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* Pledged foreign direct investment into Vietnam declined almost 48 percent in the first four months of 2011 from a year earlier. Committed investment dropped to US$4.02 billion, the Foreign Investment Agency of the Ministry of Planning and Investment said in an online statement Tuesday. Disbursed foreign investment gained 0.6 percent to $3.62 billion, it said.

* Sacombank, Vietnam's fifth-largest partly private lender by assets, reported first quarter net profit rose nearly 12 percent to VND452.98 billion ($22 million). Total assets as of March 31 slipped 1.2 percent from the end of 2010 to VND140.10 trillion, the Ho Chi Minh City-based bank said in a statement on its business results, excluding other affiliates.

* Vinamilk Corp., Vietnam's leading dairy product maker, said Tuesday its first-quarter net profit jumped 22 percent to VND1 trillion ($47.85 million). Revenues hit VND4.63 trillion in the quarter ending March, an increase of 40 percent from the same period last year, the firm said in a statement.

* Kyocera Corp. plans to invest 30 billion yen ($367 million) to build a new factory in Vietnam for making mobile-phone parts, Kyodo News reported, citing President Tetsuo Kuba. The Japanese company will begin production at the plant near Hanoi in late 2012, according to the report.

* The central bank unit in Ho Chi Minh City has asked the State Bank of Vietnam to stop non-credit institutions from receiving interest on dollar deposits, now set at 1 percent, according to online newswire VnEconomy, citing a bank official. The recommendation aims to help reduce dollar hoarding and speculation as well as increase foreign currency supply.

* VimpelCom Ltd. said it has agreed with its local partner in Vietnam on a financing plan for Vietnamese joint venture, GTEL-Mobile Joint Stock company, that may result in investments as much as $500 million through 2013.

* Vietnam, the world's second-biggest rice exporter, exported some 650,000 tons in April, according to monthly data from the General Statistics Office Tuesday. March shipments were revised up 38 percent to 896,000 tons, it said. Rice exports in the first four months were estimated at 2.58 million tons, up 17.4 percent from a year earlier.

* The Ministry of Finance agreed to allow airlines to raise airfares on domestic routes by about 20 percent, starting April 27, the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam said. Airlines had previously asked the government to allow them to hike prices of air tickets by 20 to 60 percent.

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