Hoa Phat to beat earnings target on lower rates, deputy CEO says

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Hoa Phat Group, Vietnam's biggest steel producer by market value, will probably exceed its 2013 earnings forecast as borrowing costs fall, Deputy General Director Nguyen Thi Thao Nguyen said.

The Hanoi-based company estimates net income in the first half was as much as 75 percent of its full-year target, Nguyen said in a telephone interview yesterday. Hoa Phat had predicted profit of 1.2 trillion dong ($56.5 million) this year in a March 29 statement on its website. The average net income estimate of five analysts tracked by Bloomberg is 1.43 trillion dong.

"We expect to beat earnings targets this year," Nguyen said. "It's totally feasible."

Vietnam's central bank has cut its refinancing rate eight times since March 2012 to spur economic growth. Gross domestic product expanded 5.25 percent last year, the slowest pace since at least 2005, according to revised figures from the General Statistics Office. Hoa Phat shares have rallied 31 percent this year, outpacing the 17 percent gain in the benchmark VN Index.

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