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August 10, 2007

Viettel expands Cambodia business
Vietnam military firm Viettel will help form a commercial bank and a hydro-power construction firm to operate in Cambodia, Reuters quoted the official Vietnam News Agency (VNA) as reporting on August 10.

The unlisted Hanoi-based company would spend $1.2 million on an 8% stake in the Vietnam-Cambodia Joint Stock Bank, which aimed to serve Vietnamese firms doing business in Cambodia, VNA said.

Viettel, fully owned by the army, had also decided to invest 120 billion dong ($7.4 million) in a 5% stake in EVN Cambodia Co., which would build hydro power plants on the Mekong river, the VNA report said.

It quoted a Viettel official as saying the company was also finalising talks on forming a telecoms venture with Laos Asia Telecom and would hold a 49% stake.

Viettel's business in Laos and its new interest in Cambodia, where it already provides telephone services, mark another step in its plan to expand in the region.

Early last month, officials of the firm said Viettel planned to offer express mail and other postal services in Singapore and Thailand.

Viettel has become a dominant telecoms player this year, seizing about one-third of Vietnam's mobile phone market share.

It was Vietnam's first telecoms firm to invest abroad when it started Voice over Internet protocol (VOIP) services in Cambodia late last year, then mobile phone and Internet services.

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