PVC Land phá sản, bất động sản rùng mình

Phá sản có thể là một điều không ai muốn nhưng đó có thể là lối thoát tốt nhất cho các doanh nghiệp để thoát khỏi áp lực dòng tiền.

Phá sản có thể là một điều không ai muốn nhưng đối với một số trường hợp, đó có thể là lối thoát tốt nhất cho các doanh nghiệp để thoát khỏi áp lực dòng tiền, cũng như mang lại cho các chủ nợ cơ hội để thu hồi được phần nào số tiền đầu tư. Một ví dụ là sự kiện bị buộc phải phá sản mới đây của Công ty Bất động sản Xây lắp Dầu khí Việt Nam, chủ đầu tư dự án PetroVietnam Landmark.

Quyết định mở thủ tục phá sản đối với PVC Land của Tòa án Nhân dân TP.HCM đã tạo nên một tiền lệ chưa từng xảy ra, có thể sẽ kéo theo làn sóng phá sản, đóng cửa của nhiều doanh nghiệp địa ốc khác trên địa bàn TP.HCM trong thời gian tới. Dù đau đớn nhưng việc cho các chủ đầu tư thiếu uy tín phá sản cũng là một cơ chế thanh lọc, loại bỏ các doanh nghiệp không có năng lực thanh toán, giúp thị trường phát triển tốt hơn.

Tính đến cuối năm 2016, vẫn còn đến 500 dự án bất động sản trên địa bàn TP.HCM bị đóng băng, chậm tiến độ trong đó nhiều dự án có tình cảnh thê thảm tương tự PetroVietnam Landmark như dự án Vạn Hưng Phát (quận 8), dự án Kenton Residences (quận 7), Tân Bình Apartment (Tân Bình), Vinaland Tower (Quận 7)… Vì thế các chủ đầu tư, người mua nhà ở các dự án này đang chăm chú theo dõi diễn biến phá sản của PVC Land để đưa ra quyết định cho riêng mình.

PVC Land pha san, bat dong san rung minh

PetroVietnam Landmark từng là một dự án đình đám ở khu Đông vào năm 2010. Do lượng cầu quá lớn nên chủ đầu tư đã phải tiến hành bốc thăm để lựa chọn người mua nhà. Tổng số tiền PVC Land đã thu được từ khách hàng đến cuối năm 2011 gần 500 tỉ đồng. Tính đến 30.6.2011, giá trị đầu tư của PVC Land vào dự án PetroVietnam Landmark là 315,4 tỉ đồng nhưng dự án vẫn chậm tiến độ cho đến nay.

Không chỉ có người mua nhà chịu thiệt hại mà các ngân hàng cho vay vốn cũng chịu chung số phận. Ngoài việc huy động vốn từ người mua, chủ đầu tư dự án PetroVietnam Landmark còn nhận thế chấp để vay vốn của Ngân hàng Bưu Điện Liên Việt và ngân hàng này cũng đã khởi kiện ra tòa. Như vậy, tranh chấp quyền lợi một khi tài sản bị thanh lý giữa người mua nhà và ngân hàng sẽ là một trong những điểm đáng chú ý trong quá trình mở thủ tục quá sản đối với PVC Land.

Theo Luật sư Trần Thái Bình, Công ty LNT & Partners, sau khi ra tòa án quyết định mở thủ tục phá sản, thẩm phán sẽ chỉ định quản tài viên, kê biên tài sản và triệu tập cuộc họp các chủ nợ. Nếu như hội nghị các chủ nợ đồng ý cho doanh nghiệp một thời gian để phục hồi hoạt động kinh doanh, nhằm cải thiện tình hình tài chính và trả nợ cho các chủ nợ thì PVC Land có cơ hội được tiếp tục kinh doanh.

Trường hợp xấu hơn, nếu sau một thời gian tình hình vẫn không cải thiện, Công ty sẽ bị tuyên bố phá sản. Các tài sản còn lại của PVC Land sẽ được tòa án và quản tài viên thanh lý nhằm thanh toán cho các chủ nợ. Việc thanh toán theo thứ tự ưu tiên là chi phí phá sản, nợ tiền lương đối với người lao động, nghĩa vụ tài chính với Nhà nước, các khoản nợ có bảo đảm và nợ không có bảo đảm. Nếu giá trị tài sản không đủ để thanh toán toàn bộ số nợ, khách hàng sẽ được thanh toán theo tỉ lệ phần trăm tương ứng với số nợ.

Trong trường hợp của PVC Land, những người mua nhà có thể được xếp vào những chủ nợ không có bảo đảm. “Người mua nhà mất trắng là trường hợp có thể xảy ra nếu như tài sản còn lại của PVC Land không đủ để thanh toán các khoản nợ”, luật sư Trần Thái Bình nói.

PVC Land pha san, bat dong san rung minh

Việt Nam có thể nói là một trong những thị trường kinh doanh bất động sản “dễ chịu” nhất thế giới. Bởi lẽ, các chủ đầu tư trong nước được phép huy động đến 70% vốn đầu tư từ khách hàng để phát triển dự án (tỉ lệ tối đa là 50% dành cho các dự án bất động sản của nhà đầu tư nước ngoài). Trong khi đó, tại các quốc gia khác, chủ đầu tư chỉ có thể vay vốn từ ngân hàng để hoàn thành dự án trước, sau đó mới mở bán.

Các quy định “dễ chịu” đó một mặt đã hỗ trợ cho thị trường phát triển nhanh chóng, nhưng cũng dễ dẫn đến các hình thức huy động và sử dụng vốn kém minh bạch của một số chủ đầu tư. Cuối cùng, người chịu thiệt nhất vẫn là người mua nhà bởi không có điều kiện nắm rõ thông tin.

Điều lạc quan là một số quy định mới đang giúp thị trường phát triển bền vững và minh bạch hơn. Theo luật sư Bình, Luật Nhà ở 2014 đã bổ sung những khắc phục và bảo vệ tốt hơn quyền lợi cho người mua – bên yếu thế hơn trong giao dịch – bằng một số quy định mới như chủ đầu tư chỉ được phép thu tiền sau khi đã xây xong phần móng và việc thu tiền phải phù hợp theo tiến độ xây dựng. Ngoài ra, phải có ngân hàng bảo lãnh thanh toán cho dự án. Trước khi tiến hành bán nhà, chủ đầu tư cũng phải thông báo với Sở Xây dựng về việc đủ điều kiện để bán nhà, thu tiền từ khách hàng. Hay như chủ đầu tư không được bán các căn hộ đang được thế chấp…

Nhưng vấn đề là do yếu kém trong quá trình thực thi và giám sát từ phía các cơ quan quản lý, một số chủ đầu tư vẫn có cơ hội né tránh các quy định nhằm tiết kiệm chi phí, gia tăng lợi nhuận. “Các cơ quan chức năng chỉ cần thực hiện đúng theo chức năng quản lý quy định tại Luật Nhà ở hiện nay thì đã giúp cho người mua nhà tránh nhiều rủi ro lắm rồi”, luật sư Bình nói.

Một trong những giải pháp cần làm trước tiên là Nhà nước nên trang bị hệ thống thông tin trực tuyến hoặc tại cơ quan về dự án nhà ở hoặc thông tin về chủ đầu tư như Luật Nhà ở đã quy định. Người mua có thể tiếp cận các thông tin này theo cơ chế trả phí. Về phần mình, để kiểm soát rủi ro, trước khi xuống tiền, khách hàng cần tìm hiểu kỹ tình trạng pháp lý của dự án cũng như năng lực tài chính của chủ đầu tư. Khách hàng nên chọn các chủ đầu tư lớn, có uy tín và vị thế trên thị trường để đầu tư, thậm chí trước khi mua nên yêu cầu chủ đầu tư công bố thông tin về tình trạng thế chấp và giải chấp của căn nhà để tránh những tranh chấp sau này nếu có.

Thống kê của Cục Quản lý Nhà và Thị trường bất động sản cho thấy tính đến cuối năm 2016, tổng giá trị tồn kho bất động sản trên cả nước là hơn 31.800 tỉ đồng. Trong đó, lượng tồn kho của Hà Nội là 5.611 tỉ đồng, TP.HCM là 5.954 tỉ đồng. Tồn kho bất động sản đang là một trong những nguyên nhân chính khiến tỉ lệ nợ xấu ở một số ngân hàng vẫn đang ở mức rất cao. Việc phá sản của PVC Land vì thế có thể sẽ mang đến một cú hích mới cho quá trình tái cấu trúc thị trường bất động sản trong năm nay.

Nguyễn Sơn – Báo Nhịp cầu đầu tư

Kinh nghiệm mua nhà không thể bỏ qua

Trong quá trình giao dịch một bất động sản, khách hàng có thể vướng phải nhiều rủi ro khác nhau. Rủi ro đó có thể đến từ chủ đầu tư, từ các quy định của hợp đồng liên quan đến vấn đề thanh toán và điều kiện của bất động sản được giao dịch.

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Luật sư Trần Thái Bình, Công ty Luật LNT & Partners – Đoàn luật sư TP.HCM.

Để hạn chế những rủi ro có thể gặp phải khi giao dịch một bất động sản hình thành trong tương lai, PV Báo Người Tiêu Dùng có cuộc trao đổi với Luật sư Trần Thái Bình, Công ty Luật LNT & Partners – Đoàn luật sư TP.HCM.

PV: Luật sư có thể đưa ra những rủi ro mà khách hàng có thể gặp phải khi giao dịch một bất động sản, đặc biệt là bất động sản hình thành trong tương lai?

