Australia engages with projects across sectors

April 10, 2024 | 09:46
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A surge in Australian investment is expected to hit Vietnam following the elevation of the Vietnam-Australia relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership.
Australia engages with projects across sectors
Groups like Mavin have already pumped substantial sums into Vietnam, photo Le Toan

Corio Generation, a portfolio company of Macquarie Asset Management, is keen on the potential of Vietnam’s offshore market, as shared by the company’s leader at a meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Tran Hong Ha on March 28.

Early last month, the company signed an MoU with Power Generation JSC 3, a subsidiary of Vietnam Electricity. Under the MoU, both parties agree to collaborate in preparing long-term strategies for offshore wind project development.

Corio has engaged in the research and development of some renewable energy projects in Vietnam since 2019. As a member of the Glasgow Financial Alliance for Net Zero, the company is teaming up with other partners to mobilise resources for energy transition projects in Vietnam.

Coiro Generation is among various Australian investors eager to expand their operation in Vietnam following the major upgrade of the Vietnam and Australia relationship.

David Whitehead, chairman of agrifood group Mavin Group, an Australian-invested enterprise headquartered in Hanoi, believes that there will be greater opportunities for both Australian and Vietnam businesses to develop trade and investment to mutual benefit.

“In the future, we will be looking at rationalising our business lines, expanding our research and development capability, extending our digitalisation programme and focusing on export potential, while growing our circular agriculture model within Vietnam,” Whitehead said. “The post-pandemic period has been difficult for business, but companies like Mavin have become adaptable and resilient in the face of adversity, surviving and sewing the seeds for a sustainable future.”

Since its establishment in Vietnam in 2004, Mavin has invested $100 million with total assets of more than $250 million. Mavin’s plans are to look at consolidating its assets, reducing its manufacturing costs, and being prudent about further investment in 2024.

In 2025, the group will look at developing its export markets, particularly into Australia and Europe and the United States.

Meanwhile, there is also a bright outlook for Australian financial firms expanding into Vietnam. Ranjit Thambyrajah, managing director of Australian financial firm Acuity Funding, noted, “The elevation of the bilateral relationship between Vietnam and Australia is poised to trigger a new wave of Australian investments in Vietnam across various sectors. This upgraded partnership signifies a deepening of ties and cooperation, providing a conducive environment for enhanced economic collaboration.”

Australian investors can utilise opportunities to expand their presence in Vietnam and contribute to the bilateral relationships strengthening, he added.

“The areas that Australian funders can focus on but not limited to include infrastructure, education, renewable energy, agriculture, logistics, healthcare, and technology. The interest in Australia has always been great. It is not the demand that has been the challenge, but rather the Australian funder’s ability to understand the business procedures and culture of Vietnam,” Thambyrajah said.

Acuity Funding’s private debt allocation of $100 billion will assist Vietnam in preparing for the new strategic partnerships with Australia and other countries by focusing on several key areas, including infrastructure development, technological advancement, and trade facilitation.

Meanwhile, Australian Development Investments (ADI) last December approved A$43,000 ($29,300) for the Vietnam-based lender F88 to design and test loan products that are suitable for female customers.

With ADI’s support, F88 will undergo company-wide gender equality in business training and update policies to enable women employees to rise into middle and senior management.

Sam Conroy, newly-elected president of the Board of Directors at the Australian Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam, told VIR, “In recent years, Vietnam has become an attractive destination for Australian businesses – not just as a market of high consumption but also as an emerging hub for industrial manufacturing and high-tech services.”

The elevation of the bilateral relationship will enhance the existing momentum and bring an even more robust capital flow to Vietnam from Australia, Conroy added.

“The Australian government is committed to promoting market access and trade facilitation for both countries, including agriculture, fisheries, and forestry. Australians have established a thriving business community in Vietnam where we support each other with education, connection, and advocacy.”

Imports of Australian products to Vietnam have been continually increasing over the years, and more Australian companies are setting up factories and processing facilities here thanks to the central and provincial governments’ inviting policies and upgraded infrastructure, Conroy said.

As of March 2024, Australia was the 20th largest foreign investor in Vietnam, with more than $2 billion in 636 projects. The total registered capital for new, adjusted, contributed capital, and share purchases by Australian investors reached $3.12 million in the first three months of 2024, an increase of 29.4 per cent compared to the same period in 2022, according to the latest data by the Ministry of Planning and Investment.

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Deputy Prime Minister Tran Hong Ha received Australian Ambassador to Vietnam Andrew Goledzinowski and leaders of Corio Generation of Australia’s Macquarie Group in Hanoi on March 28.

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The Vietnamese government is placing huge investment into developing the Mekong Delta region. Ciaran Chestnutt, deputy consul-general of the Australian Consulate-General in Ho Chi Minh City, spoke with VIR’s Hoang Oanh about the Australian government’s commitment to supporting the region.

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Australian industries and businesses are taking a close-up approach to the Vietnamese market through establishment of the Australian Industry Hub Vietnam (AusHub). VIR’s Bich Ngoc talked with AusHub manager Edwin Law on his assessment of the platform after a year of operation.

By Thanh Van

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