The much expected Decree on setting up Vietnam Assets Management Company (VAMC) was finally issued on 18 May 2013 and will take effect from 9 July 2013. VAMC is expected to play a major role in resolving the massive amount of bad debts accumulated by Vietnamese banks. However, a quick review of the Decree indicates that in order for VAMC to be up and running many steps and decisions remain to be taken.
VAMC is a non-profit State-owned enterprise and incorporated as a single-member limited liability company. VAMC has a chartered capital of VND 500 billion. The SBV is the representative of the State capital in VAMC.
How it works
Decree 53/2013 establishes a quite complicated mechanism to deal with bad debts of Vietnamese banks. Below is an example of how such mechanism works:
- Borrower B mortgages its house to borrow a loan of VND 100 billion (Secured Debt) from Bank A. Borrower B fails to repay the Secured Debt and the Secured Debt becomes bad debt of Bank A. Bank A has not set aside any reserve for the Secured Debt..
- VAMC issues special bonds (VAMC Bond) according to an issuance plan to be approved by the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV). VAMC Bond has a term of five years and carries no interest.
- Bank A sells the Secured Debt to VAMC in exchange of VND 100 billion VAMC Bond. This step requires the Secured Debt and Borrower B to satisfy certain conditions. As a result of the transfer, VAMC will become the owner of the Secured Debt and be entitled to the mortgage over the house of Borrower B (the Mortgage). The transfer is made by way of a contract between VAMC and Bank A. In some cases, the SBV may even force Bank A to sell its bad debts to VAMC if Bank A does not cooperate with VAMC.
- Bank A pledges VND 100 billion VAMC Bond with the SBV to obtain a recapitalisation loan from the SBV (SBV Loan). The amount and interest of the SBV Loan is subject to separate regulations.
- During the term of the VAMC Bond, Bank A needs to establish a reserve (Bank Bond Reserve) of at least 20% of the value of VAMC Bond each year.
- After taking over the Secured Debt and the VAMC will either directly or authorise Bank A to deal with Borrower B. Decree 53/2013 seems to offer substantial legal supports for VAMC to enforce the Mortgage. For example, Decree 53/2013 requires all competent authorities to cooperate with VAMC to allow VAMC to enforce the security interests that it holds.
- VAMC authorises Bank A to enforce the Mortgage and recover VND 50 billion (Recovered Amount) and VND 50 billion remains to be unpaid (Remaining Debt).
- Within five business days after the earlier of (1) the last day of the term of VAMC Bond or (2) the date on which the aggregate of the Bank Bond Reserve and the Recovered Amount is equal to VND 100 billion, Bank A must (2) repay the SBV Loan and get back the VND 100 billion VAMC Bond, and (3) sell back VND 100 billion VAMC Bond to VAMC in return of the Remaining Debt. VAMC will also return the Recovered Amount less the enforcement expenses and a haircut (to be decided) for VAMC to Bank A.
- After Bank A gets back the Remaining Debt and returns the VAMC Bond to VAMC, Bank A will need to use the Bank Bond Reserve to resolve the bad debt resulted from the VAMC Bond and to continue resolve the Remaining Debt.
Decree 163 of the Government on logistics services was issued on 30 December 2017 (Decree 163/2017). It is going to take effect on 20 February 2018 and replace Decree 140 of the Government on logistics services dated 5 September 2007 (Decree 140/2007). Below are salient changes in Decree 163/2017.
Decree 163/2017 no longer requires the logistics services providers to meet the condition of adequate equipment and personnel. That condition was applied to some logistics services, but under Decree 163/2017, the logistics services providers have only to meet conditions specific to the logistics service that they provide.
Decree 163/2017 allows foreign investors to apply, at their discretion, investment conditions regarding logistics services under an international treaty where multiple treaties are applicable.
Decree 163/2017 classifies logistics services in accordance with Vietnam’s commitments to the WTO. By contrast, Decree 140/2007 has its own classification of logistics services which is not consistent with the description of logistics services under the WTO Commitments. And the investment conditions and foreign ownership limit provided in Decree 163/2017 are generally consistent with the WTO Commitments. Therefore, it is easier to compare the Decree 163/2017 with the WTO Commitments.