Luật sư Trần Thái Bình:

Thứ nhất, không đáp ứng đủ các điều kiện luật định khi thực hiện ký kết hợp đồng mua bán bất động sản hình thành trong tương lai. Ví dụ, hiện nay theo quy định của luật kinh doanh bất động sản, chủ đầu tư chỉ được phép tiến hành ký kết hợp đồng tương lai khi (i) công trình đã hoàn thành xong phần móng; (ii) dự án nhà ở đó được một ngân hàng bảo lãnh; (iii) có thông báo xác nhận của cơ quan Nhà nước có thẩm quyền về việc dự án đã đáp ứng đủ điều kiện để có thể thực hiện giao dịch mua bán tài sản hình thành trong tương lai. Tuy nhiên, nhiều chủ đầu tư vẫn tiến hành ký hợp đồng mua bán bất động sản hình thành trong tương lai khi chưa đáp ứng đầy đủ các điều kiện này. Điều này có thể dẫn đến rủi ro là hợp đồng đã ký vô hiệu nếu như có tranh chấp pháp lý.

Thứ hai, rủi ro về chậm tiến độ dự án và mục đích sử dụng vốn của chủ đầu tư. Chẳng hạn, tiến độ của dự án bất động sản hình thành trong tương lai bị chậm do năng lực chủ đầu tư yếu kém hoặc do chủ đầu tư đã sử dụng số tiền mua nhà đặt trước của khách hàng sai mục đích dẫn đến việc không đủ nguồn lực tài chính để hoàn thành công trình đúng tiến độ. Mặc dù, Luật nhà ở đã quy định chủ đầu tư phải sử dụng tiền thanh toán của người mua nhà để phát triển dự án nhà ở, nhưng thực tế không có cơ chế hiệu quả để cơ quan thẩm quyền hay người mua nhà kiểm soát được việc sử dụng vốn.

Thứ ba, rủi ro về chất lượng công trình khi người mua nhà nhận sản phẩm. Có thể chất lượng sản phẩm không đúng theo kỳ vọng của người mua, nhưng người mua không thể làm gì được vì phù hợp với thể hiện trong hợp đồng.

PV: Khách hàng cần làm gì để hạn chế rủi ro khi mua căn hộ hình thành trong tương lai?

Luật sư Trần Thái Bình:

Theo kinh nghiệm của tôi, khách hàng khi mua các căn hộ hình thành trong tương lai cần thực hiện việc kiểm tra các thông tin có liên quan, chứ không chỉ hoàn toàn căn cứ thông tin do chủ đầu tư cung cấp. Các thông tin cơ bản về cơ sở pháp lý cho phép chủ đầu tư đầu tư dự án, ví dụ như giấy chứng nhận quyền sử dụng đất của chủ đầu tư đối với khu đất dự án, xác nhận bảo lãnh của ngân hàng đối với dự án, thông báo của chủ đầu tư cho Sở Xây dựng về việc đã đáp ứng điều kiện để bán nhà.

Người mua cũng nên có thói quen sử dụng dịch vụ tư vấn pháp lý để hỗ trợ khi mua nhà, nhằm hiểu rõ hơn quyền lợi của mình, cũng như bảo vệ quyền lợi của mình.

PV: Nếu được đưa ra một điều luật nào đó để bảo vệ tuyệt đối người tiêu dùng và minh bạch nhất cho thị trường bất động sản. Luật sư sẽ đưa ra vấn đề gì?

Luật sư Trần Thái Bình:

Theo hiểu biết của tôi, ở một số nước như Úc, Hồng Kông, hay Singapore, đối với việc bán nhà ở hình thành trong tương lai, pháp luật nơi đó quy định chủ đầu tư phải gửi tiền thanh toán của người mua nhà vào một tài khoản ký quỹ (escrowed account) và chỉ được sử dụng tiền trong tài khoản này sau khi đã giao nhà cho người mua. Lý do của việc này là để bảo vệ quyền lợi của người mua nhà, bảo đảm chủ đầu tư phải hình thành đúng tiến độ cũng như phải có đủ khả năng tài chính để phát triển dự án. Tôi nghĩ, nếu áp dụng được như vậy ở Việt Nam thì tuyệt đối có thể bảo vệ quyền lợi của người mua nhà.

Còn nếu như chưa thể áp dụng được tuyệt đối như vậy thì khung pháp luật hiện nay cũng đã phần nào bảo vệ tốt quyền lợi của người mua nhà. Vấn đề là ở khâu thực hiện. Ví dụ, người mua muốn kiểm tra các thông tin thì phải kiểm tra ở đâu nếu như chủ đầu tư không cung cấp đủ? Cho nên cần có một cơ quan thẩm quyền nào đó (ví dụ Sở Xây dựng) có thể cung cấp các thông tin cơ bản của dự án nhà ở cho người mua nhà, như quyền sử dụng đất của chủ đầu tư có hợp pháp hay không, có bị thế chấp hay không, dự án có được bảo lãnh ngân hàng hay không, chủ đầu tư có đủ điều kiện để thu tiền khách hàng mua nhà chưa… Cơ quan thẩm quyền nên tạo điều kiện để người mua có thể tiếp cận dễ dàng các thông tin như vậy đối với một dự án nhà ở.

Nguồn: Báo Người tiêu dùng

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Khách hàng mua nhà tại dư án Cao ốc Xanh (Q.9) vì chủ đầu tư thiếu uy tín nên gần cả thập kỷ nay chưa nhận được nhà.

Chậm giao nhà, dân yêu cầu phá sản doanh nghiệp

Thay vì mòn mỏi chờ đợi, người dân đã dùng quyền yêu cầu phá sản doanh nghiệp (DN) bất động sản nợ tiền, chây ì giao nhà.

TAND TP.HCM vừa ban hành quyết định về việc mở thủ tục phá sản đối với Công ty cổ phần Bất động sản xây lắp dầu khí VN (PVC Land) – chủ đầu tư dự án PetroVietnam Landmark.

“Mạnh tay” để đòi tiền

Bà Trần Thị Châu Giang (Q.3, TP.HCM) – người trực tiếp nộp đơn yêu cầu tòa án mở thủ tục phá sản đối với PVC Land – cho biết đã chờ đợi mòn mỏi, nhiều lần “đòi” tiền không được nên mới yêu cầu tòa mở thủ tục phá sản.

Bà Giang mua nhà tại dự án PetroVietnam Landmark từ năm 2010 với giá hơn 2 tỉ đồng và đã đóng gần 2 tỉ. Quá hạn hai năm chủ đầu tư không bàn giao nhà, bà Giang khởi kiện.

TAND TP.HCM tuyên bà thắng, buộc chủ đầu tư hoàn trả số tiền bà đóng. Tuy nhiên, công ty trả lời thẳng “còn tiền đâu mà trả”.

Thời điểm đó trao đổi với Tuổi Trẻ, ông Lương Đình Thành – giám đốc PVC Land – cũng cho biết công ty không còn tiền trả. Nếu bà Giang đồng ý thỏa thuận chỉ lấy tiền gốc không tính lãi, hằng tháng công ty sẽ trích một khoản trả dần.

Chậm giao nhà, dân yêu cầu phá sản doanh nghiệp 
Dự án chung cư PetroVietnam Landmark tại Q.2, TP.HCM – Ảnh: HỮU THUẬN

Tới nay PVC Land mới trả cho bà Giang 300 triệu đồng. Hết cách, bà Giang mới làm đơn yêu cầu tòa án ban hành quyết định mở thủ tục phá sản đối với PVC Land.

“Nếu công ty phá sản sẽ ảnh hưởng đến nhiều khách hàng, nhưng gần bảy năm nay đã quá khổ, cùng đường nên tui mới chọn giải pháp này” – bà Giang nói.

Trong số hơn 400 khách hàng mua căn hộ tại dự án PetroVietnam Landmark có những khách hàng mua lại từ một công ty khác.

Câu chuyện đòi tiền chủ đầu tư của những khách hàng này còn bi đát hơn. Bà B.A.K. (Q.2) mua căn hộ tại dự án PetroVietnam Landmark.

Sáu năm nay, gia đình bà K. vẫn phải đi ở trọ, mỏi mòn chờ nhận nhà. Bà K. cho biết để mua nhà, bà phải vay ngân hàng 2 tỉ đồng.

Nhà không nhận được, nhưng hằng tháng bà vừa phải đóng tiền thuê trọ vừa phải trả tiền ngân hàng. Giờ nghe PVC Land có thể bị phá sản, bà thêm hoang mang, không biết có mất tiền hay không…

DN bị áp lực phải trả tiền

Trao đổi với Tuổi Trẻ, ông Lương Đình Thành cho biết công ty đã nhận được quyết định của tòa án và đang làm việc với tòa, không để công ty phá sản.

Dự án PetroVietnam Landmark có tất cả 420 căn hộ đã bán hết cho khách hàng. Hiện dự án đã hoàn thiện phần thô và bàn giao cho khoảng 50 khách tiến hành sửa chữa. Dự kiến đầu năm 2018 cho khách vào ở.

Ông Thành cho hay do công ty đang làm thủ tục giám đốc thẩm, kháng án yêu cầu chỉ trả số tiền bà Giang đã đóng cho chủ đầu tư, không trả tiền lãi nên chưa thanh toán hết số tiền cho bà Giang. Công ty không mất khả năng thanh toán.

“Chúng tôi sẽ thuê luật sư làm việc với tòa án, chứng minh khả năng trả nợ của công ty. Chủ trương là làm sao vẫn tồn tại để cố gắng giải quyết giao nhà cho khách hàng đã mua nhà” – ông Thành nói.

Còn nhiều dự án ngưng trệ

Không chỉ dự án PetroVietnam Landmark, tại TP.HCM còn nhiều dự án ngưng trệ, khiến không ít người mua nhà phải điêu đứng.

