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Oct 19, 2023 / 15:31

Saudi’s major corporations plan to expand investment in Vietnam

The Vietnamese Government is committed to safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests of investors, guided by the principle of mutual benefit and risk sharing.

Executives of major Saudi companies have expressed their intention to increase investments in Vietnam, focusing on sectors of steel production, prefabricated steel structures, retail, agriculture, and renewable energy.

 Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and Zamil President Abdularahma Al Zamil. Photos: Nhat Bac/VGP

They gave their views during various meetings between leaders of Zamil, Lulu, and Ajlan & Bros with Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on October 18, who is currently on a trip to Saudi Arabia to participate in the ASEAN-Gulf Corporation Council (GCC) Summit.

During the meeting with the Prime Minister, Zamil President Abdularahma Al Zamil briefed the guest on the company's strategic direction for growth in the Vietnamese market.

Zamil Steel, a subsidiary of the Zamil Group specializing in the production of pre-engineered steel buildings, currently operates two factories in Vietnam with a combined annual capacity of 120,000 tons. The company has established a robust business presence in 10 Southeast Asian countries and Bangladesh.

Prime Minister Chinh appreciated Zamil's significant role as the largest direct investor in Vietnam from Saudi Arabia and the wider Middle East region.

Chinh urged Zamil to consider expanding their investments and manufacturing activities in Vietnam, emphasizing the importance of incorporating innovative, modern, high-tech, and environmentally sustainable technologies.

"The Vietnamese market has a lot to offer, given its increasingly sophisticated logistics infrastructure and seamless connectivity to major regional and global markets," Chinh said.

He also hoped that Zamil would be a catalyst for other Saudi Arabian businesses to come to Vietnam for investment, production, and trade.

In response, Abdularahma Al Zamil expressed his group's commitment to expanding its investments in Vietnam. He hoped the government would create favorable conditions for the group's products to be exported to other ASEAN countries through Vietnam.

Founded in 1920, Zamil Group is one of Saudi Arabia's largest industrial conglomerates, with operations in steel, plastics, paint, heavy industrial equipment, shipbuilding, and repair. The group boasts a global workforce of 21,000 employees operating in 60 countries worldwide.

 Prime Minister Chinh and Director of Lulu Group Shehim Kottilingal. 

On the same day, Chinh held a meeting with Shehim Kottilingal, the Director of Lulu Group, which owns and operates retail chains and supermarkets in over 23 countries.

Kottilingal informed the Prime Minister that the group presently imports approximately 30% of fresh lemons and 40% of Vietnamese cashew nuts for sale in the Saudi Arabian market.

Lulu Group has plans to expand its agro-product processing facility in Vietnam and increase imports of various Vietnamese products, including fish, vegetables, and food products, said Kottilingal.

He requested the Vietnamese Government's support in granting permits for factory expansion and the import of agricultural products. The Lulu representative also expressed his expectation for a direct flight route between Vietnam and Saudi Arabia, which would facilitate the import of fresh produce, vegetables, and fruits.

Prime Minister Chinh commended Lulu Group for serving as an important bridge to introduce high-quality Vietnamese products to Saudi Arabian consumers through its extensive supermarket network. He assured that the Government would facilitate the necessary approvals for the group's factory expansion and work with relevant ministries and agencies to study the opening of a direct flight route between Vietnam and Saudi Arabia.

"The Government is committed to safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests of investors, guided by the principle of mutual benefit and risk sharing," Chinh said.

 Prime Minister Chinh and Deputy Managing Director of Ajlan & Bros Company Ali Al-Khatib. 

Meanwhile, Ali Al-Khatib, Deputy Managing Director of Ajlan & Bros Company, outlined the company's intentions to undertake long-term investment projects in Vietnam, particularly in rice, renewable energy, and real estate sectors.

Chinh welcomed Ajlan & Bros' plans to collaborate with Vietnamese businesses shortly and pledged to create a conducive environment for the group to expand its cooperation and business activities in Vietnam.

The Vietnamese Prime Minister's visit to Saudi Arabia and participation in the first ASEAN-GCC Summit, held from October 18-20, marked a significant milestone. It was the first time leaders of ASEAN and GCC countries met in 33 years since establishing their relations. The leaders are expected to endorse a joint declaration after the summit.

Saudi Arabia holds a crucial position as one of Vietnam's primary economic partners in the Middle East. In the first nine months of the current year, the bilateral trade turnover between the two countries reached $2.05 billion, equivalent to 78% of 2022. Numerous Saudi Arabian companies are making direct and indirect investments in Vietnam, while around 4,000-5,000 Vietnamese workers are working in the Middle Eastern country.