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Japanese investors secure foothold in leading Vietnamese brands through M&A

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Japanese investors have poured billions of dollars to purchase stakes at Vietnamese businesses over the past decade.

Japanese investors secure foothold in leading Vietnamese brands through M&A
After a decade of M&A, Japanese investors now own several leading brands in Vietnam.

As of May 2021, Japan was the second-largest foreign investor in Vietnam with the total registered capital of $63 billion. Japanese investors have also been actively contributing capital and share purchases to Vietnamese firms in various fields such as retail, food and beverage, pharmaceutical, real estate, and finance.

Many well-known Vietnamese brands are now owned by Japanese investors. In 2011, Unicharm acquired local company Diana. In 2015, Unicharm expanded its factory in Bac Ninh Province, targeting a bigger slice of the market.

Also in the same year, brewery group Kirin Holdings acquired major Vietnamese soft drink producer Interfood Shareholding Co. as part of its plans to capitalise on the Vietnamese market. Kirin purchased 57.25 per cent of the total outstanding shares in Interfood for an undisclosed sum and also bought out Wonderfarm Biscuits & Confectionery Sdn. Bhd., a Malaysia-based firm that manages the intellectual property rights of Interfood.

Eath Chemical also took over A My Gia, which is known for the Gift brand household detergent and Ami brand air fresheners. Sojitz Corporation spent around $91 million on acquiring a 95 per cent stake in Saigon Paper Corporation, which is the largest tissue paper and industrial paper producer nationwide. Japanese drugmaker Taisho Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. also takes control of Hau Giang Pharmaceutical JSC. Other M&A deals involving Japanese investors include NTTData’s acquisition of Payoo, AEON Group’s acquisition of Citimart, and Line’s acquisition of Webtretho.

In 2021, Maruha Nichiro decided to acquire Saigon Food in order to secure a new marine product processing base and to acquire a platform for the development, processing, and sales of processed foods. Meanwhile, Japanese mega financial institution Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group (SMFG) has just acquired 49 per cent stake in Vietnam’s largest consumer finance company FE Credit. The Japanese bank will invest more than $1.4 billion in FE Credit as early as October.

Speaking at the Vietnam M&A Forum 2020, Masataka “Sam” Yoshida, head of the Cross-border Division of RECOF Corporation and CEO of RECOF Vietnam Co., Ltd. said that M&A investments in Vietnam will be a trend for Japanese companies which will last for the years to come.

The first trigger is the destiny for Japanese companies to find new markets to expand outside Japan. The fact is that most of the sectors in Japan are already mature. For instance, almost one-third of the Japanese population is over 65 years old. This makes the average age of Japanese people 48.4 years, almost 20 years older than the figure for Vietnam. Also, around 276,000 people (more than a quarter of a million) are disappearing every year.

“The second trigger is ‘M&A as a growth strategy’ which is backed up by the abundant accumulated cash during the last 20 years which is reaching $2.34 trillion as bank deposits with almost zero interest rate. Pushed by shareholders’ requirements to make use of the money, these funds have started to flow into the M&A market which made its highest record in 2019 by 4,088 deals. This means there were more than 4,000 active and successful Japanese investors,” he said.

Source: VIR 

Source: https://vietnamnet.vn/en/business/japanese-investors-secure-foothold-in-leading-vietnamese-brands-through-m-a-747031.html

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Market maintains rally with strong inflow of foreign investment

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A worker checking products in Hoà Phát’s warehouse. The company shares rose 2.74 per cent yesterday. Photo hoaphat.com

HÀ NỘI — The market continued to rise on Thursday, boosted by gains in material stocks and interest from foreign investors as they net bought more than VNĐ1 trillion on two main exchanges. 

The VN-Index on the Hồ Chí Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE) settled higher yesterday, up 10.81 points, or 0.81 per cent, to 1,345.55 points. The index struggled in the morning trade as strong selling pressure caused the index to fall in the early session, but surging demand helped halt losses and push the index to recover. 

The market breadth was positive with 262 stocks increasing, while 116 fell. However, the liquidity was lower than the previous session as 635.5 million shares were traded on the southern market, worth over VNĐ19.32 trillion (US$840.5 million). 

The gain was mainly driven by large-cap stocks in material, real estate and banking sectors. 

The 30 biggest stocks tracker VN30-Index posted a rise of 0.97 per cent to close yesterday at 1,486.46 points. Twenty of 30 biggest stocks in the VN30 basket climbed while eight stocks fell and two ended flat. 

Hoà Phát Group (HPG) and Việt Nam Rubber Group JSC (GVR) were the two biggest influencers on the market’s trend yesterday, with gains of 2.74 per cent and 4.19 per cent, respectively. 

