Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Vietnam Business News Update

* Bien Hoa-Vung Tau road, railway projects to be built in BOT form
A 68-km expressway and a 78-km railway both linking Bien Hoa City and Vung Tau City between the two southern provinces of Dong Nai and Ba Ria-Vung Tau will be built under the investment form of build operate-transfer (BOT) with respective costs of US$325 million and US$400 million as they have been recently added to the list of BOT projects by the Ministry of Communications and Transport, Thoi Bao Kinh Te Vietnam reports.

* Industry grows 17% in Jan-Jul
The past seven months saw Vietnam generating a total industrial value of VND325.94 trillion (US$20.244 trillion), up 17% year-on-year, the Industry Ministry said. The ministry has called on enterprises to further tap the domestic market and promote publicity to better boost sales, Lao Dong reports.

* Electronics-computers exports bring in US$1.1 billion
The Planning and Investment Ministry has estimated US$1.099 billion in the country’s export revenue of computers and electronic products over the past seven months, up 24.6% year-on-year. However, the trade gap in this industry segment alone was put at US$396 million, Dau Tu reports.

* Construction Ministry okays sand export
A company in Ninh Thuan Province and another one in Quang Nam Province have got the green light from the Construction Ministry for exporting 100,000 cubic meters of sand. But approvals from the two provincial governments are required before the construction material is shipped abroad, Tuoi Tre reports.

* New decree on outbound oil and gas investment
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung has signed Decree 121 ruling on outbound investment (FDI) in the oil and gas sector. The decree provides regulations on authorization and procedures to approve outbound investment, Nhan Dan reports.

* Dung Quat Oil Refinery needs 400 more employees
The project management board of Quang Ngai Province’s Dung Quat Oi Refinery has announced to recruit 179 engineers and 222 skilled workers for such sectors as marine, automation, information technology, communication electronics, petrochemistry, mechanics, electric and thermoelectric engineering, environmental safety, analytic chemistry and fire-extinguishing. All recruited people will have to undergo a three-to-nine month training course on how to operate oil-refining facilities locally and abroad, Tuoi Tre reports.

* 56 seafood processors get clean sheets for shipping products to Japan
As of August 1 fifty-six local enterprises are eligible to ship seafood to Japan without having to undergo inspection as informed by the National Fisheries Quality Assurance and Veterinary Directorate (Naviqaved). This is because these enterprises have exported ten consecutive seafood shipments to Japan found not to contain banned residues. The list will be monthly updated and sent to customs authorities, Tuoi Tre reports.

Hyundai launch Vietnam shipping JV

Hyundai Merchant Marine Company and a Vietnamese freight forwarder launched a shipping joint venture in southern Vietnam late last week.

The new entity, Hyundai Merchant Marine Vietnam, has US$300,000 in chartered capital with the local firm, Gemadept Corporation, holding a 49 percent stake.

The Ho Chi Minh City-based venture will offer marine shipping and other related services.

It’s expected to serve 6,000 TEUs per month initially. The amount is expected to increase once the country’s port facilities have expanded.

The Korean firm (HMM) – a marine service arm of Hyundai Group - is one of the major trans-Pacific marine transport carriers.

HMM has acted as an agent for Gemadept for 14 years.

Vietnam’s marine pre-WTO marine regulations did not allow foreign players to engage directly in the sector.

Yoo Chang Keun, deputy chairman of HMM, said it was seeking investment opportunities in building container ports in Vietnam.

HMM operates a 120 ship-fleet along 40 routes via 14 overseas subsidiaries and 70 offices and branches worldwide. The company’s operations frequent some of the world’s larges sea routes - trans-Pacific, Asia-Europe, trans-Atlantic and inter-Asia

Gemadept (General Forwarding & Agency Corporation) is Vietnam's largest listed freight forwarder.

The HCMC-listed firm is engaged a joint venture to build a VND3.7 trillion (US$229 million) Nhon Hoi International Port in Binh Dinh province’s Nhon Hoi Economic Zone.

The port is designed to have annual cargo throughput of 3 million tons by 2010 and 12 million tons by 2020 when in full performance.

The project is expected begin by the end of September.

The firm is also building a $35 million deepwater seaport in the central Dung Quat EZ – home of the country’s first oil refinery – alongside other local partners.

Gemadept is set to mobilize more funds to finance the construction of ports, industrial zones and ship purchases via a share issue of nearly 25 million later this year, or in 2008 at the latest.

The issue is expected to boost Gemadept's registered capital by 51.6 percent to VND720 billion ($44.7 million).

The freighter saw a 15 percent rise in revenues this year from last year's VND1.21 trillion ($75 million) and a jump in net profit of up to 30 percent from VND156 billion ($9.7 million).

