In 2018, the US made up more than 24 percent of Vietnam's tra fish export market, becoming the country’s largest tra fish consumer with import value soaring 54.5 percent year-on-year. China was second with a growth rate in imports of 29 percent, accounting for 23.7 percent of Vietnam's tra fish market.
This year, the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) forecast that the US imposition of tariffs on Chinese tilapia would create opportunities for Vietnamese tra fish.
However, orders from the US plummeted. In July alone, tra fish exports to the US fell to $167.6 million, sending US to second position after China, with 168 million.
The Dong Thap province-based tra fish processor Vinh Hoan Company (VHC) saw both revenue and profit in the second quarter slumping, down 9.6 percent and 7 percent, respectively.
In July, VHC recorded a 23 percent decrease in tra fish export value over the same period last year, to $28 million . In seven months, VHC's exports dropped by 4.6 percent to $186 million. The US, VHC’s main export market, saw tra fish value purchased from the company drop by 34 percent in seven months.
Falling exports caused VHC shares to fall. After reaching a peak of VND107,700 ($4.6 ) per share at the end of 2018, VHC dropped sharply to hover around VND80,000 per share in late August this year.
The Cuu Long Fish Joint Stock Company (ACL) recorded revenue falling 4 percent in the second quarter, reaching VND373 billion. After-tax profit rose by 18 percent to VND59 billion. Six-month revenue and profit still gained 13 percent and 50 percent to touch VND817 billion and VND113 billion, respectively.
Another tra fish exporter – I.D.I International Development & Investment Corporation – also witnessed a sharp decline in profits. Although 6-month revenue increased by 31 percent to VND3.7 trillion, after-tax profit slumped by 29 percent to VND226 billion.
On the stock market, IDI has lost 40 percent in the past year and is currently trading at VND6,180 per share.
The Hung Vuong Corporation (HVG), one of the biggest seafood processors in Vietnam, and its affiliate Agifish (AGF) also faced difficulties when the US Department of Commerce announced its final decision of the DOC’s 14th Period of Review on anti-dumping tariffs on Vietnam’s tra fish batches imported into the country.
Under the decision, the official tariff on HVG’s products is $3.87 per kg, compared to the preliminary level of zero US dollar per kg.
In the third quarter of fiscal year 2019 (April 1-June 30), HVG suffered a big loss of VND129 billion, while revenue fell 64 percent to VND527 billion.
In the first nine months of the fiscal year 2019 (October 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019), HVG lost nearly VND257 billion.
Its affiliate company, Agifish (AGF), also saw 9-month revenue drop 41 percent to VND 639 billion, thereby suffering a loss of VND118 billion.
In mid-April 2019, HVG hit its one-year peak of VND8,500 per share, but then fell.
Also in mid-April, AGF hit a one-year peak of VND6,900 per share.