Như dự án Cao ốc Xanh (Q.9) của Công ty cổ phần đầu tư và xây dựng số 8 (CIC8) khởi công từ năm 2008 gồm ba block A, B, C.

Đến nay chỉ có block C được bàn giao, hai block 19 tầng còn lại ngưng thi công nhiều năm nay.

Giữa năm 2016, chủ đầu tư tái khởi công, nhưng vừa cất nóc lại tiếp tục “trùm mền”. Chị Nguyễn Nữ Thanh Thảo đã bán nhà và vay 400 triệu đồng để mua căn hộ tại dự án Cao ốc Xanh.

Theo hợp đồng, chủ đầu tư sẽ giao nhà vào tháng 9-2011. Cả nhà năm người ra thuê căn trọ nhỏ, “mơ” ngày nhận căn hộ rộng rãi, thoáng mát.

Nghe thông tin khách hàng dự án PetroVietnam Landmark nộp đơn yêu cầu tòa án mở thủ tục phá sản, chị Thảo cho biết chị và nhóm khách hàng mua nhà dự án Cao ốc Xanh cũng đang tìm hiểu thủ tục pháp lý để “mạnh tay”, buộc chủ đầu tư sớm giao nhà.

“Sáu, bảy năm nghe chủ đầu tư hứa tôi mệt mỏi lắm rồi. Giờ có giải pháp gì để chủ đầu tư nhanh chóng giao nhà hay trả tiền chúng tôi đều làm” – chị Thảo nói.

Trong khi đó năm 2012, anh Trần Thanh Tâm (Q.Bình Thạnh) ký hợp đồng mua căn hộ tại dự án Happy Plaza (H.Bình Chánh) do DN Thanh Tùng làm chủ đầu tư. Lúc đó dự án đã xây phần khung đến tầng 4.

Thời điểm mua, chủ đầu tư dự kiến quý 4-2013 giao nhà và đưa ra chính sách nếu người mua đóng vượt tiến độ sẽ hưởng chiết khấu cao, nên anh đóng 90% giá trị căn hộ.

“Mỗi lần điện lên hỏi thì chủ đầu tư hứa sẽ khởi công giao nhà sớm, nhưng bốn năm rồi chưa xây nổi thêm tầng nào” – anh Tâm nói.

Giải pháp cần thiết

Việc khách hàng nộp đơn yêu cầu tòa án mở thủ tục phá sản đối với chủ đầu tư dù còn hiếm, nhưng nhiều chuyên gia cho rằng đây là giải pháp cần thiết với các chủ đầu tư chây ì.

Luật sư Lê Cao (Đoàn luật sư TP Đà Nẵng) cho rằng việc mở thủ tục phá sản như với PVC Land có lợi cho các chủ nợ, tránh việc DN âm thầm tẩu tán hết tài sản. Với DN “yếu”, việc xử lý sớm may ra còn thu lại phần nào. Càng để DN tồn tại, lãi suất cộng dồn mỗi ngày, chủ nợ ngày càng thua thiệt.

Luật sư Trần Thái Bình (đoàn luật sư TP.HCM) cũng đồng tình nên tính đến đề nghị cho DN phá sản nếu chây ì kéo dài.

Tuy nhiên, ông Bình nêu ngay cả khi còn tài sản thì thứ tự thanh toán sẽ ưu tiên như sau: chi phí cho thủ tục phá sản, lương của người lao động…

Đặc biệt, nếu như tại dự án PetroVietnam Landmark chủ đầu tư đã bàn giao 10 căn hộ thì khi kê biên tòa nhà phải chừa 10 căn hộ đó ra.

Trao đổi với Tuổi Trẻ, một cán bộ Sở KH-ĐT TP.HCM cho biết sau khi mở thủ tục phá sản, DN vẫn hoạt động bình thường dưới sự giám sát của quản tài viên.

Sở KH-ĐT sẽ công bố thông tin trên cổng thông tin đăng ký DN quốc gia nếu có yêu cầu của tòa án.

Nhưng với vụ việc mở thủ tục tuyên bố phá sản của PVC Land, hiện Sở KH-ĐT TP.HCM chưa nhận được yêu cầu đăng thông tin của TAND TP.HCM.

Luật sư Võ Xuân Trung (Đoàn luật sư TP.HCM):

Minh bạch để giảm rủi ro cho dân

Để tránh “mắc kẹt” với những dự án chây ì, người mua cần tìm hiểu kỹ tình trạng pháp lý của dự án.

Đặc biệt, nên xem dự án đó có thế chấp ngân hàng, có được ngân hàng bảo lãnh nghĩa vụ tài chính của chủ đầu tư đối với khách hàng hay không.

Tuy nhiên, các cơ quan quản lý nhà nước cũng cần công bố công khai trên các trang web đầy đủ các dự án thế chấp ngân hàng, dự án được ngân hàng bảo lãnh… để người dân tra cứu, tìm hiểu.

Ngoài ra, các cơ quan thi hành án nên công khai thông tin quyết định kê biên, ngăn chặn giao dịch đối với các dự án dạng này để người dân biết, tránh được rủi ro khi mua nhà.

Cơ hội nào cho PVC Land?

Theo Luật phá sản DN 2014, khi ra quyết định mở thủ tục phá sản, tòa án đồng thời kê biên luôn tài sản của DN để tránh tẩu tán tài sản.

Lúc này, DN còn một “đường sống” là hội nghị các chủ nợ quyết định cho DN thời gian để cơ cấu lại hoạt động, cải thiện tình hình dưới sự giám sát của quản tài viên và thẩm phán.

Nếu trong thời gian này DN phục hồi khả năng thanh toán, trên cơ sở ý kiến của hội nghị các chủ nợ, thẩm phán ra quyết định đình chỉ thủ tục phá sản.

Còn hội nghị các chủ nợ không đồng ý cho DN thời gian khắc phục, tòa sẽ cùng với quản tài viên thanh lý tài sản của DN để trả nợ.

Nguồn: Tuổi trẻ

CONFLICTS OF REGULATION RELATED TO SIGNATURES IN SALE INVOICES BETWEEN THE LAWS AND COMMERCIAL PRACTICES

 “Having signature on the commercial invoice in respect of imported goods” is not a new requirement in the importation and custom clearance procedures. However, this requirement has caused difficulties to importers when they import goods in practice, as there are still a number of discrepancies between the laws of Vietnam and international practices, without any remedy.

From the legal perspective, the requirements of the Ministry of Finance and Vietnamese Customs Authorities are base on Decree 51/2010/ND-CP, which stipulates that invoices must present signatures of the seller, seal of the buyer (if any), and signatures of the buyer. The entities who must comply with Decree 51/2010 are Vietnamese organizations, individuals who are selling goods, providing services in Vietnam’s territory or abroad; organizations, individuals imported goods in the local market regardless of producers or suppliers being Vietnamese or foreign organizations or individuals under Circular 64/2015/TTLT- BTC- BCT- BCA- BQP “With regard to goods sold or stored by entities other than importers, it is required to have invoices and/or documents of the selling entities as prescribed in Decree No. 51/2010/ND-CP.”

From the practical perspective, this regulation embarks a conflict with the common practice of making invoices by European countries in which all invoices are formed, retrieved electronically and without sellers’ signatures and seals in every single invoice. Annually, an automobile manufacturer can sell hundred thousands of products per year, the signing in each invoice is a hand work which makes time-squandering, human resource and increasing expenses. However, in order to complete the import procedure, enterprise must seek for ways to convince the manufacturers to provide their signature on invoices. This step has caused a lot of difficulties to enterprises because it is too hard for the manufacturers to change their goods trading management method contrary to the ordinary method in their home country. As a result, the completion of custom clearance of enterprises is often delayed for months from the scheduled business plan, which causes a lost in term of in business opportunity and cost burden to enterprises. In addition, the fact that the requirement on provision of invoice is still retained which is not caught up with the principle of Article 3.6(b) of Resolution 30c/NQ-CP enhancing the “application of information – telecommunication technology in the process of handling of works of administrative authorities, among administrative authorities and within transactions with organizations and individuals”.

With the understanding of these international practices, World Customs Organization (WCO) recommends its members not to have sellers sign commercial invoices when conducting the customs declaration, in particularly:

RECOMMENDATION OF THE CUSTOMS CO-OPERATION COUNCIL
CONCERNING CUSTOMS REQUIREMENTS
REGARDING COMMERCIAL INVOICES
(16th MAY 1979)

RECOMMENDS that Members of the Council and members of the United Nations Organization or its specialized agencies, and Customs or Economic Unions, should :

  1. refrain from requiring a signature, for Customs purposes, on commercial invoices presented in support of a Goods declaration;[1]

Vietnam Customs authorities has been a member of WCO as of 01 July 1993 and entered into Kyoto Convention on the Simplification and Harmonization of Customs Procedures. After many renovations to adapt WCO’s objectives and policies, Vietnam Customs procedures have been modernized and reduced significantly yet not abrogated the requirements on signatures affixed to invoices due to existing “barriers” in Decree 51.

The main purpose for presentation of commercial invoices in customs procedures is to make a basis for determining customs values of the goods, goods origin and tax amounts imposed on goods at the time of import. In the Internet age, the authenticity of invoices can be checked by various methods. Therefore, we should learn a feasible way of other countries to check manufacturers’ database to conclude the accuracy of total value of goods rather than request them to sign in each of invoices. Customs Authorities can request the manufacture to send the detailed information of imported goods for checking, or confirm the accuracy and completeness of such invoices. From the author’s perspective, by taking advantage of the internet tool, the checking and verifying the accuracy of commercial bills will easier and more efficient.

