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HCMC to have additional 60,000 square meters of retail space



The retail space at a local shopping center. HCMC will have an additional 60,000 square meters of retail space this year – PHOTO: LDO

HCMC – HCMC will have an additional 60,000 square meters of retail space this year with the reopening of the Union Square in District 1 and the launch of the Socar Shopping Mall project in District 2, according to a press release by property service provider CB Richard Ellis (CBRE) Vietnam.

From 2022, the supply of retail space will be mainly in the eastern and central parts of the city. CBRE predicted the city would have an extra 500,000 square meters of retail space in the next five years, Thanh Nien Online newspaper reported.

Besides catering, healthcare and beauty care services, supermarkets, fashion and accessory stores, some other sectors were expected to have a higher demand for retail space this year, such as showrooms for cars, household appliances and high-end goods.

Due to the impact of Covid-19, HCMC saw almost no new supply of retail space in 2020. Besides the flagship store of Uniqlo which was opened earlier, only the Parkson shopping center in District 1 was reopened in the last quarter with two key lessees — MUJI and Kohnan.

By the end of last year, the city’s retail market had an area of more than one million square meters. The rentals of the retail space fell a slight 3%-5%. Some projects reported a higher reduction, at 8%-15%, due to a smaller number of shoppers and a 15% increase in the vacancy rate over the pre-pandemic period.

Meanwhile, the office-for-lease market continued facing difficulties as many enterprises have been hit by the pandemic. The market saw three new office buildings with a total area of more than 65,000 square meters last year, including the Friendship Tower, the UOA Tower and the Opal Tower.

By 2020, HCMC had more than 1.4 million square meters of offices to be leased, including 18 grade-A buildings and 68 grade-B buildings. As their vacancy rates increased 18.1% and 9.1%, respectively, the rentals declined.

In 2021 and 2022, HCMC will have more than 15,000 square meters of space to be leased, with the introduction of six new buildings—Pearl 5 Tower, Cobi Tower, The Graces, Saigon First House, Spirit of Saigon and Etown 6.



Vietnam to launch competitive retail electricity market in 2023



Vietnam Electricity will conduct price marketization to encourage investment in electricity industry and follow the State-regulated market mechanism.

Vietnam will officially run the competitive retail electricity market in 2023 as part of efforts to make the power sector more transparent and effective in comparison with the regional peers.

 Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung at the meeting on January 12. Photo: VGP

Vietnam Electricity (EVN), the country’s sole power distributor, needs to facilitate the investment in infrastructure of the power industry to better connect power plants with the national grid, Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung said at a meeting on January 12.

EVN needs to prioritize energy efficiency together with reasonable import and export of power in national programs, Mr. Dung said, adding that the group should be active in recommending plans for electricity generation and transmission to ensure sufficient energy for socio-economic development, defense and security.

The solutions will aim to keep electricity prices stable. “High power prices will make Vietnamese goods uncompetitive,” the deputy PM said.

Competitive retail electricity market

Vietnam’s 2004 Electricity Law has provided the framework to develop a competitive power market, helping promote private investment, and establish a regulatory authority, according to the World Bank.

Under which, the private sector is encouraged to participate in each distribution company.

Whereas the power market is partially competitive, improved operational efficiency and financial performance of generators in this market has contributed to keeping generation costs relatively low.

Plans are broadly on track for further extensive reforms, including a clean energy transition, Alan David Lee and Franz Gerner said in “Learning from Power Sector Reform Experiences” policy research working paper published in March 2020.

Vietnam has seen significant changes to its market structure, gradually moving from a vertically integrated structure to a more competitive power market, the paper showed.

In less than two decades, the country’s power sector evolved from fragmented companies with high technical and financial losses to an integrated power system, and then to an unbundled group of stated-owned corporations with sizeable participation of domestic and international private sector actors in power generation.

 Vietnam expects to run competitive retail electricity market by 2023. Photo:

2021 targets

Representatives of EVN said at the meeting that one of the group’s tasks for 2021 is to conduct price marketization to encourage investment in electricity industry and follow the State-regulated market mechanism.

Duong Quang Thanh, chairman of the Board of Directors at EVN, said the group will prioritize sufficient power supply in a stable manner in 2021 for the socio-economic targets.

