Playing as FECON chairman and CEO for eight years might not be enough to consider Pham Viet Khoa a typical Vietnamese businessman.
But based on the achievements of FECON Foundation Engineering and Underground Construction JSC, people admire his leadership. He said that it is the differentiation helping FECON find its position.
Despite tough economic time, is business still very good?
Economic difficulties have had a little impact on FECON business activities because we have weighed the pros and cons and found our differentiation. Therefore, business result is guaranteed.
Could you please clarify this differentiation?
We have chosen a range of distinctive activities from the beginning specialising in foundation engineering construction. This is the stage that any constructions have to be done, but not many companies can create a reputation in this area. Hence, in spite of a newborn company, FECON can gain a sustainable position if we do the best.
Also we have determined that FECON provides a comprehensive solution from soil investigation, foundation testing, designing, manufacturing to construction, monitoring and maintenance, etc. This approach helps not only FECON increase revenue, but also the investors reduce cost.
Is it required that FECON must be strong in finance, technology and brainpower to provide comprehensive solutions for foundation works?
Initially, FECON was a small and inexperienced company lacking capital and human resource. However, we have thought of ways to make our business grow as quickly as possible.
On the one hand, in every project, we have cooperated with foreign partners such as Japan and the Netherland. We have done all small or extra work quite seriously. Therefore, FECON have created prestige with partners and accumulated experiences.
On the other hand, we are increasingly calling for investment. The asset growing rate of FECON is largely due to purchases of recent machinery and technology.
Until now, FECON is proud to be a leading company in northern market in respect to pre-stressed concrete spun piles and has no rival in soft soil improvement thanks to the application of vacuum preloading method all over the country.
Many competitors can also do similar business and compete directly with FECON. What are you doing to keep customers’ attention?
In the market mechanism, we are always aware of the fierce market competition, especially today economic downturn. We made efforts to create the differentiation and will continuously create differences in products, solution packages and services to strengthen our position and grow stronger.
Is the future goal of FECON not only in foundation engineering, but also in underground construction field?
We are in a position to participate in the underground construction field. For instance, our engineers have extensive experience in soft soil improvement as well as expertise in geotechnical engineering and foundation construction. However, we still have to prepare more in capital, expertise and relationships. Approximately from 2015, FECON will embrace on underground construction.
When deploying underground construction, how will business of FECON change?
It helps increase not only revenue, but also our profit rate. The lowest level of growing revenue added underground construction is expectedly doubled.
Is this business field attractive for many units to be likely to participate?
Yes, it is, but this field is difficult and risky. Furthermore, the necessary condition is human capacity, the sufficient one is bravery to do and take risk. FECON is planning to build the human capacity in 2015, in parallel with the preparation of financial capacity and technology.
Is the three year ago establishment of the Foundation Engineering Institute one of the preparations?
When deciding to establish the Foundation Engineering Institute with nearly 50 experts who are leading professors, doctors and masters we want to focus more on research and development, and human resource training.
The Institute will also help FECON promote international cooperation and ensure the optimal choice of technology based on economic conditions and natural conditions of our country.
Spending much on investment, would you have to take mobilised capital into account?
Yes, absolutely. Currently, many FECON members are operating as joint ventures with shared interest. In each small project, FECON has implemented in the form of partnership, this is an effective way to call for funds and mobilise external capacity. But in the long-term, especially when FECON focuses more on underground construction, we need to raise more capital to boost our capacity in implementing major projects and procuring modern technology.
Is being listed one of the ways to call for capital?
Yes, it is. We hope the investors will pay more attention to FECON shares (FCN).
How open you are to the investors?
As for me, there is no limitation. The investors can join capital as well as manage in FECON.
When FECON develop to some extent, are you worried about your position in the company?
No, I am not. I always reckon that I am doing the mission that shareholders and staff assigned. When they still believe, I still have task to do. If they do not need me anymore one day, that means my capacity has its limitation.
As a technician, do you have any difficulties in management?
I have some. But technical knowledgement helps me be more confident of giving decision and communicating with partners and customers about professtional issues.
Do you manage in assigning or taking control?
I can assign if possible. But I have to take control and manage if it is important and concerned with prestige and property of the company
Why are most of FECON customers the enterprises with foreign investment capital and ODA-funded projects?
Performing these projects helps us have a lot of experiences and more importantly think of their payment ability to guarantee the good cash flow. As for me, revenue and profit growth will not mean anything unless you collect the money.
Do you thing whether you will miss the opportunites if too careful?
I need to grasp the opportunities. However, I am always cautious with high profit figures because I know together with high profit is high risk which we do not want.
After eight years in leader position, what do you understand thoroughly?
I have to do with all my heart and a long-term vision.
You are getting harder and harder with your leader position. What have you been absorbing?
I have sacrified a lot but when getting achievement and success, I am really happy. These are biggest price and best motivation for me to continue contributing.