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Vietnamese tra fish companies see profits slump during pandemic

Multiple Vietnamese tra fish companies along the Mekong and Bassac rivers and near Cambodia suffered losses due to falling export prices and lower orders, focusing instead on the domestic market amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

tra fish

Tra fish – also known by their scientific name Pangasius bocourti and their Khmer name pra khchao – are native to the Mekong and Chao Phraya basins in mainland Southeast Asia

The Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (Vasep) said the Covid-19 pandemic has strongly affected the world seafood industry, leading to a reduction in consumption and causing orders to decrease by 35-50 per cent.

Social distancing measures in April caused interruptions in international trade. Enterprises lacked raw materials for processing, facing difficulties in transportation, payment and lacking capital to maintain operations.

Vasep said tra fish was among Vietnam’s most affected seafood products in the pandemic with export turnover dropping by over 31 per cent in the first half. Declining new orders, high inventories and low export prices have made profits of businesses plummet.

Vinh Hoan Corp (VHC), whose headquarters along the Mekong River in Dong Thap province is just 46km from the border with Cambodia’s Prey Veng province, announced that second-quarter profit halved to 215 billion dong ($9.25 million) compared to last year.

Six-month profit also halved to nearly 368 billion dong, thus fulfilling 35 per cent of the yearly target.

Vinh Hoan is researching investment strategies for raising profit via value chains. Besides traditional tra fish export activities, the company aims to increase sales of fish fat and fish meal by 20 per cent this year, sales of collagen and gelatine products by 60 per cent thanks to the new factory being put into operation.

Nam Viet Corp (ANV), whose head office along the Bassac River in An Giang province is nearly 52km from the border with Cambodia’s Takeo province, saw second-quarter profit decrease by 79 per cent year-on-year to reach 32 billion dong, the lowest level since the beginning of 2017.

In the first six months of this year, net revenue dropped by 14 per cent while post-tax profit fell by nearly 79 per cent to 75.5 billion dong.

Although the company forecasts profit this year to fall by 72 per cent to 200 billion dong, it only achieved 38 per cent of the plan in the first half.

Export turnover fell by 52 per cent to 399 billion dong in the second quarter. However, thanks to a focus on the domestic market, the company achieved domestic net sales of 485 billion dong, up 113 per cent compared to the same period last year and for the first time, domestic sales surpassed exports.

ANV is stepping up to exploit domestic demand by co-operating in consuming products in the distribution chain of VinEco – conglomerate VinGroup’s agricultural unit – under Masan Group.

Further down the Bassac River is IDI International Development & Investment Corp (IDI), located just over 60km from Cambodia. The company reported a drop of 61 per cent in second quarter profit to 26 billion dong.

It said the Covid-19 pandemic had a heavy impact on the production and export of frozen fillets of tra fish as the market was interrupted and export prices plummeted.

Six-month profit dropped by 82 per cent year-on-year to over 40 billion dong.

This year, the company wishes to expand export markets, at the same time partnering with farming households to be able to self-supply 95 per cent of raw materials.

Cuu Long An Giang Seafood Import-Export JSC (ACL), upstream along the Bassac River from IDI and more than 55km from Cambodia, earned profit of only four billion dong in the second quarter, down 93 per cent compared to the same period last year.

In six months, the company recorded a profit of over five billion dong, a decrease of 95 per cent and only achieved seven per cent of the yearly plan.

Mekong Fisheries JSC (AAM), further downstream along the Bassac River in Tra Noc Industrial Zone in Can Tho city’s Binh Thuy district and 85km from Cambodia’s Svay Rieng province, suffered a loss of nearly 600 million dong in the second quarter because export turnover decreased by half compared to the same period last year.

Six-month profit reached only 71 million dong and fell far short of the target of eight billion dong in profit set out for this year.

On the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange, shares of VHC, ACL and AAM climbed 2.66, 6.95 and 6.67 per cent to reach 36,700, 16,150 and 11,200 dong at Friday’s close. Their market caps were 6.68 trillion, 810.07 billion and 117.05 billion dong.

Meanwhile ANV and IDI remained flat to close Friday at 15,700 and 3,660 dong with market caps of 1.99 trillion and 833.18 billion dong.


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