Metro Pacific Investments to buy 49% of Tuan Loc Construction

The Metro Pacific Investments Corporation (MPIC), the owner of 44.94 per cent of a subsidiary of the Ho Chi Minh City Infrastructure Investment JSC (CII), will buy a 49 per cent stake in the Tuan Loc Construction Investment Corporation to expand its operations in Vietnam. PIC, through its subsidiary MetroPac Water Investments Corporation (MPW), signed the purchase agreement to buy the 49 per cent stake in Tuan Loc, one of the largest water supply systems builders in the country. The deal is valued at $38 million and the transaction is expected to be completed on June 30.

Construction of Ninh Thuan solar farm nears

The Power Solution Technologies Public Company Limited (PSTC) from Thailand and the Vietnam Electrical Equipment JSC (Gelex) have accelerated procedures to kick off the construction of the Gelex solar farm in the south-central province of Ninh Thuan this month. The solar plant will have total investment capital of VND1.24 trillion ($54.36 million) and cover an area of 70 ha in Thuan Nam district. It is one of 18 projects with investment planning the Ninh Thuan Provincial People’s Committee approved last November. Construction is expected to be completed in May 2019 and the plant will begin to generate commercial power one month later, with a capacity of 82 million kWh per year.

Observatory in Hanoi to run pilot from June

Vietnam’s second observatory, located at the Hoa Lac Hi-Tech Park in Hanoi, will begin running under a pilot program from June. Like the Nha Trang Observatory, the Astronomical Observatory in Hanoi has a 0.5 meter diameter optical telescope, a cosmic projection screen with a 12 meter diameter dome, and a museum of the cosmos showing a variety of models related to space, satellites, physics, and astronomy.

360,000 jobs created in Q1

Some 358,000 jobs were created in the first quarter of 2018, according to a report from the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs. There were 330,000 jobs created for workers locally, equal to 97.3 per cent of the same period last year, while 28,000 workers were sent aboard, a year-on-year increase of 20 per cent.

EC ends investigation of hand pallet truck imports

The European Commission (EC) has decided to stop an anti-dumping investigation of hand pallet trucks imported from Vietnam, the Vietnam Trade Office in Belgium reported. In an announcement, the EC said there was no circumvention of anti-dumping measures on the products and decided to cease the investigation. The investigation, which began on July 19, 2017, aimed to determine if the import of hand pallet trucks and their parts, including chassis and hydraulics, into the EU circumvented regulations. It was conducted following a petition from PR Industrial SRL and Toyota Material Handling Europe.

Lotte mulls over opening more stores

South Korean retail giant Lotte is considering whether to open more stores in major Vietnamese cities, including the capital Hanoi and the southern economic hub of Ho Chi Minh City. Hotel Lotte Co., a hotel and duty-free operator of Lotte, said the operating profit of its duty-free unit plummeted to a record low in 2017 amid a diplomatic row between South Korea and China over a US missile defense system. Lotte Duty Free’s operating income was $2.4 million in 2017.

Itochu picks up additional 10% stake in Vinatex

The Japan-based Itochu has bought an additional 10 per cent stake in the Vietnam National Textile and Garment Group (Vinatex) for $47 million, in a bid to turn Vietnam into a textile export hub for Europe. The investment comes as the Southeast Asian country has joined the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) with ten other countries and is set to sign a free trade agreement with the EU this year. The country’s accelerated integration will open up access to major markets and become an alternative as a manufacturing hub to China, where labor costs are climbing. With the latest stake purchase, the Japanese company has increased its holding in Vinatex to nearly 15 per cent, becoming the second-largest stakeholder after the Vietnamese Government.