 Author: Nguyen Thi Chau Thanh – LNT & Partners

 

 

[1] http://www.wcoomd.org/en/about-us/legal-instruments/recommendations/pf_recommendations/pfrecomm45customsrequircommertinvoice.aspx

DEVELOPMENTS IN ARBITRATION IN VIET NAM

Hôm nay,  7/12/2016, Tiến sĩ Lê Nết  tham dự buổi Hội thảo “Managing International Arbitration with a South East Asian Dimension: A Masterclass for Arbitration” được tổ chức ở Singapore. Tại đây, Tiến sĩ Lê Nết  đại diện cho Trung tâm trọng tài quốc tế Viêt Nam (VIAC) trình bày về “Development in arbitration in Vietnam”.

Dưới đây là bản tóm tắt nội dung phần diễn thuyết của Tiến sĩ Lê Nết bằng tiếng Việt. Bạn đọc click link để theo dõi.

Development-in-arbitration

Sổ tay Luật sư – Chương 6: Tư vấn lĩnh vực xây dựng

Chương 6 của Sổ tay luật sư trình bày một số vấn đề pháp lý cơ bản liên quan đến việc tư vấn trong lĩnh vực xây dựng, bao gồm (i)  hợp đồng xây dựng, (ii) các rủi ro chính phát sinh trong quá trình xây dựng, (iii) quy định về hợp đồng xây dựng theo luật Việt Nam và theo FIDIC, và (iv) Giá hợp đồng xây dựng, phương thức thanh toán và hồ sơ thanh toán.

Tại chương này, một số quy định của pháp luật đã hết hiệu lực chẳng hạn như Luật Xây dựng 2003, Luật Đấu thầu 2005, Nghị định 48/2010, Nghị định 99/2007 được viện dẫn để đối chiếu với những thay đổi so với các quy định hiện tại, đặc biệt là Nghị định 37/2015 và Thông tư 09/2016 hoặc được viện dẫn để làm rõ lý do cho những thay đổi trong pháp luật hiện tại.

Phương pháp luận chủ yếu được trình bày xuyên suốt tại Chương 6 này là (i) trình bày vấn đề cần đề cập; (ii) phân tích và đánh giá; (iii) đưa ra các kết luận và kiến nghị cần thiết. Tuy nhiên tại một số tiểu mục do tính chất đặc thù, phương pháp luận này sẽ không được trình bày rõ ràng như vậy hoặc được lược bớt những phần không quan trọng.

Để đọc nội dung chi tiết của chương 6, vui lòng click link bên dưới:

Link Chuong 6: Tu van linh vuc xay dung

Luật sư Lê Nết

LNT & Partners

#LNT #vietnam #law

IFLR 1000 – Vietnam chapter

“Although Vietnam’s capital market has established more than 20 years ago, the participation of Vietnam-based law firms in the markets, both locally and internationally, is still rare.”

Dr. Net Le, Partner of LNT & Partners, has shared his opinion about current landscape for capital markets and project finance in Vietnam on IFLR 1000, Edition 2017.

If you want to learn more about the structure as well as the future of capital markets and project finance in Vietnam, please click on link below to see full article.

Link: Vietnam capital market & project finance: Its structure and future

Our Managing Partner at “Law Insight” event, University of Economics and Law (UEL)

Mr. Bui Ngoc Hong, Managing Partner at LNT & Partners came to University of Economics and Law to give a speech at the “Law Insight” event on November 05, 2016.

His sharing was regarding career overview in legal industry and helpful advices for young people who are pursuing their own dreams to be a lawyer.

One of his sayings which was also a message to the audiences: “Being “green” always to learn new things.”

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A memorable photo

https://goo.gl/g3QOKX

#LNT #CSR #Speech #MP #Legal #Vietnam

M&A Forum 2016

Dr. Nguyen Anh Tuan – Partner at LNT was speaking in the panel discussion of M&A Forum 2016 held by Vietnam Investment Review. He was sitting next to other speakers from foreign companies and Government representatives.

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Dr. Nguyen Anh Tuan – an expert in Antitrust/ Competition practice

The topic was regarding “M&A in wider economic boundaries”. This event earned a lot of media attentions such as: VTV, FBNC especially Bloomberg channel.

LNT & Partners is pleased to be a part of M&A Forum this year.

‪#‎Legal‬ ‪#‎MA‬ ‪#‎VIR‬ ‪#‎Forum‬ ‪#‎Vietnam‬ ‪#‎Acquisition‬

Other media: 

http://mavietnamforum.com/sukien/

https://www.talkvietnam.com/tag/nitil-jaiswal-from-bloomberg/

http://eventerbee.com/event/vietnam-ma-forum-2016,904791879630445

Roadmap to tighten the real estate: Credit is “loosen” until 2018

State Bank of Vietnam (“SBV”) has officially issued Circular 06/2016 to amend some articles of the previous Circular  36/2014, which will ease the real estate credit-tightening roadmap till 2018. However, many enterprises in HCMC have repeatedly sought for foreign capital to reduce the dependence on bank loans.

Credit-tightening on real estate has not been executed this year.

Circular 06/2016 was officially issued by SBV on 27th May 2016. It is the result of several suggestions, positive arguments from experts and the relevant authorities. This Circular will not immediately tighten the credit flowing into the real estate market, but it will stretch out the implementation.

According to Circular 06/2016, the ratio for short-term capital use of commercial banks for medium and long term loans is still at 60%. That ratio will remain at 50% in 2017 and will go to 40% in the beginning of 2018. The period of credit-tightening is delayed a year in comparison with the former draft. The risk index of receivables for real estate business will increase from 150% to 200% in the next year (instead of the increasing the rate of 250% as stated in the former draft).

Mr. Dinh Duy Trinh, CEO at Ban Viet Land, stressed that fact that the SBV has received opinions from the association, as well as from professionals is remarkable. Not only enterprises,  but buyers are also getting more confident to make investments.To respond to the petition of the HCMC Real Estate Association (HoREA), concerning  proposals to amend Circular 36/2014, SBV’s HCM City branch has also confirmed that the purpose of the amendment is to ensure the safety of bank credit activity and limit risks due to the enormous credit growth in real estate. However, there should be a roadmap to deploy the plan (1- 2 years) to prevent risks arising from the policy and affecting to bank activities negatively.

 The acceleration of foreign capital

In HCMC, from the beginning of this year, there are at least six foreign investment funds that have announced their new investment cooperation in several projects. Other signed projects have already been deployed.

Phat Dat, An Gia Investment and Creed Group (Japan) signed a joint investment in River City project with the scale of US$500 million, which is a typical case. Nam Long signed with Nishi Nippon Railroad and Hankyu Realty (Japan) to invest in the Fuji Residence investment projects. Tien Phat Corp and Sanyo Homes Corporation (Japan) have joined in a strategic cooperation project with their first product being the Ascent Lakeside project. Thu Duc House has cooperated with Pavo – the investment fund to invest in more than five projects in the near future. SynGience (Singaporean Investment Fund) poured 400 billion VND into Tham Luong Depot Metro project.

Mr. Pham Le Tuan, General Director of JSC Real Estate Investment Hung Loc Phat shared thatwhen the SBV began sending out their first message of credit-tightening, many enterprises worried about seeking for new sources of funding. In particular, investment capital from foreign funds is the most attractive channel to enterprises.

“Those enterprises that have not found a reliable source in replacement when banks starts to tighten the credit are forced to be more cautious in their business plan. As for our company, the ultimate criterion is to guarantee the stable development in our business. The proportion of loans in different projects is only 15% – 20%, so we are assured to implement several projects without considering seeking foreign capital “– Mr. Tuan Pham shared.

Besides the fact that domestic enterprises want to reduce their dependence on domestic banks through  foreign capital, Partner Thai Binh Tran at LNT & Partners Law Firm said that there are many reasons that lead to increasing foreign investment. Particularly, it is due to the openness of regulations on investment,  and capacity to own local real estate for foreigners. Savings rates in some countries, such as Japan and Singapore, are less attractive compared to the interest rate expectations in Vietnam’s real estate market.

Credit: VietnamNet

#Legal #RealEstate #Circular #Amendent

Regulations of Construction Contracts

Decree 37/2015/ND-CP dated 22 April 2015 on detailed regulations of construction contracts (“Decree 37”)

The Government issued Decree 37/2015/ND-CP dated 22 April 2015 on detailed regulations of construction contract (“Decree 37”). Decree 37 replaces Decree 48/2010/ND-CP dated 7 May 2010 on contracts in construction activities (as amended by Decree 207/2013/ND-CP dated 11 December 2013). Decree 37 will take effect on 15 June 2015.

Under Decree 37, there are many substantial changes that have been stipulated, these key changes include:

  • Supplementing some types of contracts in accordance with the nature of these contracts, and the subsequent relationships between parties and the contracts. Accordingly, with respect to their nature, contracts for supplying human resources, work machinery and equipment have been added. Depending on the relationship of the parties to the contracts, Decree 37 stipulates that construction contracts with four main contracts including a main contract, sub-contract, fixed rate contract and foreign construction contract.
  • Stipulating clearly the principles of signing contracts. The most important principle is that at the time of signing, the contractors must meet conditions for practice and performance qualification, as prescribed in the Law on Construction. This principle is aimed at making sure that the contracts are suitable for providing construction services and to limit risks associated with the quality of building construction undertaken by disqualified contractors.
  • Amendments to the rate of advances for construction contracts as follows: With respect to the consultancy contract, rates are divided in two levels, namely 20% of the contract value for a contract valued up to VND 10 billion and 15% of the contract value for a contract valued over VND 10 billion (instead of 25% of the contract value for every contract as stipulated in the previous decree).
  • Decree 37 requires the employers under construction contracts to provide payment guarantee in order to protect the rights and interests of contractors. Accordingly, the employers are responsible for proving their capabilities to perform payment obligations under the signed contract via such forms as approved by the capital arrangement plan, bank or credit organization guarantee and credit supply contract, or loan agreement with financial institutions.

