48 per cent of the capital from 86.4 million shares (4 per cent stake).

Asia Reach Investments Limited has also offloaded 13.7 million ACB shares to cut its stake to 54.3 million shares (2.51 per cent of the capital) from 68 million shares (3.15 per cent of the capital).

The two funds registered their transactions on October 9. The two deals were finalised on October 12.

Three days earlier, nearly 40 million ACB shares were transferred in put-through transactions at VNĐ24,000 (US$1.03) per share. On October 12, nearly 5.9 million ACB shares were also traded at VNĐ24,000 apiece.

ACB shares, listed on the Hà Nội Stock Exchange with code ACB, moved between VNĐ23,000 and VNĐ23,800 per share on October 9-12.

The northern lender has recently filed for moving its shares to the Hồ Chí Minh Stock Exchange from the Hà Nội Stock Exchange.

Accordingly, the bank plans to cancel listing on HNX and switch to list entirely its 2.16 billion shares on HoSE.

The bourse-switching plan is expected to complete in the coming weeks.

The Hà Nội-based lender has seen its shares rocket in the last three months. ACB shares have soared a total of nearly 51 per cent since July 27.

ACB shares gained 2.4 per cent to VNĐ25,300 apiece on Monday.

In the first six months of 2020, ACB reported net revenue of total VNĐ6.53 trillion, up 13.4 per cent on-year.

The result was driven by the bank’s impressive earnings from trading securities, which jumped from a loss of VNĐ8 billion in the six-month period of 2019 to a profit of VNĐ662 billion in January-June this year.

In addition, income from foreign currency trading surged 98 per cent on-year to VNĐ295 billion in the first half.

However, as income from other business activities slumped 83 per cent on-year to VNĐ102 billion and expenses for salary and bonus, operation, and risk provision rose sharply, ACB posted only a 5.4 per cent on-year increase in pre-tax profit, which reached VNĐ3.82 trillion in the first half of the year. —



Sacombank, 1st in Việt Nam to deploy Tap to Phone and NFC technologies



Executives from the State Bank of Vietnam’s HCM City branch, Sacombank and the first three companies to go live with Tap to Phone at a ceremony to launch the service in HCM City on November 27. — Photo courtesy of Sacombank

HCM CITY— Sacombank has partnered with Visa, the global leader in payments technology, to deploy the ‘Tap to Phone’ technology that enables merchants to use their mobile phones or tablets as a point of sale device for contactless payments without the need for additional devices or peripherals for the first time in Việt Nam.

Together with the Rapid Seller Onboarding solution, enterprises/ household businesses can complete the setup and register online to become a card accepting unit quickly and easily.

Tap to Phone technology uses software development kit (SDK) integrated in mMerchant, a mobile app exclusively meant for merchants, to meet the increasing demand for fast and convenient payment solutions.

Tap to Phone is now used only in near-field communication (NFC)-enabled Android mobile devices, but will be expanded to iOS devices in the near future.

This solution will meet the requirement for cost-effective contactless payment solutions among merchants/enterprises, especially those needing multiple mobile payment points such as insurance companies, cash-on-delivery shipping providers, restaurants getting paid at the table, and small businesses, and allows more merchants to accept cards without having to install a card terminal or adding payment accessories while ensuring safe and secure transactions.

With this simple operation, sellers can quickly and easily receive payments anytime, anywhere.

After entering the amount, buyers just need to tap their Visa contactless cards on the seller’s mobile device to complete the transaction.

Cardholders don’t need to sign an invoice if it is under VNĐ1 million (US$43.2). For invoices worth over VNĐ1 million, the sellers will instruct cardholders to sign their names on their mobile device screen and enter an email address to receive the e-invoice.

Dai-ichi Life Vietnam, Prudential Vietnam and Tiki Corporation are the bank’s first partners to deploy this modern technology.

Speaking at the inaugural ceremony on November 27 in HCM City, Nguyễn Minh Tâm, deputy CEO of Sacombank, said: “The co-operation between Sacombank and Visa has made Việt Nam the first country in the world to adopt an absolutely automatic and closed process that enables a merchant to securely accept contactless card payments.

“With the strength in retail banking activities along with a rich customer base from businesses in the insurance and e-commerce sectors to small and medium enterprises and household businesses, this solution will help Sacombank’ s existing and potential customers increase sales, save operating costs and contribute to promoting non-cash payments, bringing benefits to the economy.”

A study by Visa in 2020 found that Việt Nam has seen a surge in mobile wallet and payment app usage in recent years, with over 85 per cent of consumers owning at least one mobile wallet or payment app, and over 40 per cent using mobile contactless payments.

It has 129.5 million mobile phone subscribers, more than half of them using 3G and 4G, showing strong demand for digital payment solutions.

On the same day the bank in collaboration with Visa launched the NFC mobile contactless payment service for customers using its Sacombank Pay app on Android mobile phones.

The service allows consumers to use their mobile devices to make contactless transactions on NFC POS devices or Tap to Phone mobile devices instead of using their cards. —


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Mitsubishi Materials invests $90 million for 10 per cent stake in Masan High-Tech Materials



Masan High-Tech Materials Corporation’s modern processing line in Việt Nam. — Photo courtesy of Masan

HCM CITY — Masan High-Tech Materials Corporation (MHT), a subsidiary of Masan Group, on November 27 announced it has wrapped up a strategic alliance in the tungsten industry with Japan’s Mitsubishi Materials Corporation (MMC) with an objective to develop a leading, high-tech tungsten materials platform.