Shares in Gemadept closed down 4.68 percent Monday to VND122,000.

Source: TBKTVN – Compiled by Dong Ha

Monday, July 30, 2007

Vietnam plans to allow expatriates to buy and sell houses

HANOI: Vietnam plans to allow expatriates to buy and sell houses to attract foreign investment to the sector, real estate dealers said Monday.

The Ministry of Construction plan applies to foreigners who will stay in Vietnam for a year. They will be allowed to buy and own one house per person over 50 years.

Many of the expatriates are executives in foreign-invested companies.

"The new rule," said Nguyen Xuan Dao, chief executive at the Hanoi-based developer Vietnam Property, "will not only attract more investment in quality property projects but also boost demand from foreigners and create more opportunities for locals to trade in real estate."

The proposal allows foreign owners to sell without restrictions and use the property as collateral for bank loans in Vietnam but forbids them from renting the home.

In Vietnam, the state owns the land but gives infinite freehold to its citizens.

Property markets are on the rise across Asia, fueled by cash-rich investors looking for higher returns, the booming economies of China and India and the emergence of Japan from over a decade of economic stagnation.

Since India eased rules on investment in the construction sector, foreign property funds have flocked in, helping to double property prices in major cities since 2005.

Home prices in Singapore have seen their biggest gains in over seven years, led by strong buying of luxury properties by foreigners.

About a quarter of the 81,000 expatriates currently living in Vietnam would be eligible to buy houses, said the director of the Housing Management Administration, Nguyen Manh Ha.

"House ownership will help expatriates cut living cost significantly," Ha was quoted as saying by state media Monday.

Last year, the consulting firm Mercer ranked Hanoi the world's 32nd most expensive city for expatriates, mainly for high rents that could go up to $3,000 per month for a three-bedroom serviced apartment.

Real estate prices, especially condominiums in big cities like Ho Chi Minh City, have gone up about 50 percent in the past year due to limited supply, with most new projects sold before they are built.

Royal Caribbean anchors in Asia

2007-07-30 14:20:47 Source : Moneycontrol.com

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCCL), one of the world's largest cruise companies operating 35 cruise ships, announced the opening in Singapore of their Asia-Pacific headquarters – Royal Caribbean Cruises (Asia) Pte. Ltd.

The regional headquarters, which is located in Singapore’s central business district, will support the marketing efforts in Asia-Pacific for three of the company’s cruise brands: Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara Cruises. Headed by Rama Rebbapragada, Managing Director for Asia Pacific, Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., the office also will provide sales and trade support in the region.

“Our expansion to the Asia-Pacific region is an integral part of our international business development and growth strategy, and it is an increasingly exciting time to be here,” said Rebbapragada. “We will have Royal Caribbean International’s Rhapsody of the Seas, the largest ship plying the region, homeported here starting the end of this year and we are committed to another Asia homeporting season in 2008-09, offering holiday-makers here our unique and award-winning active cruising experience.”

“I am delighted that the Rhapsody of the Seas is set to make its Asian debut in December 2007. The Rhapsody of the Seas will give an opportunity to those who have already been on a Royal Caribbean cruise, as well as first time cruise vacation seekers - to experience a dream vacation of their choice”, adds Gautam Chadha, Chief Executive, Tirun Travel Marketing who have represented Royal Caribbean International in India since 1993. He added, “The opening of the Singapore regional office is a definitive sign of Royal Caribbean’s belief and enthusiasm of the potential of the Asia-Pacific region and within the region, India will be a major source market”.

With the number of cruise passengers in the Asia-Pacific region projected to grow by more than 40 per cent, from 1.07 million in 2005 to 1.5 million by 2010, the opening of RCCL’s Asia- Pacific regional office is strategically timed. Fuelled by the twin engines of rapid economic growth and a renewed interest in cruising from key source markets in the region, Royal Caribbean International’s range of cruise offerings is well-placed to take advantage of a tremendous upswing in cruising.

Royal Caribbean Anchors in Asia:

Building on RCCL’s success and expertise in the North American and European markets, the Asia-Pacific office will spearhead the company’s expansion plans in the region. In addition to the regional headquarters in Singapore, the company has also established a representative office in Shanghai to support growing demand for itineraries in the Asia-Pacific region.

“This region shows great growth potential in terms of providing new destinations for international cruise passengers from North America and Europe given the varied and exciting cultures throughout the region, and their accessibility along the coastline. This, coupled with the prospect of Asian markets being substantial source markets for new cruise passengers, gives us tremendous opportunity for growth in the region,” said Adam Goldstein, president of Royal Caribbean International.