By Vietnam Law Insight.

Disclaimer: This Briefing is for information purposes only. Its contents do not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as detailed advice in individual cases. For more information, please contact us or visit the website: Http://LNTpartners.com

New Regulation on Automobile Transportation Activities

Circular 10/2015/TT-BGTVT dated 15 April 2015 regulating on the responsibilities and handling of violations relating to automobile transportation activities. (Click here for the full Circular in Vietnamese)

Circular 10/2015/TT-BGTVT dated 15 April 2015 on stipulating the responsibilities and penalties with regard to the abovementioned; (“Circular 10”) is in replacement of Circular 55/2013/TT-BGTVT dated 26 December 2013 (“Circular 55”) on the same matter and will take effect on 01 June 2015.

In addition to the 4 main applicable subjects stipulated under Circular 55 including directorate applicable to the roads of Vietnam which are transport services of provinces and centrally-affiliated cities; transport business unit by vehicles, business units of bus station, freight car stations and rest stops, it appears that the commodity owners, longshoreman and establishments providing journey monitoring services are also governed under the jurisdiction of Circular 10.  Some certain noticeable points of Circular 10 are mentioned as follows:

Obligations of organizations engaging in the passenger transport business

By providing the specific responsibilities of organizations engaging in the passenger transport business, this Circular 10 is expected to help established businesses understand clearly how they must comply according to their responding scope of services. Of note, Circular 10 provides and explains the responsibilities of organizations providing equipment for journey monitoring which includes the requirement on the development of data explorer software under QCVN 31:2014/BGTVT.

With respect to establishments that are engaging in the passenger transport business under contracts or transport for tourists, it is required that such organisations are responsible for (i) signing one transport contract for each correlative journey; (ii) registering for and notifying the municipal Department of Transport of terms and provisions of transport contracts in case of using automobiles with the capacity of more than 10 (ten) passengers for transportation. Furthermore, the duties of organisations having business activities in bus stations, freight automobile stations, and rest stops are also stipulated in detail in Article 10, and favour the rights and interests of passengers.

Various types of penalties for different violations

With the principle suggesting that the penalties under Circular 10 only apply when organisations and individuals violate the responsibilities of the organisation, the management of businesses in road transport by cars, and road transportation supporting services, would not be remedied from the warning notice of the first violation or violate for the second time within 1 year, it seems that Circular 10 creates the condition in which the organizations and individuals can deal with, and remedy,  their breaches by themselves first before having the provided penalties applied to them under the laws.

Determining the types of penalties that may be applied for the breached organizations and individuals under Circular 10 is very clear. More specifically, the highest punishment applied to the breaching organisations that are providing equipment for journey monitoring is revocation of organisations’ licenses for satisfying requirements for monitoring journey equipment on a permanent basis. The lawmakers also supplement this with further punishments for transport business establishments. In particular, apart from suspending their transport operation routes for up to 03 months, such establishments would be suspended from conducting any business for up to 03 months in case of violation of provisions stipulated in Article 22.5 of Circular 10.

By Vietnam Law Insight.

Disclaimer: This Briefing is for information purposes only. Its contents do not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as detailed advice in individual cases. For more information, please contact us or visit the website: Http://LNTpartners.com

The New Law on Organization of People’s Court

Effective from 1 June 2015, the new Law on Organization of People’s Court (LOPC) was adopted by Vietnam‘s National Assembly on November 24, 2014. By the time the law becomes effective, its implementing Decrees and/or Circulars will also be ready.

This law aims to provide a detailed explanation for the functions, duties and powers of the people’s court. This review highlights the important changes in the hierarchical structure, duties and power of the Supreme people’s court.

1. Modification in structure of people’s court

In the past, there have been three levels of people’s court: the people’s court of rural and urban districts; capital city courts and the people’s court of the provinces and centrally run cities; and the supreme people’s court. Under the new LOPC, the structure of people’s court is divided into four adjudicating levels (LOPC: Art. 3):

  • The Supreme people’s court;
  • Superior people’s court;
  • Court of provinces and centrally-run cities; and
  • Court of rural districts, urban districts, town, provincial, cities and the equivalent.

The new LOPC has introduced a superior people’s court into the structure, which further leads to reforms to the duties and powers of other people’s court.

2. Modification in powers and duties of the Supreme people’s court and the Superior people’s court

Under the new LOPC, the Supreme people’s court consists only of the Judicial council (from 13 to 17 members including the Chief Justice, Deputy Chief Justices and other judges), assisting apparatus and training institutions. By removing the specialized and appellate court from the structure of people’s court, it is clear that the Supreme people’s court will reduce its powers over appellate trials.

There are four significant powers that have been entrusted to the Supreme people’s court (Art 20 of the new LOPC):

  • To supervise the adjudicating work of other courts;.
  • To make overall assessment of the adjudicating practices of the other courts, ensuring the uniform application of law is enforced in the conduct of trials;
  • To manage people’s courts organizationally and ensure independence of the courts from one another; and
  • To submit to the National Assembly laws and resolutions; to submit to the National Assembly Standing Committee ordinances and resolutions in accordance with the law.

Reflecting on the allocated powers of the Supreme people’s court, the cassation and reopening trial decisions of its Judicial council are of the greatest significance and importance, and come into enforcement immediately.

Furthermore, as for the appearance of the new Superior people’s court, its duties will be as follows:

  • To conduct appellate trials of cases in which the first-instance judgments, or decisions of people’s courts of provinces or centrally run cities within their territorial jurisdiction which have not yet taken legal effect, are appealed or protested against in accordance with the procedural law.
  • To conduct the trial according to cassation or reopening procedure of cases in which judgments or decisions of people’s courts of provinces, centrally run cities, rural districts, urban districts, towns, provincial cities, or the equivalent authority within their territorial jurisdiction which have taken legal effect are protested against in accordance with the procedural law.

The Court of provinces and centrally-run cities no longer have the right to conduct a trial according to cassation or reopening of a case anymore, as those duties have now been allocated to the Superior people’s court. The remaining court does not change its duties.

  • Plan to apply the new LOPC

To implement the new LOPC, the National Assembly Standing Committee (NASC) issued Resolution No.81/2014/QH13 (Resolution No.81) on implementation of LOPC on November 24, 2014. Resolution No. 81 provided further clarification for adopting the new adjudicating levels as regulated in Resolution No.81.

Until the effective date of the new LOPC, the Chief Justice of the Supreme people’s court shall prepare the organization structure, personnel and other necessary conditions for the new adjudicating levels (Art 1.1 of Resolution No.81). The Judicial council of the Supreme people’s court has to transfer its duties and power to that which is newly established, in accordance with the new LOPC (Art 2.1 of Resolution No.81).

In the Meeting on May 14, 2015, NASC decided to establish three (03) main Supreme people’s courts (in Ha Noi, Da Nang and Ho Chi Minh City) based on the current appellate courts of the Supreme people’s court. This will ensure the adaptability related to the structural organization, facilities and personnel of the new Supreme people’s court established under the new LOPC.

By Vietnam Law Insight.

Disclaimer: This Briefing is for information purposes only. Its contents do not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as detailed advice in individual cases. For more information, please contact us or visit the website: Http://LNTpartners.com

M&A Vietnam Overview 2013

Overview

M&A transactions in Vietnam have seen steady growth from 2003, fostering the country as a potential hub for economic activity which has seen strong development in recent years, particularly after Vietnam officially became a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Featuring crowded markets, stable economic growth and rising income per capita, Vietnam is still considered as an attractive destination for investors.

Despite setbacks of the global financial crisis from 2007 to 2009, corporate investment into and within Vietnam has rebounded, with the value of M&A transactions growing from 15-30% annually until now. In 2009, Vietnam had a total of 295 M&A deals with a total value of approximately US$1.14bn. By 2010, the number of deals had decreased slightly to 245 but with their total value escalating to US$1.75bn. In 2011, the number of M&A deals in Vietnam reached 266 with a total value of US$6.25bn, up 3.5 times from the previous year, and in only the first quarter of 2012, the value of M&A deals has risen to over US$1.5m with 60 deals.

The recent trend of M&A shows an increase in value with a decrease in the number of transactions. This may be partly explained by the fact that high interest rates (25% per annum at the moment) amid economic and financial crises have led to many distressed assets in the country. Meanwhile most domestic companies rely on loans as mobile capital and in certain cases to create fixed assets. This offers an opportunity for investors, including multinational companies (MNCs) and private equities, to penetrate into Vietnam through M&A.

The three most active sectors are consumer goods, financials and real estate. Among those, the consumer goods sector ranked first in total deal size at US$1.035bn (accounting for 39% of the total value), with financials accounting for US$453m (17%) and real estate for US$251m (9%). It is predictable that inbound M&A is more popular than outbound M&A. However, on an interesting note, the highest deal amount came from corporations from China and the US, but inbound cash flows came from Japan.

Earlier this year, Japanese confectionery firm, Ezaki Glico Co., bought 14 million shares (equivalent to a 10% stake) of Kinh Do Corporation as its first step in launching Glico products into Vietnam’s market. Japan’s Mizuho Corporate Bank Ltd. expects to complete the disbursement of over US$567m to acquire a 15% stake in Vietcombank, the second-ranked commercial bank in capitalisation in Vietnam. The stake acquisitions of investors from Japan have been seen in many fields, from finance, real estate, media and consumer goods, including acquisitions of 25% of Nutifood, 48% of Saigon Paper, 57% of Interfood Shareholding Company and 95% of Diana to name a few.