The table below sets out the applicable foreign ownership limit under Decree 163/2017, to the extent possible, in comparison with Decree 140/2007:
On 15 January 2018, the Government issued Decree 9/2018 on sale and purchase of goods and other directly-related activities by FIEs. Decree 9/2018 took effect immediately and replaces the outdated Decree 23/2007. Several issues arise from this Decree 9/2018. Unfortunately, most of these issues will likely make the operation and investment by FIEs in the sectors covered by Decree 9/2018 more (sometimes much more) challenging. In particular,
In November 2017, the National Assembly passed various amendments to the Law on Credit Institutions 2010 (LCI Amendments). About two-thirds of the LCI Amendments focus on restructuring, rescue, and liquidation of a credit institution. This probably explains the relatively short period between the issuance of the LCI Amendment and its effective date. The LCI Amendments will take effect from 15 January 2018, less than two months after issuance. The National Assembly usually give a new law six months to one year to take effect. This seems to indicate a sense of urgency by the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) in dealing with various banks which have been rescued by the SBV for the last couple of years.
In addition to the provisions on restructuring, rescue, and liquidation of a credit institution, the LCI Amendments contain a host of other amendments which aim to improve the governance and operation of a credit institution. These amendments include:
Decree 126/2017 replacing Decree 59/2011 on equitisation of State-owned enterprises introduces various new requirements for a strategic investor who invests during the equitisation of a State-owned enterprise (equitised SOE). These new requirements (especially the pricing requirement) are more difficult for a strategic investor to satisfy. In particular,
- The equitized SOE must decide to select the strategic investor and the strategic investor must commit to invest before publication of the public offering document for the public auction. Under Decree 59/2011, the strategic investor may decide to invest either before or after the public auction;
- Despite being required to commit to invest before the public auction, in most cases, the strategic investor must pay a price not lower than the average bidding price at the public auction. Under Decree 59/2011, there is no such requirement and the minimum price is the lowest successful bidding price. This requirement under Decree 126/201 seems to repeat the mistake under Decree 109/2007. There is unlikely any sensible investor who will commit to invest without knowing the price that it has to pay first;
The Sabeco – ThaiBev transaction announced on Monday is no doubt the biggest equity deal in Vietnam so far. The deal structure (see below) as reported by newspaper involves Vietnam Beverage acquiring 53.59% shares in Sabeco. Vietnam Beverage is wholly owned by Vietnam F&B Alliance Investment. Thai Bev, in turn, owns 49% of Vietnam F&B Alliance Investment. From the look of it, it appears that ThaiBev is investing in Sabeco by setting up a “non-foreign” investor through various corporate layering.
Under the Labour Code 2012, a labour contract means an agreement between an employee and an employer on a paid job, working conditions, and rights and obligations of each party to the labour relationship. A labour contract between an employer and its employee can fall into one of the following types:
- Seasonal Contract: a seasonal contract (or contract for a specific job) is a labour contract with the duration of less than 12 months;
- Definite Term Contract: a definite term contract means a labour contract with the duration of between 12 months and 36 months. The term of a definite term contract can be extended one time only. Thereafter, the employer must enter into an Indefinite Term Contract (see below); and
- Indefinite Term Contract: an indefinite term contract means a labour contract in which the two parties do not fix the term nor the time of termination of the contract.
In Vietnam, private ownership over land is not recognised under the Constitution and Land Law 2013. Instead, one may acquire certain rights which are close to the ownership rights over the land (land use rights) in accordance with the land regulations. A foreign investor does not fall under the scope of subjects that are entitled to obtain land use rights in Vietnam, but a local company (Local Co) wholly or partly owned by such foreign investor may acquire land use rights to conduct its investment projects.
1.1. Article 354 of the Criminal Code 2015 imposes criminal liability on the act of receiving bribes (tội nhận hối lộ), which is defined as an act, among others, of a person who holds an official position or “power” and directly or indirectly has received or will receive any of the following benefit for himself/herself or for other person/organisation:
1.1.1. money, properties or other “material benefit” in any form, which has a value of VND 2,000,000 (approx. USD100) or more; and
1.1.2. non-material benefit
with the intent of taking advantage of his/her official position or power in order to perform or refrain from performing certain acts for the benefit of, or as requested by, the person who offers the bribe. The Criminal Code 1999 considers only monies, properties or other material interest as bribes.
On 22 September 2017, the Ministry of Finance issued a model charter of public companies under Circular 95/2017 following the new governance regulations of Decree 71/2017. This model charter (New Model Charter) is to replace the old one (Old Model Charter) provided under Circular 12/2012, which is based on the now-defunct Enterprise Law 2005. These charters are not legally compulsory, thus should be read with reference purpose only.
Most changes to the New Model Charter reflect changes in the Enterprise Law 2014 and Decree 71/2017 (find out more here). Besides, the New Model Charter introduces the following notable changes: