Marubeni unveils major expansion plans in Vietnam

By Minh Huong    January 24, 2019 | 06:52 pm PT
Marubeni unveils major expansion plans in Vietnam
A sign of Marubeni Corporation is seen at the company's head office in Tokyo July 27, 2009. Reuters/Stringer
Marubeni Corporation, one of the biggest Japanese investors in Vietnam, is seeking to expand into new industries in this country.

Kaoru Iwasa, the company’s regional CEO for ASEAN & Southwest Asia, told Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung during a meeting Thursday that Marubeni is interested in partnering with Vietnamese firms to enter new sectors.

He listed trading, power generation, liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects, producing water for households, and wastewater treatment.

Marubeni is a major player in Vietnam, with interests in thermal power plants like Nghi Son 2, in which it is an investor, and Thai Binh 2, in which it is an engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contractor.

The group is also engaged in export-import of coal, fisheries, coffee, grain and petrochemicals, and production of food and textiles.

In its latest move Tuesday, it announced the setting up of a wholly-owned containerboard manufacturing company, Kraft of Asia Paperboard & Packaging Co, at the Phu My 3 Specialized Industrial Park in the southern province of Ba Ria - Vung Tau.

All necessary permits have been obtained and construction of the plant would begin immediately, Marubeni said in a release. It targets commercial operations by 2020 with an annual capacity of 350,000 tons.

Apart from rising worldwide containerboard demand due to economic and e-commerce growth, Marubeni said demand in Vietnam is also forecast to grow significantly in line with the steady rise in national income.

The firm estimated demand in Vietnam to be growing at more than 10 percent annually, higher than in Thailand, Indonesia and many other countries.

Deputy Prime Minister Dung told Iwasa he hoped Marubeni, which already considers Vietnam one of its business hubs, would expand further by taking advantage of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, of which Japan and Vietnam are among the 11 members. The deal came into force on January 14, 2019.

He said Vietnam wants Japan to invest in such fields as infrastructure, energy, electronics, automobiles, agricultural machinery, fisheries processing, high-tech agriculture, and environment.

Japan is Vietnam’s biggest provider of official development assistance, the second biggest investor, the third biggest tourism market and the fourth biggest trade partner of Vietnam.

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