EVN targets to increase output by 5.16% on-year to more than 228 billion kWh in 2021, System Average Interruption Duration Index (SAIDI) of less than 349 minutes, electricity loss rate less that 6.35%.

The group will boost the development of renewable energy to reduce imported materials and ensure stable supply.

In addition, it requires efforts to complete regulatory framework for the electricity industry, especially regulations on credit guarantee schemes as the sector needs huge amount of money for power generation and transmission.

Requirements on environmental protection become strict, demanding investors to develop clean energy sources.

Accordingly, applying advanced technology and using updated equipment will be a must in upcoming power projects.

“The last but not least is digital transformation that should be applied for the group’s operations and customer services to save cost,” EVN’s Deputy General Director Nguyen Tai Anh said at the meeting.

Currently, the group is running 16 software programs including ERP, CMIS 3.0, IMIS, PMIS, HRMS, E-OFFICE and EVNHES, for all its members.

2020 performance 

EVN said one of its achievements in 2020 is lowering electricity loss rate to 6.42%, the third in ASEAN.

In 2020, the group offered electricity price reduction worth VND12.3 trillion (US$525 million) to customers as part of efforts to support them in the Covid-19 pandemic.

EVN’s members have so far operated a network of 29,638 megawatts (MW), accounting for roughly 43% of the national installed capacity.

In the year, the consumed power volume reached 216.95 billion kWh, up 3.42% on-year. Hanoitimes

Linh Pham


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Vietnam Airlines receives multimillion-dollar bailout package as state investment



State Capital Investment Corporation (SCIC), the investment arm of the Vietnamese government, is looking to funnel VND8 trillion (US$347 million) into the charter capital of the flagship air carrier Vietnam Airlines.

On Thursday, Nguyen Chi Thanh, CEO of SCIC, revealed that the state-owned company is working with Vietnam Airlines to settle the share prices for the airline’s incoming offerings.

As per the government’s Resolution 194 on the bailout for Vietnam Airlines in light of the COVID-19 crisis, the air carrier is allowed to offer more shares to existing shareholders to increase its charter capital. The government has assigned the SCIC to buy shares of Vietnam Airlines.

While Vietnam Airlines is devising the plan to increase its capital via share offering before submitting it for appraisal of the State Securities Committee, SCIC is working to set an offering price that matches the market evaluation, Thanh said.

According to the SCIC leader, in order to set a proper price, Vietnam Airlines must figure out its corporate value, which in turn requires a business plan for no less than five years.

However, the business has yet to provide a long-term business plan as its future are still kept in limbo, with the date for resumption of international flights – a significant baseline for the plan – is still largely uncertain.

“As the development of the pandemic on the world remains unpredictable, it is hard to establish a business plan for Vietnam Airlines. Without it, we can’t assess the value of the company. Only when Vietnam Airlines returns on international routes can its business operation recover,’ Thanh remarked.

On behalf of SCIC, Thanh suggested enlisting the help of a reliable international auditing firm to assess the corporate value of Vietnam Airlines.

Meanwhile, SCIC will continue working closely with the airline and report to the Committee for Management of State Capital at Enterprises as well as other relevant authorities to ensure the efficiency and lawfulness of the investment process.

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Think tank forecasts 6.46 percent growth for Vietnam



Think tank forecasts 6.46 percent growth for Vietnam

A container ship docks at Ben Nghe Port in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by Shutterstock/Claudine Van Massenhove.

A government think tank has pegged economic growth at 6.46 percent this year thanks to the country’s success in containing the Covid-19 outbreak and maintaining stability.

Vietnam is one of the fastest recovering economies in Asia, the Central Institute for Economic Management (CIEM) said in a report.

In the best case scenario, credit growth would be 13 percent against 10.1 percent last year, it said.

But it also warned of risks that could hamper growth, like the unpredictable global economic situation as the pandemic situation remains severe in many countries and possible anti-dumping and countervailing investigations by the U.S. and other countries.

Several international organizations have forecast a strong recovery for Vietnam this year, with lender HSBC forecasting growth of 7.6 percent. The International Monetary Fund and Asian Development Bank have forecast 6.5 percent and 6.1 percent growth.

The government has set a target of 6.5 percent.


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