16:30 | 18/11/2014 Companies
(VEN) - “We are sponsoring and actively participating in this APK 2014 event (the 14th Asia-Pacific Conference of German Business) which shows our faith in the Vietnamese economy. Apart from the insights that we will gain from the speakers, we also look forward to the networking opportunity with other businesses and particularly with our local, regional and global customers who have been loyally supporting us over the years,” said Linde Gas Vietnam (LGV) Managing Director Kasien Laiyakosit. He talked with Vietnam Economic News’ reporter My Phung about LGV as a successful German investor in Vietnam.
LGV Managing Director Kasien Laiyakosit (right) met Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang during the president’s recent visit to Ba Ria-Vung Tau Province
Could you share the achievements Linde Gas has gained over the last eight years operating in Vietnam?
The Linde Group is a global company with its headquarters in Munich, Germany. I am proud to say that since we began operating in Vietnam in 2006, we have established ourselves as a leading gas supplier in Southern Vietnam. We achieved this through a number of fronts – our customer base together with our expanding footprint, our financial performance, capacity growth and safety performance.
When we commenced gas supply to our first customer, Pomina 2 (formerly known as Thep Viet), we enlarged our pipeline customer base in Phu My, as well as our liquid customers from Southern to Central Vietnam. In 2013, our revenue was four times higher than in 2008.
In late 2007, we commissioned our first air separation unit (ASU), and in mid 2009, a hydrogen plant with underground nitrogen and hydrogen. In mid-2012, we began work on the second ASU which is the biggest stand alone ASU in Vietnam.
In the area of safety, we are proud to have marked seven years in operation without a major incident and lost time injury. This accomplishment was recognized in our organization when we received the regional award for excellence in safety performance in 2013.
What are your comments on LVG’s growth potential in the Vietnamese market ?
We have faith in the economic health of the country and the growth of the industrial sector. The obvious opportunities are in the manufacturing sector, but we also see opportunities in other areas such as healthcare. We expect that our business will grow at 1.5 to two times that of the index of industrial production.
The greatest challenge is the fluctuation in gas demand as a result of sudden and unplanned change in our customers’ production plan. Our gas production is a continuous process and cannot be stopped to cater for a sudden drop in demand. Hence, we have to vent the gas when there is low demand, especially from steel customers.
What is the strength of LGV?
Our strength has always been our ability to come up with innovation solutions that add value to our customers’ business. Linde’s technology consumes lower energy, helping our customers to bring down costs, and minimizes harm to the environment. Having the largest production capacity, pipeline grid and distribution assets in southern Vietnam means that we have a large geographical coverage and are able to serve our customers better, making us the most competitive supplier in this part of the country.
How important is the Vietnamese market in the global network of Linde Group?
A part of our group’s strategy is to invest in emerging markets, and Vietnam is considered as a growing emerging market. Our Executive Board Member, Sanjiv Lamba, who oversees the Asia Pacific business in Linde, sees long term potential in the Vietnamese market.
Could you reveal LVG’s sustainable development strategy for next year as well as ensuing years?
Our strategy will continue to be focused on providing innovative and quality products and solutions for our customers that also meet strict safety and environmental standards. We will internally continue to develop and groom our local people to take lead and sustain business.
What experience would you like to share with other German investors who are interested in Vietnam?
I will advise them to take a longer term view to their investments. There are obviously cultural differences and language may pose a problem. The business culture is also different. As Vietnam is a developing country, the business infrastructure and regulatory regime are still evolving. If you are a manufacturer, you need to choose your location carefully. LGV is located in Phu My Industrial Parks 1 and 2 which is a heavy industrial area. We have good infrastructure here with power plant, natural gas distribution center, seaport, and being well connected to surrounding provinces.