Italy’s ECA, Sace, has inked a co-operation agreement with Vietinbank, Vietnam’s second largest commercial bank, preparing ground for an anticipated increase in financial co-operation and project participation between the two countries. A statement from Sace reveals that the agreement with Vietinbank aims to encourage medium to long-term co-operation on transactions and the “financing of projects of mutual interest” through the exchange of information and “technical know-how”. Predicting that Italian exports to Vietnam could reach €1.4bn by 2018, Sace wants Italian companies to exploit further the economic growth, increasing investment and burgeoning consumer class the country is currently experiencing.
The agreement was signed between CEO of Vietinbank, Le Duc Tho, and senior global relationship manager at Sace, Camilla Cionini Visani, during Sace’s trade mission to Vietnam last week. Sace’s current portfolio of Vietnamese transactions amounts to US$260mn and is so far concentrated on major sectors such as oil and gas and the defence sector, with a view towards diversification.
Recent projects include a US$200mn guarantee for the construction of a refinery and petrochemical plant in the Thanh Hoa province: a joint venture between Nghi Son Refinery and the Petrochemical Limited Liability Company (NSRP). The Sace guarantee supports supply contracts awarded to over 20 Italian oil and gas SMEs.
A recent Sace study finds that European exporters have to compete against their Asian counterparts when looking towards the Vietnamese market. Italy is Europe’s third largest exporter to Vietnam, behind Germany and France, yet 70% of the country’s imports come from its closest neighbours: China, South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan and Japan.