Vinhomes JSC (VHM), Vietcombank (VCB) and VPBank (VPB) also support the benchmark, up in a range of 0.91 – 2.15 per cent. 

Other stocks, mostly in the banking sector, also recorded good performance. There stocks were Techcombank (TCB), Mobile World Investment Corporation (MWG), Asia Commercial Joint Stock Bank (ACB) and MBBank (MBB).

On Hà Nội Stock Exchange (HNX), the HNX-Index settled higher yesterday, up 1.7 per cent to 325.46 points. 

Investors poured nearly VNĐ3.9 trillion into the northern bourse, equivalent to a trading volume of 154.2 million shares. 

Meanwhile, foreign investors were net buyers on both exchanges with a total value of over VNĐ1.14 trillion. Of which, they net bought a value of VNĐ1.1 trillion on HoSE and a value of VNĐ19.32 billion on HNX.

In its recent report, VNDirect Securities Corporation was more cautious on the complexity of the COVID-19 outbreak and said that the prevention measures might make it difficult to build another rally in the short-term.

“The VN-Index had plunged 13.7 per cent from the peak due to concerns about negative impacts on the macro-economy and business activities,” the securities firm said.

“The average liquidity in July also decreased by 12.8 per cent compared to the previous month.”

However, the inflows of foreign investment were a positive signal, VNDirect added. Last month, foreign investors net bought a value of nearly VNĐ4.6 trillion on the market, boosted by inflows from exchange traded funds (ETFs), especially Fubon FTSE Vietnam ETF. —

Source: https://vietnamnews.vn/economy/1004342/market-maintains-rally-with-strong-inflow-of-foreign-investment.html

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Analysts praise VIB’s business strategies at meeting for Q2 business results

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Three VIB representatives joined the online event. — Photo courtesy of the bank

HÀ NỘI — The Vietnam International Bank (VIB) organised an online meeting with the participation of more than 180 representatives from large funds, securities companies, independent analysts and the press.

The online meeting discussed three main topics, including VIB’s strong business results in the first half of 2021, key business strategies that have helped VIB become the top retail bank in Việt Nam and digital banking – the future of retail business.

During the event, VIB representatives reported on the bank’s business results in the first half of 2021 while sharing the strategy of maintaining high and sustainable growth momentum that the bank has ensured for many years and its support for customers and the community amid complicated developments of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since the pandemic hit Việt Nam, VIB has offered many reductions in lending interest rates for corporate and individual customers to help them overcome this difficult time.

The bank has restructured debt for more than 3,000 customers under the Circular 01 and 03 issued by the State Bank of Việt Nam, VIB Chief Financial Officer Hoàng Linh said at the event.

It has also slashed lending rates by between 0.5 and 2 per cent for nearly 10,000 clients affected by the pandemic, he said. 

Recently, VIB continued to reduce lending interest rates for individual and corporate customers with an average interest rate reduction of 1.5 per cent from July 15, focusing on customers severely impacted by the pandemic, Linh added.

Thanks to VIB’s timely and effective assistance, the outstanding balance of the restructured loans was paid in full and on time by most customers, helping the bank’s total loan balance decrease.

NIM expansion

Meanwhile, VIB has also continued to expand its Net Interest Margin (NIM) by promoting the development of the retail segment and optimising funding costs.

A report from the bank showed that the NIM trend in the last six quarters had improved significantly due to the reduction in Cost of fund (COF). VIB’s COF decreased from 5.4 per cent in the first quarter (Q1) of 2020 to 3.8 per cent in the second quarter (Q2) of 2021. Meanwhile, NIM increased from 3.9 per cent in Q1/2020 to 4.6 per cent in Q2/2021.

Linh said the bank has actively optimised the funding cost by promoting the growth of Current Account Savings account (CASA) while increasing low-cost funding sources on the international market.

Charts show VIB’s strong NII with sustainable and improving NIM. —  Photo courtesy of the bank

Recently, the bank signed a syndicated loan worth US$260 million over three years with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and a number of international financial institutions.

“VIB is also implementing a plan to digitise all CASA and deposit products to further grow this capital source,” Linh said. 

As of June 30, VIB’s total assets reached over VNĐ277 trillion; its credit balance was over VNĐ185 trillion, 8.1 per cent higher than the beginning of the year, while deposits from customers increased over 12 per cent year-on-year.

VIB’s NPL ratio decreased to 1.3 per cent. With strict risk management, the bank has maintained its risk indicators and prudential ratio. Capital adequacy ratio (CAR) according to Basel II was recorded at 10.3 per cent, the loan-to-deposit ratio stood at 73.1 per cent.

Effective retail business strategy

With its effective retail business strategy, VIB’s outstanding retail balance experienced positive growth at 14.2 per cent in the first six months of this year, accounting for nearly 90 per cent of total outstanding credit balance amid the pandemic.

