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Thailand’s SCG acquires 70% stake in Duy Tan Plastics

Siam Cement Group, the largest and oldest cement and building material company in Thailand and Southeast Asia, has announced the acquisition of 70% stake in Duy Tan Plastic.



Its wholly-owned subsidiary SCG Packaging will be the legal entity transferring shares for 10 billion baht ($334 million). The deal was part of its plan to expand its packaging solution business in Vietnam, where demand for packaging products is growing.

SCGP chief executive Wichan Jitpukdee said SCGP has constantly increased investment in Vietnam, which has yielded a revenue growth of more than 10 percent annually.

“SCGP is prepared to work with all partners to share experience and knowledge in the development of integrated packaging solutions and support the growing demand for diverse types of packaging among customers in ASEAN,” Wichan was quoted by the Bangkok Post as saying.

The 10 billion baht is part of 20-billion-baht investment budget the SCGP announced last month for business expansion and merger and acquisition plans.

SCG is one of the leading corporation in Southeast Asia operating in three main business areas including cement – building materials, petrochemical, and packaging.

Founded by King Rama VI in 1913, the group had the initial mission to support the infrastructure development of Thailand. Over a century of development, SCG has become one of the major corporations in ASEAN.

According to Forbes, in 2011, SGC was ranked as the 2nd largest company in Thailand and 620th worldwide.

Duy Tan Plastics Manufacturing Corporation, Vietnam’s top producer of rigid plastic packaging products, according to its letter sent to the Stock Exchange of Thailand.

Duy Tan operates business-to-business sales to multinational companies and local brand owners of consumer and fast-moving consumer goods. The company also manufactures household plastic containers under the brand name “Duy Tan,” with a capacity of 116,000 tonnes per year, the paper said.

SCG Group was one of the earliest foreign investors in Vietnam right after the revised Foreign Investment Law took effect in 1992. In the beginning, SCG Group focused on building materials.



Casinos want to serve Vietnamese at major tourist destinations on trial basis



Businesses in Vietnam have proposed that casinos at major tourist destinations be allowed to serve Vietnamese citizens as a way to help such a service cope with difficulties brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The proposal was submitted to the prime minister’s advisory council by the country’s casino business community on Thursday.

In the document, local casino businesses stated that the tourism industry has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic due to a sharp decrease in the number of foreign visitors.

To mitigate this problem, domestic tourism has been promoted.

However, local casinos have not benefited from these promotion plans because Vietnamese people are not allowed to enter these venues.

A circular of the Ministry of Finance previously allowed Vietnamese citizens to use services at local casinos on a trial basis, but no specific list of eligible casinos was issued.

Only two casinos in Phu Quoc, a tourist island off the southern province of Kien Giang, and Van Don, an island off the northern province of Quang Ninh, have been permitted to serve Vietnamese residents as part of the pilot program.

The trial began in January 2019 and would last for three years, before the finance ministry carries out a comprehensive review to make further decisions. 

The casino business community asked the government to consider allowing this entertainment service at other major tourist destinations, such as central Quang Nam Province and southern Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province among others.

Allowing more casinos to serve Vietnamese people will enable the trial to achieve a more objective result, as well as support local businesses in coping with challenges caused by the pandemic.

In accordance with Vietnamese law, casinos are only permitted to serve foreigners or overseas Vietnamese with foreign passports.

In the pilot program, Vietnamese people who wish to enter and gamble in a casino must be at least 21 years of age, and have full capacity for civil acts in accordance with the provisions of Vietnamese law.

Vietnamese punters are also expected to prove a regular income of VND10 million (US$430) or more per month to play at a casino.

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Skype co-founder invests in Vietnam’s Loship



Loship, an ecommerce-focused logistics startup in Vietnam, on Friday morning announced it has raised an undisclosed amount of funding from Skype co-founder Jaan Tallinn.

Tallinn participated in Loship’s Series C funding through his investment vehicle MetaPlanet Holdings.

The investment comes four months after the one-hour-delivery e-commerce startup secured capital in a bridge round led by Vulpes Investment Management.

