Southeast Asian Regional Roundup of Business News
Among some of the news stories to come out of the 10 nations that make up Southeast Asia, other than Thailand, we cover three in particular.
From CAMBODIA comes the news that the China Railway International Group has expressed an interest in looking at the feasibility of investing in the construction of railroads in Cambodia. This was reported by the Cambodian Ministry of Commerce. The statement followed a meeting between the Cambodian Commerce Minister, Sun Chanthol, and the president of the China Railway International Group, Lu Bo.
China Railway International is the sixth largest state-owned enterprise in China with extensive experience in railway construction in China and elsewhere.
China Railway plans to explore the feasibility of constructing a railway in Cambodia on a Build-Operate-Transfer basis.
The company noted that railway construction would help reduce transportation costs in Cambodia.
In VIETNAM the government is considering proposals to raise foreign-ownership limits of listed companies since local enterprises are increasingly in need of foreign strategic investors for capital and expertise to expand internationally.
Foreign investors can hold a maximum 49 percent of a listed company’s stakes at present. A draft measure is proposing foreign investors be permitted to make “unlimited” investments in non-voting shares of public companies.
Among those keenly interested in the government policy changes is the Minh Phu Seafood Corporation, which sells black tiger shrimp to Costco Wholesale Corp. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. It plans to sell half of its business to foreign strategic investors in order to help fund offshore expansion.
The company is Vietnam’s largest seafood exporter by value and hopes to complete the stake sales during 2015 after it obtains approval to delist from the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange during the first quarter. The company aims to become a major global shrimp company by 2020.
Vietnam is one of the fastest-growing seafood exporters in the world, with shipments rising 18 percent to US$7.9 billion in 2014. Vietnam’s shrimp exports jumped 25 percent in 2014.
Shrimp prices hit a record last year due to a lack of global supply when diseases affected shrimp from Thailand.
From the PHILIPPINES & BRUNEI came information supplied by the Philippine Overseas Labour Office that Filipino migrant workers in Brunei are now guaranteed a monthly minimum wage of US$400. This minimum wage will apply to domestic workers, unskilled workers and semi-skilled workers.
Unskilled workers, as defined by the Philippine government are farm hands and labourers, while semi-skilled workers are defined as waiters, sales assistants, janitors, drivers, tailors and assistant cooks.
Skilled workers – carpenters, masons, plumbers, technicians, heavy machine operators, chefs, bakers and beauticians – will be entitled to a minimum $600 per month.