CEO Group cashing in on northern emerging destination

By Giang Son - Mar 16, 2019 | 04:16 PM GMT+7

TheLEADERSonasea Van Don Harbor City near Halong Bay will be focus of the group’s business this year.

CEO Group cashing in on northern emerging destination
CEO Group chairman Doan Van Binh is addressing its general shareholders meeting.

CEO Group is rolling up its sleeves to speed up development of the Sonasea Van Don Harbor City, expecting the mammoth mixed-use property in northern province of Quang Ninh will eclipse the success the group has attained with southern island of Phu Quoc.

“Our key word this year is Van Don, Van Don and Van Don,” Doan Van Binh, chairman of CEO Group told shareholders in an annual meeting yesterday.

“We will spare no efforts to develop our project in Van Don,” said Binh.

As part of the plans to build tourism property as a pillar in its business strategy in the next three years, CEO Group bought a 100-hectare project two years ago in Van Don island district, about 200 kilometres northeast of Hanoi.

The group has then won approval of the provincial authorities to expand the development to 350 hectares, with 2.4 kilometres of coastline.

Binh said Van Don was still at the early stage of development, which is comparable to Phu Quoc island eight years ago. “We can not find a three-star hotel room in Van Don at the moment,” he reveals.

Binh first came to Phu Quoc in 2010 when the island off the southern coast of Kien Giang province remained pristine with beautiful beaches and tropical forests. However, after the new international airport was opened two years later and new roads were built on the island, its tourism has been taking off, and developers have been flocking to the island to build resorts.

Since then CEO Group has been developing four projects in Phu Quoc on total land area of 450 hectares. It has opened Novotel Phu Quoc Resort, Novotel Villas and Best Western Premier Sonasea Phu Quoc Resort &Villas. In addition, the group has built and managed to sell out a number of villa and townhouse compounds within Sonasea Villas & Resorts complex.

Binh said he believed that Van Don would soon follow Phu Quoc to become a tourism hotspot in nothern Vietnam, as the area boasts picturesque landscape comparable to nearby Halong Bay, which is recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and among new seven wonders of the world.

New infrastructure in and around Van Don has been built, including Van Don international airport, Halong – Van Don expressway and Halong international tourist seaport, which serves as catalyst for tourism development in Quang Ninh province.

The developer of three infrastructural works, Sun Group, is building a mammoth integrated resort in Van Don, that will feature luxury hotels and a casino.

Binh said CEO Group wanted to tap markets that other companies had not exploited and “Van Don just fits our strategy”.

The group is speeding up construction with the aim to complete technical infrastructure of Sonasea Van Don Harbor City this year. It plans to sell the first part of the development, which is built as a pedestrian shopping street in Singapore, on April 30 and finish building next year.

CEO Group is teaming up with Accor Hotels to develop another part of the project into a “three brands in one five-star destination”. The Sonasea Van Don Complex will feature three hotels with 1,000 rooms to be operated under Pullman, Novotel Suites and Ibis Style brands.

The group is developing a porfolio of total 16 real estate projects in the country, aiming to provide up to 5,000 hotel rooms of five-star standards in 2021. It is expanding business beyond Phu Quoc and Van Don to new destinations such as Khanh Hoa province, Quang Binh province and Can Tho city.

CEO Group shareholders have approved a plan to raise its charter capital from current $67.1 million to $112 million. It will issue 102.9 million shares to current shareholders at the price of VND10,000 per share.

The group has set a target of $139 million in revenue and after-tax profit of $19.3 million this year, compared to $103 million and $16.2 million last year, respectively.