This capital injection marks Loship as the first portfolio company of MetaPlanet in Vietnam and Southeast Asia.

According to Loship CEO Nguyen Hoang Trung, the fresh capital will be spent on expanding the firm’s delivery network, human resource, technology, and market.

“A huge portion of the funding will be poured into upgrading our app and developing technologies in Loship,” Trung said in the company’s announcement.

“In addition, we will also ramp up our marketing strategies to cement Loship’s presence in the domestic market.”

“It didn’t take me very long to realize Loship was on to something,” Loship quoted Tallinn as saying in its announcement.

“MetaPlanet is planning to pay more attention to the rapidly growing economies in Southeast Asia. So I’m delighted to be off to a strong start in Vietnam by adding Loship as our first portfolio company there.”

Founded in 2017, the startup traces its roots to Lozi, a review app that allowed users to find food, beverages, and coffee shops.

It was then transitioned into a delivery services platform.

Loship has closed its series A and B rounds from investors such as South Korea’s Smilegate Investment, Hana Financial Group, DTNI, and Golden Gate Ventures.

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Bamboo Airways overtakes Vietnam Airlines in cross-country flight count during country’s busiest travel week



Reports of Bamboo Airways, a three-year-old aviation firm, operating more flights between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City than veteran air carrier Vietnam Airlines during Vietnam’s busiest travel week have shocked travel experts from across the country.

According to flight data, Vietnam Airlines made just 113 trips between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City during the one-week span from February 8 to 14, which coincided with the 2021 Lunar New Year holiday.

Comparatively, Bamboo Airways made 130 trips on the same route.

Flights between Vietnam’s two largest cities are considered critical to airline success given consistent demand and high profits.

Still, more flights do not necessarily mean more success.

More data related to how many seats were sold aboard each flight and how each carrier fared on its other routes is needed in order to truly judge who came out on top during the holiday season.

What the numbers do show, however, is the intensifying competition between Vietnam’s homegrown airlines, particularly as COVID-19 continues to keep thousands of passengers grounded.

According to a report on Vietnam’s aviation industry released in January, domestic airlines collectively operated 19,295 flights, with Vietnam Airlines and Vietjet each accounting for 6,000-7,000 departures, or twice as many as Bamboo Airways’.

Meanwhile, three-year-old Bamboo Airways seems to be gradually winning passengers’ hearts thanks to its high service quality.

As international operations remain in hibernation, the country’s six carriers – Vietnam Airlines, Vietjet, Bamboo Airways, Pacific Airlines, Vietravel Airlines, and VASCO – are each scrambling for ways to convince travelers that they offer the best product, including setting prices as low as VND85,460 ($3.7) for the Hanoi – Ho Chi Minh City route.

Customers’ gain

Similar to Vietjet’s recent success, the surge of customers flocking to Bamboo Airways reflects the significant role played by private airlines in Vietnam in an industrial landscape long dominated by national carrier Vietnam Airlines.

Not only beaten by Vietjet in the domestic flight category, Vietnam Airlines and its subsidiary VASCO are also facing tough competition from Bamboo Airways on the Ho Chi Minh City – Con Dao or Rach Gia – Ca Mau routes.

Under the shadow of the current COVID-19 crisis, Vietnam Airlines is the only domestic carrier to benefit from the government’s bailout package after it reported a VND14 trillion ($610 million) loss in 2020.

Meanwhile, Vietjet and Bamboo are pulling themselves by the bootstraps to negotiate debt rescheduling and the sale of assets, which in turn have helped them post profits of VND70 billion ($3 million) and VND400 billion ($17.4 million), respectively, in 2020.

According to experts, Bamboo’s success over Vietnam Airlines on one route during one week cannot be used to reflect the entire industry, considering the aviation sector tends to reward those who achieve optimal cost management, sound ticket pricing, and decent customer service over an extended period of time.

During the current travel slump, experts recommended that the government maintain fair competition in terms of policy and bailout programs in order to ensure customers’ gain and avoid reinstating a monopoly in aviation.

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