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| Tuoitrenews | Apr 27, 2012 14:05 pm
Vietnamese firms have expanded their foothold in neighboring Laos with a total investment of $3.45 billion in 212 projects, mainly in hydropower, mining, agriculture and forestry.
Currently, Vietnam’s investments have been poured into 16 out of Laos’ 17 provinces, mainly in the greatest-potential and key economic sectors of the country, Dau Tu newspaper reported.
As of March 31, 2012, some outstanding projects included the Laos-Vietnam Joint Venture Bank; Hoang Anh Gia Lai Joint Stock Co’s rubber growing project; sugarcane and rubber projects of the Vietnam Rubber Industry Group; and Dak Lak Co’s rubber growing project.
In the finance, banking and insurance sectors, Vietnamese enterprises have nine projects worth nearly $82 million, accounting for 2.3 per cent of Vietnam’s total investment capital in Laos.
They include large financial groups such as Bank for Investment and Development of Vietnam (BIDV), Saigon Thuong Tin Commercial Joint Stock Bank (Sacombank), Military Commercial Joint Stock Bank (MB), and Vietnam Commercial Joint Stock Bank of Industry and Trade (VietinBank).
Other joint ventures are the Laos-Vietnam Insurance Co, Post Insurance Joint Stock Co, PetroVietnam Insurance Co and Lanexang Securities Public Co – a joint venture between the Sacombank Securities Joint Stock Company and the Lao Development Bank (LDB).
However, there are still many projects, around one-third of licensed ones, that are either pending or have been delayed.
Vietnam is now Laos’ second biggest foreign investor.
Vietnamese firms invested nearly $500 million in 15 licensed projects in Laos last year.
As of December 31, 2011, Vietnam committed a total of $10.8 billion of investment in 627 projects in 55 countries and territories around the world, according to the Foreign Investment Agency (FIA) under the Ministry of Planning and Investments.
Laos tops the list as the most appealing investment destination, followed by Cambodia with $2.1 billion and Venezuela with $1.8 billion.
Other countries attracting large-scale investment from Vietnam include Russia, Peru, Malaysia, and Mozambique, ranging from $345 to $776 million.
In 2011, Vietnam authorized 75 outbound investment projects in 26 countries and territories, and adjusted investment capital for 33 investment projects, said FIA.
New outbound investments in 2012 are expected to reach $2.12 billion, with large-scale projects in the energy and communication sectors in areas targeted by the government.
Tran Bac Ha, chair of the management board of BIDV, recently revealed that the bank has planned to hike chartered capital in the Laos-Vietnam Joint Venture Bank (LVB) from $35 million to $70 million in May, 2012.
At the same time, the bank would open new branch in Luong Prabang Province before August 2012.
Previously, BIDV and the Banque pour le Commerce Exterieur Lao (BCEL) had cooperated to establish LVB in June, 1999 with initial chartered capital of $10 million.