Photo: Duc Anh
Chairman Dang Le Nguyen Vu removed as legal representative and replaced by his estranged wife, Le Hoang Diep Thao.
Mr. Dang Le Nguyen Vu, Chairman of the Trung Nguyen Corporation, is no longer the legal representative of the Trung Nguyen Instant Coffee Company JSC under a decision released by the Binh Duong Department of Planning and Investment on July 13.
A representative from the Department’s Business Registration Office confirmed the news with VET. “The decision was based on a dispatch from the People’s Court in Ho Chi Minh City released on May 13,” he added.
The business license with a seal bearing Mr. Vu’s name has been canceled and the previous business license, granted in November 2013 and bearing the name of Ms. Le Hoang Diep Thao, Mr. Vu’s wife, has been restored.
Ms. Thao previously sent a petition to the Binh Duong Provincial People’s Committee proposing the revocation of the business license with a seal bearing Mr. Vu’s name because the couple’s divorce is yet to be resolved by the court.
The dispute over control of the Trung Nguyen Instant Coffee JSC emerged last year when it was announced that instant coffee supplies were suspended due to machinery maintenance. Ms. Thao, however, sent documents to partners and authorities announcing that the suspension was primarily due to a dispute between her and her husband.
According to Ms. Thao, while waiting for the divorce court’s final decision Mr. Vu arbitrarily dismissed her as Chairwoman of the Board and CEO at the Trung Nguyen Instant Coffee JSC. She said the dismissal had no legal basis because the company’s board has three members but Mr. Vu unilaterally made the decision.
Under Article 13 in the Law on Enterprises, the legal representative of a company is its Chair or General Manager, who is authorized to represent the company and make important decisions on business operations, human resources, bank accounts, and the company seal.
Trung Nguyen Corporation is involved in coffee production, processing and distribution, operating under the brand name Trung Nguyen Coffee and is one of the leading coffee brands in Vietnam. Its products have been exported to more than 60 countries around the world, including the US, the UK, China and Singapore and the EU.
Along with the Binh Duong Instant Coffee Plant operated by the Trung Nguyen Instant Coffee Company JSC, the corporation also has factories in Ho Chi Minh City, Bac Giang province and Dak Lak province. It operates a nationwide chain of coffee shops and has granted franchises in other countries.
The instant coffee business brings in a great deal of revenue to the Trung Nguyen Corporation. According to figures from Euromonitor, in 2015 its G7 instant coffee recorded revenue of VND245 billion ($10.8 million) and was one of the three leading instant coffee brands in Vietnam.
The share of instant coffee in Vietnam’s coffee market has increased dramatically over the last five years, from 1.8 per cent to 9.1 per cent.
Last year Vietnam rose to fifth place among exporters of instant coffee, following Brazil, Indonesia, Malaysia, and India, according to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).
USDA also predicted that from the 2014/2015 crop Vietnam would be able to export 1.3 million satchels of instant coffee, or 78,000 tons, a 44 per cent increase compared to the previous crop. It put the strong growth of Vietnam’s instant coffee exports down to it producing the largest amount of Robusta coffee, which is often used to make instant coffee.
The large amount of foreign investment in the sector has also had a significant effect on growth. Nestlé, for example, has built coffee processing plants costing $80 million in southern Dong Nai province.