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|Projects with disappeared investors will soon incur official operation termination|
In the first half of May 2018 alone, competent management agencies in Ho Chi Minh City issued a series of announcements to track down foreign investment projects which have been stalling for years with no information about the project owners.
The most noteworthy projects are Samoan investor Weita, Ventron Technologies Vietnam and Maxrob from the US, Thermatech Vietnam (a joint venture with an Australian investor), Taiwanese Taa Wieu, and C&N from the Philippines, to name but a few.
Besides Ho Chi Minh City, many localities have started looking for investors whose projects have seen virtually no progress for years now.
In late March 2018, the Hoa Binh Industrial Zones Management Authority announced searching for BTG Holding, the developer of the Czech Brewery and Lac Thinh Industrial Zone (IZ).
According to the authorities, Czech Brewery was licensed in late October 2012 and temporarily stopped operations in October 2017. There was no more information about the developer.
Czech Brewery once dominated the local press as it was the largest foreign investment project in Hoa Binh province at the time.
As scheduled, the developer wanted to build a brewery with an annual capacity of 190 million litres with the total capital value of EUR86 million ($101 million) to serve the Vietnamese market and export to South Korea, Japan, and China.
The project’s first phase broke ground in late 2013. According to the plan at the time, the construction would start after the ground-breaking ceremony to turn out the first products in 2015. Then, BTG Holding will begin the construction of a thermal power plant valued at EUR100 million ($118 million) and an auto component manufacturing plant valued at EUR200 million ($236 million).
The ambitious investment plan, however, never made it farther than paper.
|Under current regulations, the project will be officially terminated unless the investors contact the relevant management bodies within 90 days of the issuance of announcements requesting their presence.|
“Last October we drew up the papers to confirm the project’s termination. In fact, we had no information about the project investor for a long time,” said an official working at Hoa Binh IZ Management Authority.
Meanwhile, the 220ha and EUR45 million ($53 million) Lac Thinh IZ project kicked off construction in late 2013 before the ground-breaking ceremony of the brewery project. Since then the project saw almost no progress.
A raft of FDI projects are in a similar situation. If nothing changes, they will be officially terminated in the coming time as under current regulations the projects will be officially terminated unless the investors contact the relevant management bodies within 90 days of the issuance of announcements requesting their presence.
In reality, compared to more than 25,500 on-going FDI projects at present, the number of foreign invested projects where investors have absconded is not large. Notwithstanding, this situation has brought to the fore the question of how Vietnam can effectively control FDI projects post-licensing.