Vietnam has become a magnet to big Dutch firms and investors who are interested in many sectors in the country, especially through engaging in financial investment and state-owned enterprise equitisation.
|Many Dutch firms told Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc that they are willing to expand investment in Vietnam – photo VNA|
During his July 9-11 visit to the Netherlands, Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc met with many Dutch firms and investors who said the country is one of the most dynamic and fast-developing economies in Asia, with great potential for financial investment.
They expressed their wish to participate in Vietnam’s sectors of state-owned enterprise (SOE) equitisation, energy, climate change adaptation, and micro-finance.
The investors and firms include globally-famous investment equity management funds like Actiam N.V, Shell Pension, Orbit Asset Management, Pacific Spring, and Obam, as well as firms like NACO, Damen, Puma Energy, Vamed, and hundreds of others.
Arnold Bon, representative from Orbit Asset Management, said Orbit has invested in Vietnam’s financial market via VinaCapital, and will continue expanding its operations in Vietnam via co-operation with partnering organisations, individuals, and enterprises.
Tony Chan, co-founder of Pacific Spring, which specialises in supporting Asian investment funds to approach European partners, said that Pacific Spring wants to invest in Vietnam in the time to come – and like other firms, it hopes to receive support from Vietnam’s government.
Obam’s representative Erwin van Zuidam said that Obam is a long-term investor seeking well-performing firms with a sustainable business model in Vietnam, which it feels is an emerging market.
Actiam N.V’s general director Hans van Houwelingen and Shell Pension Fund’s investment consultant Jeroen Kakebeeke said their funds stand ready to pour a great deal of capital into the Vietnamese market, whose consumption and production are strongly rising.
Actiam N.V has $54.6 billion worth of assets and provides services about investment portfolio management and consultancy for individuals, organisations, and firms globally.
Meanwhile, the Shell Pension Fund, managed by Shell Group, has an asset volume of $35 billion, $27 billion of which comes from other funds from the UK, the Netherlands, and the US.
According to Dutch Deputy Prime Minister Lodewijck Asscher, Vietnam is seen by Dutch firms and investors as a “huge consumption market” with its population of 93 million people, fast-developing economy, and stable political climate.
Many other Dutch firms are also seeking to invest in projects in Vietnam.
Damen, a Netherlands-based global leader in shipbuilding, is seeking to complete its acquisition of a 70 per cent stake in Song Cam Shipbuilding JSC, the most profitable shipyard in Vietnam. The stake sale is still under governmental consideration.
Government-level co-operation deals inked:
– Memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the two governments and the World Bank Group on co-operation in food safety management in Vietnam.
– Letter of intent between the two governments on co-operation in facilitating and implementing large-scale sustainable projects for the Mekong Delta.
– MoU between Vietnam’s Ministry of Planning and Investment and the Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation on co-operation within the context of the “Development Related Infrastructure Investment Vehicle” programme.
Phuc asked Damen to expand its investment in Vietnam, and to soon decide on its investment in some shipbuilding firms in the country.
Puma Energy, whose asphalt factories have been operating in Vietnam for the past 20 years, already considers Vietnam a strategic market in Southeast Asia. It recently decided to participate in the equitisation of some Vietnamese SOEs, and expressed its desire to engage in that of Vietnam’s PV Oil. Phuc also suggested the firm co-operate with oil refineries in Vietnam.
NACO, one of the world’s leading airport consultancies, also wants to seek business opportunities in Vietnam, where a number of large airports are being developed.
Currently NACO is co-operating with Vietnam Aviation Agency by providing consulting on the upgrade and construction of new airports in the country. NACO particularly wishes to co-operate with the government to deploy an airport-based city model in Vietnam.
In calling upon Dutch firms to invest in Vietnam, the PM stressed, “Vietnam is creating the best conditions for all foreign private investment funds.”
He said that now is the best time for the Dutch to invest in Vietnam, where the stock and financial markets are flourishing. Many SOEs have and will be radically equitised, including big groups operating in the sectors of transport, airports, expressways, seaports, electricity, telecommunications, agriculture, and tourism. Vietnam has committed to removing barriers in many sectors, especially telecommunications, finance, and banking, whose foreign ownership limits have been and will continue to be lifted.
During Phuc’s visit to the Netherlands, 11 co-operation deals worth about $700 million were inked by enterprises from both nations. For example, Vinalines and Holland’s STC Group clinched a deal on training co-operation, while Xuan Thanh Group and BS Bull signed a co-operative agreement on climate change consultancy, agriculture, and renewable energy development.
As of June 20, 2017, the Dutch had 292 valid investment projects in Vietnam, registered at $7.97 billion, according to Vietnam’s Ministry of Planning and Investment.
By Nguyen Dat