Despite strong growth, numerous key observations of Vietnam’s M&A landscape have been made:

First, Vietnam is still in the process of maturing its commercial centre with a majority of enterprises still considered small or medium-sized enterprises. Therefore, the value of individual M&A transactions generally only falls within the US$5-20m bracket. One of the most challenging factors for foreign investors is the transparency of Vietnamese enterprises. The spirit and commitment in complying and ensuring transparency after “closing the transaction” is an obstacle which must be overcome in order to attract and retain investment flows. Due to the transparency issue, investment funds currently only invest in leading companies. This creates a paradox whereby competition among investors in the same segment, and the cost of capital for investors, are increased. This creates issues for smaller businesses and inhibits their growth potential as they cannot yet gain access to investment capital.

Second, foreign M&A transactions in 2011 accounted for 66% of the total value of M&A transactions in Vietnam (reaching a value of US$2.6bn). By the end of the second quarter of 2012, Japan was the largest foreign investor in Vietnam, having engaged in approximately 4,000 investment projects. Despite this, however, offshore investments from other developed nations have not yet taken off as foreign investments are still being strongly carried out by neighbouring economies, including Laos, Cambodia and most recently Myanmar. According to a survey made in late 2011, weak macroeconomics is considered as the most significant factor of investment obstacles, with corruption and government red tape following in second and third places. Investors’ confidence towards the Vietnamese economy has fallen due to macroeconomic issues such as high inflation and the GDP growth rate.

Third, Vietnam’s M&A landscape has been faced with legal and administrative barriers, including a lack of transparency owing to insufficient disclosure of information of target companies from the public authorities. Furthermore, a lack of clarity on applicable investment laws has unnecessarily prolonged transactions, as well as seen a need for seeking third-party assistance to reconcile differences caused by this lack of clarity.

Finally, despite the fact that Vietnam’s accession to the WTO Commitments has resulted in a significant increase in flow of FDI into the domestic markets, it has seen numerous restrictions imposed on foreign investors – particularly those stipulating an upper limit as to the amount of capital permitted for investment in various sectors such as banking, retail and distribution.

Significant Deals And Highlights

In 2011, Vietnam was graced with significant M&A transactions in a broad spectrum of sectors – particularly in banking and consumer products. Given the magnitude of the transactions, Vietnam is observably seeing a positive trend towards foreign investment into the country. Some significant transactions include:

(i) Mizuho Corporate Bank Ltd’s acquisition of a 15% stake in Vietcombank, a transaction valued at approximately US$567m

On 30 September 2011, Vietcombank and Mizuho Corporate Bank Ltd (Mizuho), one of the leading financial groups in Japan, entered into a strategic partnership agreement under which Mizuho purchased 347.6 million ordinary shares at a value of VND34,000 per share, accounting for 15% of the charter capital of Vietcombank. This transaction marked the first success during the pilot process of equitisation of large state-owned banks. The cooperation with Mizuho puts Vietcombank on a new positive light. Particularly, Vietcombank’s financial capacity was enhanced and the surplus acquired from this transaction was VND 8.343bn. In addition, this opened a great opportunity for Vietcombank to exchange its experience in corporate management, risk management and service development with Mizuho. An interesting feature of this deal is that most analysts believed that Mizuho had accepted to purchase the shares of Vietcombank at a higher price in comparison with current market prices, despite the fact that Vietcombank’s share would have been sold at a higher price before the financial turmoil starting from late 2010. One of the key factors for Mizuho’s consideration in this deal is that the customer network of Vietcombank is diversified to more than 6 million individual customers and more than 74,000 corporate customers.

The M&A transaction between Mizuho and Vietcombank is expected to benefit both parties. It aided Mizuho in expanding its retail banking portfolio through Vietcombank’s system. Meanwhile Vietcombank can maintain its leading position in the Vietnamese banking market and expand its operations over the international market, as well as achieving the position of being one of the 70 largest financial groups in Asia (except for Japan) by the year of 2020.

(ii) C.P Pokphan’s acquisition of 70.82% of the stake in C.P Vietnam, a transaction valued at approximately US$609m
This was an off-shore deal whereby C.P. Pokphan (CPP) indirectly owned and controlled C.P Vietnam by acquiring Modern State, a subsidiary of Charoen Pokphan Group (CP Group) having a head office in Thailand, which was holding a 70.82% stake in C.P Vietnam valued at VND12,000bn (equivalent to US$609m). The remaining shares (accounting for 29.18%) were still owned by CP Group. CP Vietnam is regarded as a leading company specialising in the manufacture of cattle food and sea food in Vietnam, as well being recognised as one of the fastest developing enterprises in the South-East Asian agricultural market. For the time being, CP Vietnam accounts for 20% of the market share in respect of breeding food in Vietnam, 77% of the market share in industrial pigbreeding and 30% of the market share in chicken breeding in Vietnam. As such, this M&A deal was seen as a transaction to polish the reputation and image of CPP for the purpose of publicly listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange.

However, CPP’s aim in this strategic acquisition was to take the leading position in the Vietnamese market for cattle breeding food and agriculture, as well as supporting the chain of 78 processing factories of CPP in China in the supply of raw material for manufacturing breeding food and other agricultural products. This acquisition raised fears that Vietnamese enterprises are becoming targets for foreign groups in this sector, particularly in the South-East Asian region, to acquire. Due to their great financial capacity, it is inevitable that foreign investors would dominate and control the market in cattle breeding and food supply following the end-to-end process. However, the fast acceleration of CPP seemed to fall beyond the contemplation of domestic companies. According to the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP), the domination of these groups forces 30% of Vietnamese enterprises operating in this sector into bankruptcy. From an economic perspective, this is a positive signal which is expected to stimulate Vietnamese enterprises in enhancing their business scale, competition capability, technological level and so forth in order to survive and develop in this sector. Nevertheless, in practice it is impossible for a majority of domestic companies to pursue the end-to-end model such as that of CPP. As a result, their lower position in competition is evident.

(iii) Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. LP’s acquisition of 10% of the stake in Masan Consumer Vietnam, a transaction valued at approximately US$ 159m

This features an increase in PE investments involving reputable organisations such as Diageo Plc (acquiring a 23.6% stake in Hanoi Liquor Joint Stock Company (Halico) for US$51.6m from VinaCapital portfolio), Mount Kellett Capital Management investing US$100 in Masan Resource, and SEB Group acquiring a 65% stake in Vietnam Fans Joint Stock Company. This deal is by far the biggest private investment in Vietnam.

Through this deal KKR proposed that Massan acquire other enterprises in the industry, especially companies with strong business operations and a low PE ratio. The PE funds are disbursed during the period (cycle) of economic difficulties and enhance the liquidation and divestment in the market, exciting activities. Because of this aspect, the period of prolonged economic hardship in Vietnam today is a good time for funds to seek investment opportunities in the country. Many large PE deals have announced success in recent years to highlight the interest of international investors in the Vietnamese market.

(iv) Gtel Mobile’s takeover of VimpelCom in the Beeline mobile network joint-venture, a transaction valued at approximately US$45m

This deal reflects a different trend of M&A in comparison with the previous, in which VimpelCom, the second largest mobile group in Russia, decided to sell all of its 49% stake in the joint venture to local partner, GTel Mobile, in order to cut losses in early 2012. According to published information, VimpelCom will be paid in cash the value of US$45m to completely pull out from the joint venture. GTel Mobile will stop using the Beeline brand after six months from the date of the transfer. It is notable that GTel had only spent $45m to acquire full control of Beeline, where building the first mobile network in Vietnam was estimated to cost at least US$1bn. Hence, VimpelCom’s was perceived strongly as a move in cutting losses. Up to this point, VimpelCom had not announced how much loss it had suffered in Beeline Vietnam. However, one can estimate the magnitude of the losses in considering the US$463m that VimpelCom had invested in Beeline Vietnam.

This was a turnabout from VimpelCom’s announcement in April 2011 that it would invest US$500m into the Beeline in 2013, thereby bringing the total network investment to US$1bn, if it achieved its business objectives and obtained relevant approvals from the competent authorities. Therefore, the withdrawal of VimpelCom demonstrated that it was unable to create opportunity in the investment and was forced to sell its shares. There are various reasons to explain the failure of Beeline, such as its low average revenue per user (ARPU), saturation level and the diffi culty in expanding its coverage. However, many believe that one of the main reasons is that the appearance of Beeline with the impression of the BigZero package, which indeed had brought excitement and further innovation into the market, had caused serious concerns for major State-owned mobile networks (holding 95% of the market), such as MobiFone, VinaPhone and Viettel. These network operators had publicly asked the Ministry of Information and Communication

(MIC) to secure the mobile network from cut-throat competition resulting from aggressive marketing activities. In fact, Beeline was also unable to apply 3G technology due to technical barriers created by MIC and was forced to use the 1800 MHz band, which was more costly and less efficient than the 800-900 MHz band deployed by other operators.
The possibility of excessive state intervention to protect State ownership may be considered as a factor that foreign investors must consider in selecting the investment sector in Vietnam.

Vietnam’s Legal System For M&A Transactions

The economy of Vietnam embraced the influx of M&A activities within the country, following the State’s promotion in encouraging investment in 2000. From this year until 2006, these investment activities were primary governed by the Law on Enterprises, Law on Investment, Law on Securities, Law on Competition, and other specific legal instruments. For both domestic and foreign M&A transactions, M&A transactions must be conducted in accordance with the following legal instruments:

(i) Mechanism of transactions, amendments to licences/certificates and management of target enterprises after transactions are stipulated in the Law on Enterprises and relevant regulations, including Decree 102 and Decree 43 issued in 2010.

(ii) In some cases, subject to the scale of the target company after a transaction, investment registration is required by the Law on Investment and relevant regulations, including Decree 108.

