EurOrient, a US-based private investment banking group, is planning to invest around US$1 billion a year in Viet Nam to make the most of the opportunities offered by the country’s strong economic growth and recent WTO membership.
Chairman and CEO Ron Nechemia spoke with the Vietnam Economic Times about his firm’s hopes and expectations.
Reporter: How does EurOrient differ from other investment funds?
|EurOrient Chairman and CEO Ron Nechemia|
Mr. Ron Nechemia:We’re quite different. Most investment funds are interested only in money-making ventures whereas EurOrient is keen on the possible social benefits too. We aim to support economic development and the community at the same time.
It’s true that profit is our goal, but in our case our profitability manifests itself in economic and social growth. Therefore, we invest in private and state projects in both developed and developing countries.
EurOrient doesn’t want to just invest money but also to be closely involved in technical and technological assistance and human resource development.
Our main interests are infrastructure, the environment, energy and finance.
EurOrient has invested billions of dollars in China. Will you do things on the same scale in Viet Nam?
We began studying the Vietnamese market two years ago and only finished our investment plan three months ago. Viet Nam has opportunities in the private and public domains.
The Vietnamese economy’s strong growth behind China has aroused our interest and we predict Viet Nam will keep growing in the future. In order to reach its economic growth target, Viet Nam needs rich resources of personnel to develop infrastructure, which is a base for economic development.
We plan to invest US$1 billion in three or four projects each year in the form of share investment, debt investment or a combination of both. Sectors of priority include energy, infrastructure, ports, transportation, post and telecommunications, and financial services.
EurOrient is very keen on the Long Thanh Airport project in Dong Nai Province, gas and petroleum distribution, and telecommunications. EurOrient will put 25-30 percent of its capital into each area in Viet Nam.
For the time being, what projects will EurOrient fund in Viet Nam?
In Viet Nam, our top priority is financial services as the country is attempting to modernize its finance and banking industry, which is rather basic and undercapitalized. It’s a great opportunity for foreign investors like us.
The Vietnamese financial market is partitioned rather clearly so it is very advantageous for investors; this accounts for the recent presence of many foreign financial institutions in Viet Nam.
We will announce our financial projects in a few weeks. However, there are five projects under consideration and we will likely sign contracts for one or two of them soon. The next project might be in clean energy. EurOrient won’t support projects that don’t satisfy international or national environmental standards.
We will also form a joint venture with a local partner, with EurOrient owning 70 percent, and invest US$120 million to build a wind-generated power plant with a capacity of 120 megawatts.
Looking further down the track, EurOrient is planning to open a branch here and recruit Vietnamese people to work for us.