Sunday, November 25, 2007

French firms say $80m deals done in Vietnam

HANOI: Two French companies said they had signed deals worth a total of about $80 million in the telecom and urban railway sectors at a business forum in Vietnam that ended Friday.

Alcatel-Lucent and International Consulting Engineers for Rail and Urban Transport (Systra) announced the contracts at a meeting in the capital of the fast-emerging economy, where officials pledged to further boost commerce.

“France will develop commerce, investment and financial cooperation with Vietnam,” Herve Novelli, France’s secretary of state for enterprises and foreign trade, said at the end of the two-day Forum ASEAN in Hanoi. “Economic and trade relations need to match bilateral historical and political ties,” he told media at the meeting of 200 businessmen and experts from France and the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

“Vietnam’s WTO (World Trade Organisation) membership is important for bilateral ties, and France is on Vietnam’s side to help the country modernise its economy,” he said.

International Consulting Engineers for Rail and Urban Transport (Systra) signed a 33-million-euro (48.8-million-dollar) consultation contract for an urban railway in Hanoi, the state-run Vietnam News Agency (VNA) reported.

The 12.5-kilometre (7.7-mile) route from downtown Hanoi to suburban Nhon will have both elevated and underground sections and 15 stations.

The project has an investment capital of 511.6 million euros, 280 million euros of which is funded by the French government, said the VNA report. The contract signed this week includes construction design and supervision, equipment supply and installation and project management.

Alcatel-Lucent, meanwhile, said it had signed contracts worth around 31 million dollars to provide telecoms equipment to improve landline, mobile telephone and Internet access in the country of 84 million people.

Under one deal, worth 22 million dollars with an investment corporation of Vietnam Post and Telecommunications (VNPT), it said it will provide high-tech switching equipment that will provide more than one million lines. afp