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Vinamilk deal to go ahead

A Vinamilk carton on shelf at a corner store in Phnom Penh
A Vinamilk carton on shelf at a corner store in Phnom Penh last year. Hong Menea

Vinamilk deal to go ahead

Vietnam Dairy Product Joint-Stock Co, better-known to milk lovers as Vinamilk, was granted a licence on Monday to open a $23 million processing facility in Phnom Penh’s Special Economic Zone.

A statement to the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange released by the dairy giant on Monday says the Vietnamese Ministry for Planning and Investment issued Vinamilk with a mandatory overseas investment certificate.

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung delivered the licence to Vinamilk on Monday amid the 4th Cambodia-Vietnam conference on investment cooperation in Phnom Penh.

The deal has Vinamilk holding a 51 per cent share of the facility, and Cambodia’s Angkor Dairy Products Company Limited owning the remaining 49 per cent. The plant will produce 19 million litres of liquid milk, 64 million jars of yogurt and 80 million cans of condensed milk annually, according to the statement.

Manoj Nutchanart, general manager of BPC Trading, the local distributor of Vinamilk, said the license was one of the final details needed before construction on the facility starts.

“We expect the operation to be up and running in early 2015,” he said.

Tran Tu, trade attaché at the Vietnamese embassy in Phnom Penh, commended the deal, and said while much of the process is automated, the facility may provide up to 100 jobs.

“I hope in the future there will be more Vietnamese investment in Cambodia because there are many things to do, especially as we get closer to the Asean Economic Community 2015 deadline,” he said.

The embassy official also listed Vietnamese investment increases in Metphone, valued at $70 million, a $100 million increase in Cambodia Angkor Air and a $600 million investment increase in Vietnam Rubber Group as other notable additions to the cross-border trade.

Vinamilk’s 2013 third-quarter financial statement shows a $238 million after-tax profit, up from $196.8 million during the same period in 2012.

At the same conference where Vinamilk’s license was handed over, Prime Minister Hun Sen said Vietnamese investment in Cambodia had risen 250 per cent between 2012 and 2013.

Nguyen The Phuong, deputy minister of Planning and Investment of Vietnam, said at the conference that from 2009 to 2013, the Cambodian government had approved a total of 103 Vietnamese investment projects, for a total value of $2.9 billion.

Major Vietnamese investments are focused in agriculture and forestry (rubber plantations and rice), energy, banking, finance, insurance and telecommunications, according to the Vietnamese deputy prime minister.

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