Vietnam introduces timely support for businesses against COVID-19

Vietnam introduces timely support for businesses against COVID-19


Vietnam is taking measures to support its economy as the COVID-19 outbreak grows. Sami Kteily, executive chairman of PEB Steel, shared with VIR’s Thanh Van his insights into the government’s recent move to support markets and maintain economic stability.

What is your view on the government’s latest move to facilitate businesses amidst the COVID-19 outbreak?

Yesterday, when I was reading the headlines of one English daily that said “Over 28,000 firms suspend operations within two months amid virus outbreak“, I realised the gravity of the situation and I think the issuance of Directive No.11/CT-TTG comes at the right time.

First, in terms of favourable conditions for access to capital and credit financing, especially loans, I believe what the government is offering is very valuable, loan applications are very time consuming so it is great news for companies that need to borrow to survive during these unusual times.

In relation to exemption and reduction of loan interests, as a matter of fact, PEB Steel has already received interest rate deduction from at least two banks we are working with. I am not sure if this is related to the coronavirus and the PM’s directive, but whatever the reason is, this comes at an excellent time.

In relation to extending the time for paying taxes, social insurance dues, and similar payments to the government, this represents a big amount of monthly payments so it is very useful and will definitely ease the cash flow of companies who are in need. I just hope that other companies do not abuse the system and apply for an extension when they don’t need it. I take this opportunity to confirm that, PEB Steel, which is not affected by the coronavirus, will continue to honour all of its dues, if not even speed them up.

I can assure you that Directive 11 which came into effect on March 4 came at a good time and based on the discussions that I had with many colleagues at the various Chambers of Commerce in Vietnam of which we are members, we find that it was very welcome. The business community in Vietnam really welcomes the prime minister’s directive. We are very happy to see concrete action.

Is the move in time and efficient enough to help businesses cushion the impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak?

I think the timing is excellent. The government’s move to support businesses in need is very welcome. It is not late because I don’t think the COVID-19 has affected many businesses directly in Vietnam. I am just concerned that COVID-19 is creating negative market sentiment with many people already worried that 2020 is going to be a tough year.

In our steel business, many companies are complaining about the same thing. We at PEB Steel just want to make sure that the supply of raw materials from overseas remains stable. So far, we are still fine, we are signing sales contracts and there has been no significant impact on our business. It is more or less business as usual.

peb materials

PEB Steel always keeps a certain amount of raw material for coming projects

What are your recommendations for Vietnam to mitigate the negative impacts of COVID-19, especially on the business climate and capital disbursement?

I highly appreciate the measures taken by the government to control the COVID-19 pandemic. However, we should not exacerbate the issue even if more new cases arise. So far, we don’t have any fatalities from COVID-19 in Vietnam. It is apparent that the government has done a fantastic job of controlling COVID-19.

However, people still have doubts about what the government says about the exact epidemic situation. So, it’s very important to assure the people and boost transparency around COVID-19. We’ve started preparing ourselves to face the outbreak. Yesterday, we had a meeting to discuss how certain departments will operate from home in the unlikely case that such a measure is necessary. We must take precautions without overdoing it, otherwise, it would create a negative atmosphere that might hurt businesses.

My recommendation is to create a positive atmosphere, share the good news, not only the bad news. There must be a PR campaign to share information and tell people the truth about COVID-19. The main reason is that gossip, rumor, and fake news about COVID-19 tend to hurt. With more information shared, the government would let the people and the business community know the exact situation. Businesses would not have to deal with so much misleading information and would have a clearer picture of how things stand.

All in all, what it comes down to is sharing true information and taking precautions without overdoing it.

One specific recommendation in relation to banks is that banks are asked to extend immediate de facto loans to all customers who require it under LC that was opened in the past and are due for payment now.

* You can also view an article on Vietnam Investment Review @

PEB Steel's Overview (English subtitle)


PEB Steel brings loving Mid-Autumn to children


12 Sep 2019 – This Mid-Autumn season, the children at Tam Duc Heart Hospital had a chance to enjoy a Loving Mid-Autumn festival on September 7 organized by Heartbeat Vietnam and PEB Steel Buildings Ltd. Co. with much happiness and warmth even when they had just had heart surgeries or were being treated before the surgeries or interventions.