The establishment of the Royal Caribbean Asia-Pacific office also complements recent efforts that have been made to grow the cruise industry in Singapore. In 2005, the Singapore Cruise Centre underwent a $5 million facelift that aimed to strengthen its position as the nerve centre for the cruise industry in Asia. The Cruise Centre is expected to attract 1.2 million cruise passengers to Singapore by 2010. The Singapore Tourism Board also administers a $10 million fund set up jointly with the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore and the Singapore Cruise Centre to boost the local cruise industry and encourage major international cruise companies to partner with Singapore in product development and marketing initiatives.

In December 2007, Royal Caribbean International’s Rhapsody of the Seas will debut in Singapore. The Rhapsody will be the largest ship to cruise in Asia and will offer travellers a selection of six short cruises that will range from two to five nights and call at the tropical ports of Kuala Lumpur (Port Klang) and Penang, Malaysia, as well as the exotic sun-soaked islands of Langkawi, Malaysia; and Phuket, Thailand.

Rhapsody of the Seas also will offer three spectacular 12-night voyages between Singapore and Hong Kong, each featuring two-day calls in Bangkok (Laemchabang), Thailand and Hanoi Haiphong, Vietnam. The extended itinerary includes calls at Sihanoukville, Cambodia; and Saigon Vung Tau, Nha Trang and Hue Danang, Vietnam.

The ship’s Asia tour continues on from Hong Kong, where she will arrive in time for the Chinese New Year holiday season, offering a series of itineraries calling at the ports of Okinawa, Japan; Taipei Keelung and Kaohsiung, Taiwan; and Sanya, China. Then moving to Shanghai, China, Rhapsody will call on ports in Japan and Korea.

Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. is a global cruise vacation company that operates Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara Cruises and Pullmantur.The company has a combined total of 35 ships in service and six under construction. It also offers unique land-tour vacations in Alaska, Australia, Canada, Europe and Latin America. Royal Caribbean Cruises is represented in India by TIRUN Travel Marketing.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Aabar acquires offshore oil block in Vietnam

aabar acquires stake in block 07 & 08/97 offshore southern vietnam


aabar acquires stake in block 07 & 08/97 offshore southern vietnam
Aabar Petroleum Investments Company PJSC (“Aabar”) announces that its wholly owned subsidiary, PearlOil (Ophiolite) Limited, has entered into a binding agreement to acquire a 15% working interest from Vietnam American Exploration Company LLC (“VAMEX”) in the production sharing contract for Block 07 & 08/97, offshore southern Vietnam. The agreement is subject to government approval.

Block 07 & 08/97 covers an area of 4,915 square kilometres and is located at the southern margin of the Nam Con Son Basin. It lies on a trend of oil and gas discoveries including BP’s producing gas fields at Lan Tay and Lan Do. The block is adjacent to the Aabar-operated Block 06/94 signed earlier this year.

The area has been little explored in recent years due to the moratorium related to the territory boundary line between Vietnam and Indonesia, which was resolved in 2003.
On government approval for a previous farm-out agreement, VAMEX will hold a 55% working interest in Block 07 & 08/97 and Premier Oil Vietnam South B.V. (“Premier”) will hold the remaining 45% as well as operatorship of the block. On formal completion of Aabar’s acquisition, Aabar, VAMEX and Premier will hold 15%, 40% and 45% respectively.

“We are delighted to be entering this highly prospective contract area and look forward to working with VAMEX and renewing our partnership with Premier, which has demonstrated its knowledge of the exploration play in the Nam Con Son Basin with its recent discoveries in Block 12E. We are very pleased with our progress in Vietnam so far and with the encouragement provided by PetroVietnam. Aabar looks forward to the continued growth of our portfolio in the country,” said Chris Gibson-Robinson, Aabar’s Vice President Operations and New Business Development (Southeast Asia).

Aabar is an oil and gas exploration, production and drilling company headquartered in Abu Dhabi and is a public joint stock company listed on the Abu Dhabi Securities Market. Aabar has two divisions, Dalma Energy, which is focused on drilling operations, and Pearl Energy, which is engaged in exploration and production in Southeast Asia. Aabar’s net working interest production currently stands at more 20,000 barrels of oil per day from four fields in Indonesia and Thailand. The group plans to drill 10-15 exploration wells in 2007.
VAMEX is an international oil and gas exploration company with operations in Vietnam and Peru and a wholly owned subsidiary of UK-based Pitkin Petroleum Limited.
Premier Oil Vietnam South B.V. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Premier Oil plc, an independent oil and gas company with producing interests in the UK, Indonesia, and Pakistan.