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* Vietnam may export 7.2 million tons of rice in 2012, the government said in a statement on its website Wednesday, citing the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. The government forecast that the country may produce 41.52 million tons of unmilled rice next year. Unmilled production this year is estimated at 41.57 million tons, the government said. 

* Refrigeration Electrical Engineering Corp., the Vietnamese maker of Reetech air-conditioners, expects profit and sales to rise 15 percent next year as it invests in hydropower and real estate to pare its reliance on manufacturing. The Ho Chi Minh City-based company has stakes in Thac Ba Hydropower Joint-Stock Co. and Thac Mo Hydropower Plant Joint-Stock Co., as well as investments in banking and real estate. It expects to rebound from less-than-forecast first-half earnings to meet its VND600 billion (US$29 million) target for pretax profit this year.

* Vietnam has imported $1.5 billion of gold in the January-September period, Tien Phong newspaper reported, citing the Ministry of Industry and Trade. The nation imported about $600 million of gold in September alone, according to the report.

* Vinpearl Joint-Stock Co. will be merged into Vincom Joint-Stock Co., according to a statement from the companies. Vinpearl's shares will be converted into Vincom stock, according to the statement, which did not provide a timeframe for the move. The new company will be called Vingroup, the statement said.

* Brazil's trade ministry will investigate imports of shoe parts from China and of shoes from Indonesia and Vietnam, the ministry said Tuesday. The ministry will investigate whether exporters of those countries are adopting practices to circumvent Brazilian trade defense measures, according to the statement.

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