(iii) If parties to an M&A transaction have a combined market share as defined in the Law on Competition of between 30% to 50% of the relevant market, they are required to notify the Vietnam Competition Administration Department (“VCAD”) for its approval before conducting this transaction. If the combined market share after an M&A transaction exceeds 50% of the relevant market, it will be prohibited. The parties must submit an application for individual exemption if it satisfies conditions stipulated under the Law on Competition.

(iv) M&A relating to shares/securities of public companies, listed companies, investment funds and securities companies must comply with some specifi c requirements of the Law on Securities and relevant regulations.

(v) M&A in specifi c sectors such as banking, fi nance and insurance must be conducted in accordance with specifi c laws and regulations. In addition to satisfying conditions for new members/ shareholders after a transaction, approvals of the transaction by the authority in charge are almost always required.

Despite the State’s promotion of these activities and attempts to reform placed on the agenda, the legislature has still been faced with diffi culties, in that certain inconsistencies in the law still inhibit the development of M&A transactions in the country. According to a survey conducted in 2011, the legal system in Vietnam was cited by 82% of respondents as one of the factors constraining their investments. Together with corruption, Government red tape, and infrastructural issues, the legal system has been cited as one of the top four concerns since the first survey. It seems that there has been no improvement in the view of investors, as the number of investors considering them as hindrances for their investments has consistently increased. Certain notes on restrictions against foreign investors are highlighted as follows:

(i) Restrictions on business lines and shareholding proportion of a target company after a transaction mentioned in WTO Commitments on services of Vietnam need to be studied. For instance, a company with more than 49% ownership by foreign investors will be considered as foreign-owned company and will face this restriction.

(ii) Under Decision 55/2009, only 49% of shares/securities are available for foreign investors relating to M&A of public companies, listed companies, investment funds and securities companies. There is a draft of new regulations to remove the cap on foreign holding ratio but however, to date, the draft has not been fi nalised.

(iii) In the case foreign investors acquire shares of domestic companies, such company may be required to conduct investment registration procedure. Foreign investors are required to make payment for the transaction by a VND account opened in Vietnam. In addition to these above restrictions, the legal framework for M&A in Vietnam still maintains the following shortcomings that may inhibit M&A transactions:

(i) The basis for calculating the “market share” in relation to an “economic concentration” is not addressed clearly by the Law on Competition and regulations so therefore, implementing this requirement on M&A has not been efficiently conducted by VCAD.

(ii) In 2007 when Vietnam acceded to the WTO, capital ratio requirements of foreign investors in domestic companies were specifi cally addressed in the roadmaps for a majority of key services. However, a few services have not been mentioned in these commitments and these services are approved on a case-by-case basis only. In addition, for the time being, the 30% restriction on commercial banks, as well as a 49% restriction mentioned in Decision 55/2009, are causing difficulty and are materially affecting foreign M&A transactions.

(iii) The laws have not clarified requirements on procedures of investment registration after transactions related to foreign investment. As a result, a number of difficult guidelines on this matter have been issued by the authorities in charge.

(iv) In relation to the private placement of non-public companies, a number of transactions which involve private placement have been delayed for two years owing to a lack of guidelines for implementing Decree 01/2010. As from September 2012, Decree 01/2010 was replaced by Decree 58/2012. While we are awaiting new detailed regulations to implement this Decree, it is expected that transactions involving private placement will in practice be allowed to proceed.

(v) The quality of the current Vietnam Accounting System (the “VAS”) has been lower than the International Financial Reporting Standards (the “FRS”), despite some parts of FRS being incorporated into the VAS. We note that in 2020, the VAS will fully comply with the FRS. Financial due diligence and transactions are being affected by this shortcoming. Furthermore, GLI – Mergers & Acquisitions Second Edition 101 http://www.globallegalinsights.com
LCT Lawyers Vietnam regulations on capital gains tax also need to be clearer in which the implementation of double tax agreements must be conducted strictly by a tax agent. The roadmap of 2012-2015 forecasts an intention of the country to sustain further development of M&A activities, and the following highlights are worth noting:

First, as abovementioned, legal reforms to the M&A landscape are on the agenda, which will aim to resolve current obstacles facing this area, as well as offer greater support to parties engaging in these transactions. Amendments to the Law on Investment, Law on Enterprises, Law on Real Estate, and Law on Securities will come soon. These amendments will be used as a stepping stone towards drafting detailed regulations. Of particular interest to foreign investors would be those amendments made to the Law on Land and Law on Securities, which endeavour to broaden the restrictions against foreigners.

Second, discussions are underway on supporting a decrease in taxes, in which the rate of corporate income tax may be lowered to 20% from 25%, and exemptions made for capital gains tax from securities transactions. Other benefits are expected to be made in an effort to encourage investment activity. Also, it is anticipated that improvements will be made to policies on managing inflation and currency.

Third, it is understood that Vietnam is on its way to establishing new appropriate policies on decreasing and avoiding red tape. A national database on enterprises and investments is expected to be implemented in the near future, which will bring forth much-needed transparency into the country. Furthermore, new regulations on the information management against strictly-managed, publicly-listed companies will assist in this respect. Although the country is still far from establishing directions similar to those of Asian global financial centres such as Hong Kong or Singapore, investors will be pleased to know that positive reforms are underway to reflect Vietnam’s shifting economy. Industry Sector Focus As Vietnam is an emerging market with a population of almost 90 million, M&A transactions have seen particular focus on consumer products, banking and real estate. Historically, these sectors have accounted for over 70% of the total value of M&A transactions in the country. However, with 70% of the population engaged in the agricultural industry, we anticipate a key focus in this area over the
upcoming years.

M&A deals in agricultural and consumer sector

M&A activities in the South-East Asian region currently focus on sectors of distribution, wholesale, retail of agricultural products, food and seafood (hereinafter referred to as consumer sector). These sectors are granted numerous incentives from the Government. M&A transactions engaged in the consumer sector are also based on a trend in developing the region, with the demand of consumption increasing day-byday in Vietnam. In particular, as demand in the consumption of luxury goods is rapidly growing, it has encouraged European and American investors to penetrate into this sector to satisfy enormous demands. M&A activities in the consumer sector are expected to remain positive in the year ahead due to a number of reasons.

First, the consumer market in Vietnam has been developing in recent years thanks to the country’s young population, with high demands of consumption and growing incomes.

Secondly, domestic enterprises engaging in manufacture of consumer products have encountered many difficulties in capital owing to high interest rates.

Finally, due to a lack of capital and experience, these local enterprises approach foreign investors for further investment strategies. Particularly, foreign investors such as those from Japan, owing to damage from natural disasters occasionally occurring in the country and the development of the country’s economy having reached its limit, also wish to invest overseas in order to maintain their capital and broaden their markets. Therefore, most investment in local enterprises operating in the consumer sector provides a positive outcome.

M&A in the real estate sector

M&A activities in the real estate sector in 2012 has grown in popularity, particularly in the first six months of the year. There are more vendors than purchasers in M&A activities as real estate developers and stakeholders are encountering financial difficulties such as funding difficulties and low liquidity.

Many domestic investors run out of capital to maintain their construction projects while stocks are kept at high levels. They are forced to transfer their real estate and fulfill their financial obligations to repay money to the bank.

Activities in M&A transactions in the real estate sector are very popular – particularly by way of selling enterprises with real estate projects. This trend is due to the prolonged and diffi cult procedures in transferring real estate projects in real estate-related M&A transactions. Therefore, acquiring 100% ownership seems to be the most favourable solution of investors, rather than solely purchasing the projects. This method can be easily progressed by purchasing the capital contribution and shares in the company which own existing real estate projects. This sector has also experienced an increase in the participation of local enterprises in M&A activities. However, one major obstacle for domestic developers is the scarcity of investment capital. It is uncertain when the real estate market will recover but however, we are certain that real estate market will be restructured after the economic crisis period from M&A transactions. Investors with strong financial health will purchase real estate and continue to develop it.

Banking

The banking sector is the leading sector in M&A activities, with many high-value transactions in 2008 to 2010. The success rate of transactions is about 30%. Under the impact of the global financial crisis between 2008 and 2009, the number of successful transactions in the past two years was very modest. However, in 2010, when the crisis hit hardest, this number increased rapidly. Particularly, nine M&A transactions representing 20% of the state-owned banks and commercial banks have been recorded. In 2012, the tendency of M&A in the banking sector is the same as in 2011. The majority of acquisitions have been conducted by foreign banks or credit institutions. The sudden variation in M&A transactions in the banking sector may be explained by three main reasons.

First, Vietnamese banks seek to find strategic partners by way of issuing shares to foreign banks or credit institutions operating regionally and globally.

Second, there is now a requirement to increase the legal capital in commercial banks up to VND3,000bn (equivalent to US$142.9m) at the request of the State Bank of Vietnam. Moreover, the rate of capital contribution of foreign banks in local commercial banks is not allowed to exceed 15% (this rate can be adjusted in certain cases subject to the State Bank’s approval).

Third, M&A is one of the State’s solutions in implementing the restructuring plan of the Government and the State Bank. Therefore, M&A in this sector is expected to further increase in the near future. Ownership of shares by foreign banks or credit institutions will become more popular in the near future as many local banks have not found strategic investors and many foreign banks have not yet acquired shares in local partners. In addition, the implementation of restructuring policies of the State Bank will lead to the appearance of new, larger local banks by the way of merger. While foreign banks and credit institutions have expedited their investment in local banks, in 2010, no Vietnamese bank will acquire shares in a foreign bank. With high credit growth, up to 28% in 2010,
local banks tend to concentrate on the domestic market and develop their own abilities. Therefore M&A over foreign banks or credit institutions conducted by Vietnamese banks will remain scarce.