The retail portfolio has also helped VIB reduce concentration risks and better adapt in the current volatile market environment. It is also one of the banks that has the highest retail credit portfolio in the country. 

In her speech at the event, Trần Thu Hương, Head of Strategy and Head of Retail Banking, outlined mortgage loans such as real estate, automobiles, credit cards, and insurance as VIB’s market-leading business segments. 

After five years of transformation, VIB was among the Top 4 joint-stock commercial banks in terms of retail loan balance by the end of 2020 and this position may change in 2021, Hương said, adding that the retail segment accounted for 70 per cent of the bank’s pre-tax profit in 2020, from 21 per cent in 2016.

“VIB’s business strategies prioritise gradually receiving positive results from the automation and digitisation of sales and after-sales service in the retail segment,” Hương said. 

Also at the event, analysts questioned that as the leading bank in terms of auto loan market share for five consecutive years, whether VIB had difficulties in bad debt management and debt recovery, especially in the context of social distancing and the impact of the pandemic.

Hương said: “VIB is not only the leading bank in terms of sales but also the industry leader in risk management of the auto lending segment. VIB applies a strict risk appetite right from the product development stage and the customer’s debt repayment requirements, the loan to value (LTV) ratio is always below 80 per cent, closely evaluates collateral, and at the same time with selective lending: 90 per cent of auto loans are new car loans for consumers, concentrating on the top car brands in the market.”

“Thus, with a tight risk appetite from the upstream, after 18 months since COVID-19 pandemic started, the bad debt ratio of the retail segment in general and the auto segment in particular at VIB has almost remained unchanged,” Hương said. 

Talking about VIB’s outstanding areas of bancassurance and credit cards, Hương said VIB is currently ranked in the Top 1 and Top 2 for many consecutive years in the bancassurance business. Despite social distancing, VIB has maintained its top bancassurance sales in recent years, thanks to digital sales platforms and digital solutions that have been implemented by VIB in the last two years.

“The cake is huge for everyone to join in and do a good job. Việt Nam’s bancassurance premium to GDP ratio is less than 1 per cent, compared with an average of about 10 per cent of other countries in the region.”

Regarding the credit card business, Hương said the bank’s credit card opening and card spending rates reached the highest-ever level in the bank’s history as VIB is a pioneer in applying modern technologies to daily life. From the opening stage to usage, it is completely online, besides others outstanding features that VIB applies in Việt Nam.

After more than two years of strong implementation of the credit card business, the bank has successfully applied artificial intelligence (AI) and big data processing (Big Data), along with modern technologies such as e-KYC and e-Signature in the credit card approval process, setting a new record for processing and approval period until the card is used: only 15-30 minutes, equal to 1/500 of the average time in the market. As a result, VIB continues to be in the top position in terms of growth in the number of credit cards and spending on cards, ranked second in the whole market, according to a report by the Vietnam Card Association.

 “This confirms that our credit card development strategy is promoting our strengths in technology, unique product features, and the outstanding customer experience in the market,” Hương said.

Answering questions from some fund representatives on whether VIB would consider expanding its customer base through developing strategic partnerships with other companies, Hương said that VIB focuses on developing digital banking, with digital solutions to be able to reach a diverse set of customers instead of targeting a few specific customer groups.

In her speech, VIB’s representative also expressed optimism and confidence in the policies of the State Bank of Việt Nam and the Government in both protecting the community against the pandemic and facilitating economic activities. 

A VIB logo is seen at the bank’s head office in HCM City’s District 1. —  Photo courtesy of the bank

Pioneering in digital banking 

VIB has the leading technology platform in the market. The bank has pioneered the application of technologies such as Big Data, AI, and cloud computing in transactions to make the online payment experience of customers easier and more convenient.

Trần Nhất Minh, Deputy Chief Executive Officer and Chief Digital Officer, said VIB’s digital banking experienced an impressive registration growth of 130 per cent in 2020. Customers can easily open cards for payment, account opening, online savings, money transfer, and other banking services at home instead of going to a branch. 

VIB has also offered many 100 per cent digital products while cooperating with partners such as Ho Chi Minh City Securities Co (HSC) and VNDirect securities company to better support customers.

“The bank’s CASA ratio is currently at 13 per cent and there is much room for growth in the future, helping to maximise capital expenditure and expand NIM. These factors help VIB become one of the top banks in terms of online transactions which account for 91  of the total number of transactions,” Minh said. 

In the future, VIB representatives said the bank will continue the outstanding achievements of the 10-year transformation programme to maintain its leading positions in retail and technology in particular and at the same time exceed its challenging business goals in 2021. — 

Source: https://vietnamnews.vn/economy/1004260/analysts-praise-vibs-business-strategies-at-meeting-for-q2-business-results.html

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Businesses dig deep to make sure they come out on other side of pandemic intact

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A customer tries to book a quarantine hotel service on Traveloka app. Traveloka and many businesses in Việt Nam are making efforts to survive the forth wave of COVID-19 pandemic. — Photo

Thu Ngân

HCM CITY — Businesses in Việt Nam are making all efforts to survive the fourth wave of COVID-19 which is battering the country.

Giant food producer KIDO Group said in a recent press release it has adopted a number of solutions to adapt to the new situation and keep production going while also ensuring safety.

A spokesperson told Việt Nam News that to ensure uninterrupted production, the company has adopted the “3 on-site” model, which involves on-site production, dining and rest, for over a month.

It unfailingly complies with the provisions of the Government’s circular No 16 and 5K message, he said.

It is also preparing for life after the pandemic, he said.

“We are ready to bring new products and segments into the market immediately after COVID-19 is controlled.”

It plans to introduce the Vibev brand of products made in collaboration with Vinamilk.

Another plan is to introduce Chuk Chuk, a new food and beverage brand, opening 1,000 stores by 2025.

The company’s general director, Trần Lệ Nguyên, said the first market for Chuk Chuk would be HCM City, and stores would open in Hà Nội and some northern provinces by September if the pandemic is controlled by then, adding it would be present across the country by 2025.

Ride-hailing and delivery company Grab has rolled out a number of programmes to help customers buy foodstuffs.

To ensure the safety of its drivers and customers, it has tied up with the General Department of Vocational Education and Training to fully equip its drivers with the necessary skills and competencies.

They have also jointly built and standardised the training materials, and drawn up communication plans for raising awareness about vocational skills development for drivers.

Trương Anh Dũng, director general of the department, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has had a great impact on the Vietnamese economy, and drivers cannot be immune to it. This partnership helps resolve long-term problems for technological drivers, equipping them with the necessary skills to sustain and improve not only their livelihoods but also the quality of life of themselves and their families.”

Grab also has a programme to support disadvantaged people in HCM City in co-operation with Golden Lotus Foundation. It provides free meals to people economically affected by the pandemic or living in locked-down areas.

To start with, around 11,500 meals would be provided, it said.

Tourism is one of the many sectors badly hit by the pandemic, and many businesses in it have been striving to overcome the challenges they face. 

For instance, before the semi-lockdown began weeks ago some hotels had begun to offer co-working space to provide customers with a safe working environment.

Now, with stricter social distancing regulations, they have changed their strategy and offer quarantine facilities, and this has received strong support from customers.

Recently a Southeast Asian travel and lifestyle superapp, Traveloka, announced that it is working with the HCM City Department of Tourism to help the city’s residents find and book hotels and transportation to enable quarantine. 

Demand for quarantine facilities has increased along with the developments of COVID-19 in HCM City, and its quarantine hotel and transportation online booking and payment solutions are expected to help curb the spread of the pandemic by limiting direct contact between people, Traveloka said. 

They have been available since the start of August. 

Lê Trương Hiền Hoà, director of the HCM City Tourism Promotion Centre, hailed the partnership, saying: “With support from Traveloka, HCM City is the first city in Việt Nam to digitise the quarantine hotel booking process … and will extend it to international arrivals in the near future. 

“It also helps hoteliers switch their business model to survive amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.”

With the aid of the app’s advanced technologies, customers can easily access complete information about room types, prices and transportation options in real-time, and pay for it via Traveloka. 

Traveloka said it is partnering with more than 80 hotels and selected transportation partners across HCM City, including private cars and shuttle buses. 

MVV Academy, a pioneer organisation for comprehensive, on-site and advanced resource development solutions in Việt Nam, decided to organise training programmes to make its staff sales consultants and brand ambassadors to introduce its products to the public. 

It also recently launched MVV Uni, an advanced training platform that offers working professionals an interactive and flexible experience to support their various learning needs, and acts as a one-stop-shop with courses in all essential business skill sets such as leadership, sales, marketing, management, soft skills, and digital transformation.

“The COVID epidemic has disrupted many human resource training activities at Vietnamese enterprises,” Bùi Đức Quân, CEO of MVV Academy told Việt Nam News.

“Taking advantage of the strength of technology, combined with experience in content building and understanding of learner experience through operating platforms such as TopClass and Everlearn, we quickly built a solution, MVV Uni, to offer enterprises training programmes for their employees during Covid.

“Our ambition is to build a university community on the cloud.” —

 

 

 

Source: https://vietnamnews.vn/economy/1003623/businesses-dig-deep-to-make-sure-they-come-out-on-other-side-of-pandemic-intact.html

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