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Local construction firms eye Vietnam

By Ma. Elisa P. Osorio
Wednesday, July 30, 2008 [ philstar.com ]

Two Filipino construction firms are looking at setting up production facilities in Vietnam in order to support the country’s growing demand for construction materials.

Icoast Manufacturing and GT Stoneworks said they are considering investing in Vietnam in order to take advantage of the booming real estate market in that country.

The two companies said they realized the potential after they participated in the Vietnam International Construction and Building Materials Exhibition (VICB).

Icoast Manufacturing is a company engaged in the manufacture of misting systems. It said it is contemplating on building an assembly plant in Vietnam for parts and components that will come from the Philippines .

Meanwhile, GT Stoneworks makes stone veneers for wall cladding.

“In order for GT Stoneworks to determine an effective marketing strategy and to be able to have a better price offer to the Vietnam market, we believe that expanding our manufacturing activities in that country is a competitive option,” Kirdwin Cu, export manager of GT Stoneworks said.

Other companies who participated in the VICB were successful in sealing deals with Vietnamese firms.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) estimated that during the VICT, Filipino firms were able to sell $1.152 million worth of construction materials and recorded 500 trade inquiries.

DTI said buyers expressed strong interest on Chemrez Inc. maker of exterior insulation and finish system (EIFS), polymer binder, active additives, and concrete colorants, primarily because of its insulating properties and easy application on existing structures.

JEA Steel Industries Inc. likewise received numerous inquiries, since light steel frames for ceiling are widely used in multi-story building construction in Vietnam while the manufactured stone veneers for wall cladding EZ Rocks Co., Inc. received a number of inquiries because the concept of wall cladding is new in Vietnam.

“It’s a good thing that we joined the VICB. We learned the market requirements in Vietnam and we are considering future export expansion there,” said Glenn Chan, Sanyo’s Seiki’s vice president for Operations.

The Philippine delegation also met with the Saigon Construction and Building Materials Association (SACA). The 75-member organization found Philippine products attractive but suggested to design a different price scheme for Vietnam. Possible collaboration and business ventures may be forged as some of the SACA members are already importing affordable products from overseas.

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