The Year Ahead

The current positive trend reflects a positive outlook for Vietnam’s M&A landscape, which is expected to continue in 2012 and 2013. While strong interests from Japan are expected to be maintained, we are also seeing a gradual increase of interest from China and other non-neighbouring Asian countries. We are currently also seeing trend towards a corporate restructuring of small commercial banks, as the reforms aim to decrease the State’s retention of market capital in State-owned companies.

By 2014, we anticipate that almost all foreign capital restrictions imposed under the current WTO Commitments will be lifted, thereby further opening the market to foreign investors. While the growth of M&A transactions is expected to be maintained in the upcoming years, we therefore expect a strong dominance in foreign investment.

Consumer, banking, and real estate sectors will remain the key focus of the transactions, but those of State-owned companies and those in the agricultural sector are expected to enter in to the sphere.

By Vietnam Law Insight, LNT & Partners.

Disclaimer: This Briefing is for information purposes only. Its contents do not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as detailed advice in individual cases. For more information, please contact us or visit the website: Http://LNTpartners.com

Comments on Decree 139 & Decree 108

Together with a draft decree amending Decree 108/2006/ND-CP guiding the Investment law’s implementation, the Ministry of Planning and Investment (the MPI) is finalising a draft decree (the Draft Decree) amending Decree 139/2007/ND-CP on implementation of the Enterprise Law (Decree 139) which was hinted to take effect from this November.

This article streamlines some issues that foreign investors may need to be aware of in making their investment decisions in the future, particularly in relation to procedures for the foreign investment by way of capital contribution, purchase share, and establishment of enterprises with less than 49% foreign owned capital (herein after referred to as the “Enterprise(s)”).

Presently, there are different provisions applicable to establishment of the Enterprises according to Decree 139 and the Investment Law. Pursuant to Article 9.3.b) of Decree 139, in case of establishing the Enterprises, the investors shall carry out procedures for establishment of an enterprise in accordance with the Enterprise Law. The enterprise shall then register its investment project as same as domestic enterprises.

However, this provision is claimed to be inconsistent with Article 50.1 of the Investment Law stipulating that foreign investors who first invest in Vietnam regardless of percentage of their ownership in the newly established enterprise must have investment projects and carry procedure for registration of investment. In the event of conflict, the legal instrument with higher validity shall apply, and thus Article 9.3.b) should be void. Consequently, in practice the licensing authorities applying Circular 10725/BKH-PC of the MPI request that the Investors establish and register their investment projects which ironically, in turn, contrary to the provision of Decree 139.

Hence, one of the key objectives of the Draft Decree is to resolve the discrepancies with the provisions of the Investment Law. Indeed, the drafters have amended the Draft Decree in compliance with the provision of Investment Law.
According to Article 12 of the Draft Decree, foreign investor who first invest by establishing an enterprise shall need to conduct the investment registration procedures. The enterprise shall then be issued an investment registration certificate which is at the same time its business registration certificate. That means in establishing the Enterprises, foreign investors shall have to prepare documentation, including, among others, a statement of financial capacity of the investor, required for investment project with foreign capital stipulated in the Investment Law. Therefore, on the one hand this revision has fixed the inconsistency between the laws; on the other hand it creates burdens on foreign investors in proving their financial ability which would have not been the case if the provision of Decree 139 was to apply.

Further, under the current draft decree amending Decree 108, the foreign investors contributing capital or purchasing shares to established enterprise must conduct procedures for evaluation of investment conditions as stipulated in article 60 of Draft Decree 108. According to this Article, foreign investors shall be required to submit evidences of their financial capacity instead of submission of the statement of financial capacity as required by Decree 108. In so doing, the investor shall need to prepare a range of financial-related documents, such as a letter of comfort issued by a bank or credit institution attesting the current status of the investor’s bank account, a financial undertaking for the project or financial statements applicable for corporate investors operating for three years or more, to convince the licensing authorities that they will be able to implement the intended project.

One may take a view that making these amendments is actually taking a step backward in attraction of foreign investment in Vietnam. That is because the evaluation requirement will not only impose more cost on the foreign investors but also take longer time for the licensing authorities to assess applications. This concern is real given current workload of the licensing authorities in Hanoi and Hochiminh city. In future, if the draft decrees are approved, the workload of these authorities shall sharply increase meanwhile the human resources cannot be quickly trained to meet the increasing demands. Indeed, the draft decree amending Decree 108 has extended the statutory time-limit for evaluation from 15 days currently to 30 days. However, it should be noted that under the current evaluation process, very rare projects have been issued an investment certificate within the statutory time limit.

Another issue that raises the investors’ concerns in this regard is that these amendments would create room for bureaucratism. Even though the content of evaluation is restricted, there is no restriction that the licensing authority must not expand the scope of their evaluation to the extent required by law.

Further, two related issues that remains conflict between the provisions of Decree 139 and those of Decree 108 are: First, whether the foreign investors have to carry out project registration in the case where the ratio of foreign own capital exceeded 49% because the capital contribution of the foreign investors or the decrease of capital of the Enterprise. Second, whether an enterprise with less than 49% foreign investment will be restricted by WTO’s commitments, such as distribution enterprises are not allowed to establish more than one distribution point or foreign investment enterprises establishing a restaurant must invest in hotel business, etc. Unfortunately, these issues have not yet been addressed by the Draft Decree. Though, in light of above analysis, it appears that the mindset is in case of conflict whichever is more stringent shall be applied.

In conclusion, despite the expectation that the Draft Decree would further facilitate foreign investment in Vietnam, the provisions of Decree 139 were amended to stringent requirements and procedures for foreign investment. The reason behind these amendments was that there are many foreign investors have delayed the implementation of their projects and thus forcing the local authorities to withdraw their investment certificates. Given the time constraint, it is unlikely that the final Draft Decree would be significantly different from the current draft.

Therefore, to save time and cost, it is advisable that foreign investors should carefully select their investment project as well as prepare all required document, particularly those proving their financial capacity, before submitting to the licensing authority.

By Vietnam Law Insight, LNT & Partners.

Disclaimer: This Briefing is for information purposes only. Its contents do not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as detailed advice in individual cases. For more information, please contact us or visit the website: Http://LNTpartners.com

Levy on houses and lands

Levy on houses and lands should be imposed on speculators

In experts’ opinions, collecting tax on houses and land is not only an economic but also a social issue. When the country’s economy and the citizens’ livelihood have seen little improvement, applying another type of tax may cause negative reactions.

Dr. Tran Du Lich, Deputy Group Leader of HCMC National Assembly Delegation who is also an economic expert, in a talk show regarding “Draft law on house and land tax” held on 19 January at the Southern National Assembly Office, HCMC, asserted that the imposition of tax on houses may not be implemented for the time being, even in 10 more years, since the annual average income of the citizens still remains low at approximately US$1,000. The Government should collect only tax on houses from the business sector to restrict speculation, which has created a “bubble in the real estate market.

Having the same opinion, Dr. Le Net, Founding Partner of LNT & Partners Law Firm, recommended that heavy taxes should be imposed on those who buy and sell houses repeatedly. The closer the period between selling and buying, the higher the tax rate should be. For example, the Government should impose a heavy levy on the first transfer of houses or lands within 1 year (i.e., 50% of the discrepancy between selling and buying prices). The rate will be 30% for the second year’s transaction and will be reduced on a yearly basis.The higher the frequency of house and land trading, the higher the tax rate for this activity

If this succeeds, trading in houses and land in such a “sliding” manner will certainly be decreased. The Government may impose tax on land possession. If a land owner cannot use such land in an effective way, he/she must sell it due to an inability to pay tax imposed on it. If the land owner leases such land, the lessee will pay the relevant tax accordingly.

Ms. Nguyen Thi Tuyet Nhu, Deputy Director of Tan Vu Minh Real Estate Company, said that: levy on houses should not be imposed on those who own only 1 house but on those having 2 or more houses to restrict speculation. Controlling housing areas and valuation for tax calculation is quite complicated. For this reason, it is better to collect taxes on land first, not on houses.

Tax rate should be based on the specific location of each house

According to Dr. Nguyen Thi Thuy, Head of the Department in charge of Law on Finance and Banking of University of Law, Ho Chi Minh City, if a tax on houses is considered a type of tax on property to be collected when the houses are in use, this will be unreasonable. This is because houses for living will depreciate over time and owners will have to spend money on repairing or re-building. To avoid complexities of collecting housing, Ms. Thuy suggested that tax calculation should not be based on housing areas but on particular location of each house.

As for houses in Vietnam in general, especially those in urban areas, the location of a house will decide its value. Therefore, imposing tax on house cannot be “founded on” the house’s size but on the house’s location. For instance, a 100-square meter house on Nguyen Hue Street (District 1, HCMC) may certainly cost a hundred times more compared to one in Binh Chanh District. Moreover, houses in District 1 can make a hundred times more profit than those in Binh Chanh District. For this reason, many experts asserted that the particular location of each house is the main factor to be considered in order for an appropriate tax rate to be applied.

Mr. Trinh Minh Tan, Ho Chi Minh City Bar Association, proposed another solution: tax calculation should be founded on housing size, not on number of houses owned by one person. This is because someone may have only 1 house with an area of up to thousands of square meters while someone may have up to 3 houses with total area of only less than 200 square meters.

In addition, only houses of Levels I and II should be subject to tax, whereas Levels III and IV houses should be entitled to tax exemption (since houses of Levels III and IV have yet been considered standard houses). “Many houses, especially those in urban areas, are used for living and doing business too; therefore, these houses cannot be listed as houses for business because they may be used as a store in the day and a normal house at night,” said Mr. Tan.

By Vietnam Law Insight, LNT & Partners.

Disclaimer: This Briefing is for information purposes only. Its contents do not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as detailed advice in individual cases. For more information, please contact us or visit the website: Http://LNTpartners.com