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* Preparations for a competitive power generation market are almost complete, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade. However, independent power plants are concerned about the lack of a level playing field when the competitive power generation market mechanism begins this July, because state utility Electricity of Vietnam is the sole trader, a trade ministry meeting heard.

* Rice shipments from Vietnam, the world's second-largest exporter, jumped 20 percent this year through May 12 to 2.75 million tons, the government said. Shipments were 178,539 tons between May 1 and May 12, the government said on its website, citing the Vietnam Food Association. Vietnam may export as much as 7.4 million tons of rice this year, the agricultural ministry said on April 8.

* German retailer Metro is set to open six more supermarkets in Vietnam in coming years to add to the existing 13 facilities, Dau Tu (Investment) newspaper reported on Wednesday, citing Metro Cash & Carry Vietnam managing director Randy Guttery.

* BIDV, Vietnam's second-largest state-run lender by assets, said net profit in 2010 jumped 33.3 percent to VND3.76 trillion (US$181.2 million) as lending rose by nearly a quarter. Total assets of the unlisted, Hanoi-based bank at the end of last year rose 23.6 percent to VND366.27 trillion. BIDV said in March it plans to step up its privatization process. The plan has been on hold for several years.

* Vinpearl Joint-Stock Co., a tourism company which owns a resort complex in the coastal town of Nha Trang, reported its first-quarter consolidated profit jumped to VND64.1 billion ($3.09 million) from VND3.82 billion in the same period last year, according to a filing on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange's website.

* The Ministry of Industry and Trade has announced a new rule requiring car importers to show proof that they are authorized dealers of the foreign carmakers they buy from. Beginning June 26, importers of new cars of less than nine seats must submit documents showing they have been authorized by foreign auto companies to sell the cars in Vietnam. The documents have to be verified by Vietnamese diplomatic representatives.

* Petrovietnam Exploration Production Corp. said it had acquired all stakes of Burlington Resources Peru Ltd, a unit of ConocoPhillips, in the onshore oil block-39 in Peru. It gave no value for the deal.

* Indochina Energy & Industry Co., a unit of IC Holding Vietnam, started building a $390 million solar panel factory in the central province of Quang Nam, Vietnam News Agency reported on May 14. The factory will have a production capacity of 120 megawatts a year and will be completed in a year. The solar panels will be exported.

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