As part of the strategic alliance, MMC bought 109,915,542 newly issued shares via a private placement for a cash consideration of US$90 million.

MMC now owns 10 per cent of the fully diluted share capital of MHT and is the second largest shareholder.

The parties will discuss developing a separate business unit to strengthen and unlock synergies for their respective mid-stream tungsten platforms.

The ability to offer cutting edge solutions to customers and the strategic flexibility of being integrated across the value chain is a critical factor in delivering sustainable growth and will continue to be a critical factor in the tungsten space.

MHT prides itself on constantly delivering improved and innovative product offerings. MHT is one of the only tungsten platforms that benefits from regular supply of primary (concentrates) and secondary raw (recycled) materials that are then further processed into the finest quality oxides, powders, carbides and chemicals.

The success of MHT is underpinned by a combination of world-class research and development with dedicated applications engineers who have a track record of delivering fine-tuned specifications to meet end customers’ evolving demands.

After the acquisition of H.C Starck , a leading global mid-stream tungsten business, in June this year, MMC’s participation as a strategic partner is a validation of management’s transformation into a vertically integrated high-tech tungsten platform.

MMC will add significant value as a strategic partner, and through partnering the parties will be positioned to develop better leading-edge solutions for end customers which will accelerate growth.

They include establishing the opportunities for joint collaboration and investment in revolutionary research and development of key technologies to enhance the parties’ respective high-tech tungsten portfolios, improving their ability to provide industry-leading quality and performance of high-tech tungsten materials products, and finally strengthening the sales network in the Asia Pacific region.

Credit Suisse acted as exclusive financial advisor to MHT.

Key regulatory and MHT shareholders’ approvals required for the strategic investment have been obtained.

Entering the poultry meat market

On the same day Masan MEATLife Joint Stock Company (MML), another subsidiary of Masan Group, announced the acquisition of 51 per cent of 3F VIET Joint Stock Company, a leading domestic player in the poultry meat market, through a primary injection of VNĐ613 billion ($26.37 million).

Established in 2014, 3F VIET has emerged as one of the country’s leading players with a vision to transform the poultry market with chilled packaged and processed chicken meat products.

Its offerings span the value chain, from breeding, hatcheries and meat farms to large-scale food processing and packaging, all complying strictly with environmental standards related to food hygiene and safety.

With an efficient operating model, 3F VIET hopes to generate revenues of VNĐ1trillion ($43.1 million) with break-even EBITDA in financial year 2020.

The VNĐ613 billion will be used by 3F to expand its business and build a poultry power brand.

Regulatory approvals required for the transaction have been obtained.

Masan MEATLife CEO Phạm Trung Lâm said: “Entering the poultry meat market through the investment into 3F VIET is a part of Masan MEATLife’s vision to transform into a pure FMCG company.

“With the completion of this strategic milestone, we expect to bring breakthrough value to consumers in a much more scalable fashion and develop power brands. Our mission is to supply fresh, safe, affordable, and traceable meat products to each and every Vietnamese consumer.” —


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Vietnamese airlines urge government to provide further support to overcome pandemic



Airlines in Vietnam have asked the central government to continue providing favorable policies and assistance to help them maintain their business operations during the current difficult time.

A national conference on the sustainable development of Vietnam’s aviation industry was organized by the Vietnam Aviation Business Association and Institute of Socio-Economy and Technology on Thursday.

At the event, representatives of local airlines suggested that the government continue supporting them in terms of taxes, fees, and soft loans.

According to Ho Ngoc Yen Phuong, deputy director of budget carrier Vietjet, the airline suffered losses worth VND2.4 trillion (US$104 million) in the first nine months of this year due to the COVID-19 epidemic.

Vietjet had to sell many of the assets accumulated over the previous years to reduce losses, Phuong added.

In many other countries, governments have provided local airlines with preferential loans to survive the COVID-19 pandemic.

What Vietjet needs the most right now is to increase its cash flow, Phuong stated.

“We are looking forward to a three- to five-year loan provided by the state bank’s refinancing resources,” she added.

In order to cope with the challenges, the carrier has had to apply hourly rate payments to pilots and cut the salary of its leaders and officials by 70 to 80 percent.

When international routes are reopened following the pandemic, airlines in other countries will have better competitiveness thanks to their governments’ support.

Vietnamese airlines would struggle by then if they do not receive the necessary assistance, the Vietjet leader asserted.

Bamboo Airways has also faced similar difficulties despite multiple solutions applied, Nguyen Khac Hai, the airline’s deputy director, stated, adding that the carrier may suffer losses worth up to VND5 trillion ($216 million) in 2020.

Hai suggested that local airlines be provided with refinancing loans to deal with existing problems.

“Local airlines should be allowed to borrow money directly from commercial banks with interest rates of two to three percent within two to three years, and guarantee their loans with their assets,” he elaborated.

According to Nguyen Tien Hoang, deputy head of the development and planning department of national carrier Vietnam Airlines, the firm is expected to suffer losses worth VND15 trillion ($648 million) in 2020 due to COVID-19.

Hoan proposed that the state provide airline businesses with interest-free loans to help maintain wage payment. 

“The International Air Transport Association [IATA] said that governments across the world had spent $173 billion supporting the aviation sector, of which $46 billion was used to pay staff salaries,” he said.

In order to overcome this, airlines in Vietnam should work together to come up with effective and long-term solutions, before submitting their proposals to the prime minister, said Dr. Tran Dinh Thien, former director of the Vietnam Institute of Economics.

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