VN roundup: MWG, Rang Dong, Samsung

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Vietnam is seeing improvement of investment flow in both public and private areas. Mobile World, one of the country’s leading retailer of mobile devices, has once again attracted a foreign large investor. Samsung Electronics said it would retain the investment plan in spite of recent declining operational profits. Meanwhile, the public facility project of Phan Thiet Airport has found an investor.

NTAsia Discover becomes Mobile World’s fourth foreign shareholder

NTAsia Discover Master Fund, on January 19, purchased another round of 700,000 shares of Vietnamese electronic device provider Mobile World Group (MWG) to increase its holding to 5.55 per cent and become one of the group’s four large foreign stakeholders.

The Bangkok-based fund and Mekong Capital, CDH Electric Bee and Mutual Fund Elite have a combined stake of 45.9 per cent in MWG.

With the closing price of VND120,000 ($5.6) on Wednesday, MWG’s capitalisation is valued at $629.1 million, and the shares owned by NTAsia Discover are estimated to be worth $35 million.

NTAsia Discover is run by NT Asset, a boutique fund management company that focuses on long-only investment. Meanwhile, despite being listed for only six months, MWG shares have gained more than 50 per cent and become a market  favourite.

Rang Dong Group seals deal for Phan Thiet airport project

Domestic Rang Dong Group is to construct Phan Thiet Airport under the build, operate, and transfer model in the central province of Binh Thuan, the first of its kind in the country’s civil aviation sector.

Last week, chairman of the Binh Thuan Provincial People’s Committee Le Tien Phuong signed the approval of the tender result for the construction of the $263.2 million airport.

Accordingly, Phan Thiet Airport is scheduled to be put into operation in 2018. Once finished, the infrastructure developer will be licensed to exploit business opportunities here for a period of 81 years.

Situated in Phan Thiet city, the airport will cover 543 hectares, and will be developed to meet International Civil Aviation Organisation 4C grade standards. It will be capable of receiving ATR72-600, F70, BAE146-300, and Bombardier size planes.

Director of Rang Dong Group Nguyen Van Dong told VIR that the company was keen to invest in the airport to bolster investment in the local projects including, hotels and a golf course.

Phuong said the airport would spur the province’s socio-economic development by enhancing its investment attractiveness, luring more new projects, and accelerating the implementation of registered projects.

The airport will also boost tourism by cutting the travel times to the popular holiday destination. Furthermore, Binh Thuan has great potential for mining and energy. With titanium reserves of 600 million tonnes, Song Binh and Thang Hai industrial zones are calling for investment in titanium processing.

The province also boasts thermal power, hydropower, and wind power, promoting its importance as a national power production hub.

“Investment flows will contribute to Binh Thuan’s economic restructuring in tourism, titanium processing and energy,” said Nguyen Duc Hoa, director of the Binh Thuan Provincial Department of Planning and Investment.

Rang Dong Group, which was founded in 1991, operates in tourism, traffic infrastructure, golf courses, mining, forest plantation, and real estate trading. The group currently operates Ocean Vista Apartments in Mui Ne’s Sea Links City.

Samsung’s investments upheld amid profit drop

Despite the fifth consecutive quarter of declining operating profits, Samsung Electronics remains committed to its multi-billion dollar investment plan in Vietnam- company’s largest  manufacturing base in the world.

“There is no change in our investment plan,” Han Myoung Sup, executive vice president of Samsung Electronics and also the newly-appointed president of global strategy & operations in Vietnam, told VIR, last week when asked about the impact of the fall in profits. “Regarding the profit drop, we’ll try to fix it. Actually, we’ve been trying to resolve the issue,” he said.

Samsung Electronics recently announced that the firm estimated operating profit for the fourth quarter of 2014 would reach $4.7 billion, a drop of about 37 per cent from last year. The company is grappling with increased competition in its core smartphone business.

Samsung also estimated that its sales for the quarter were likely to fall about 12 per cent year-on-year, to $47 billion. This estimate means that the company expects to report its fifth consecutive quarter of declining operating profits, after a record five quarters of profits.

Amid the increasing competition of rivals such as Xiaomi, Huawei, Apple, Sony, and Microsoft, Han said he believed the Vietnam manufacturing base would play a pivotal role in the South Korean electronics firm’s efforts to enhance competitiveness.

At present, Samsung has two operating manufacturing complexes in Thai Nguyen and Bac Ninh. Last year, it manufactured around 150 million electronic products in Vietnam, generating around $28 billion in export revenue.

The appointment of Han, one of Samsung Electronics’ top executives, to Vietnam indicates how confident the firm is about its activities in Vietnam. Just a few months ago, Samsung received an investment certificate to build a new $3 billion factory in Thai Nguyen province which will be a part of its plan for manufacturing full-metal body smartphones.

Since starting its first mobile phone factory in Bac Ninh province in 2007, Samsung Electronics has gradually expanded its investment in Vietnam. According to statistics from the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI), Samsung Electronics committed to invest $12.6 billion across Bac Ninh, Thai Nguyen, and Ho Chi Minh City.

If all the under-negotiation projects in Vietnam are successfully developed, Samsung’s total investment in the country will reach $20 billion, according to the MPI.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.