PEB Steel employees and CIS volunteers taking pictures with Mr. Adib Kouteili, Co-founder and Director of PEB Steel Buildings Ltd. Co; Mr. Rad Kivette, CEO of The VinaCapital Foundation; and Ms. Mai Lan, Vice President of Tam Duc Heart hospital 

Additionally, on the morning of September 11, PEB Steel representatives visited and gave early Mid-Autumn presents to the children and their families at the Cardiovascular Surgery Department of University Medical Center.

Representatives of PEB Steel taking photos with Mr. Rad Kivette, Doctor Dinh, Vice Head of Cardiovascular Operation Department, University Medical Center, and other staff of VCF and UMC

In the Loving Mid-Autumn festival last week at Tam Duc Heart hospital, parents of the children, as well as the volunteers from PEB Steel, Canadian International School (CIS), and Heartbeat Vietnam were filled with joy and happiness to see the pure joy of the children while enjoying the event. The children played with colorful balloons of all shapes made by the clown and the toys made from rice Tò he by the craftsman. Some children enjoyed eating the tasteful mooncakes and took part in the traditional games led by Chi Hang and Chu Cuoi. The joyful atmosphere of the event made us realize how essential it is to bring smiles and optimism to the children to heal their hearts beside the dedicating care and love of the medical staff of Tam Duc Heart hospital.

Mr. Adib Kouteili, Co-Founder and Director of PEB Steel Buildings Ltd. Co shared that he and his family had long been supporting VCF’s activities for many years and put all his trust in the social workers at VCF. He believed VCF would accompany him and his company to bring positive impacts to the lives of Vietnamese children, whose country he has been living and working for the past 25 years.

Mr. Adib Kouteili, Co-founder and Director of PEB Steel Buildings Ltd. Co; Mr. Rad Kivette, CEO of The VinaCapital Foundation

“These children I met today all become healthy after heart surgeries. They are able to play, to sing with their friends. This is a wonderful result of saving them just in time. The sooner we take action to help the children, the better the recovery process for them. I am extremely happy to witness the fruitful result of joining hand efforts of PEB Steel and Heartbeat Vietnam in saving the children.”

Also on the morning of September 11, representatives of PEB Steel and VinaCapital Foundation came to visit and talk to the children at Cardiovascular Surgery Department of University Medical Center. They were warmly welcomed by the doctors and social workers at the hospital. Coming to each room at the department to give Mid-Autumn presents to the children, the representatives enjoyed seeing the children play with adorable teddy bears, lanterns, and mooncakes.

Mr. Rad Kivette and Mrs. Tran Thi Hanh, Human resources manager of PEB Steel Buildings Ltd. Co. taking a photo with a girl preparing to get her heart surgery

We wish the children a lot of health to enjoy Mid-Autumn festivals this year and more years to come as this is part of the journey towards a bright future for them.

Baby Hai Dang just had heart surgery thanks to the donation from PEB Steel

Thanh Long, suffering from many severe congenital heart defects such as atrioventricular septal defect, double outlet right ventricle, Pulmonary atresia, Ventricular septal defect, Uni ventricular Heart, had successful heart surgery in August right after receiving the donation from PEB Steel. He is recovering from heart surgery.

Being ready to fail in order to reach the top


Being ready to fail in order to reach the top

A real leader is someone who sees opportunities in difficulties, learns from mistakes, and uses their knowledge to nurture the next generation of leaders. It is the mantra that Adib Kouteili, co-founder and director of PEB Steel Buildings, has consistently used during his 25 years in the steel industry. 

being ready to fail in order to reach the top

Adib Kouteili stepped foot in Vietnam two and a half decades ago fresh from his managerial position in Malaysia, which he described as a “comfortable country to live” for expatriates. Unlike Malaysia, Vietnam at the time was in its early development stage, and hardships were prevalent in the country. While many others scoffed at investing in Vietnam, Kouteili and his positive mindset saw an opportunity in the very new market.

being ready to fail in order to reach the top
Adib Kouteili

However, the path to success in Vietnam was not easy, as it involved a lot of trial and error. Kouteili used this sense of tenacity to set up PEB Steel Buildings with his brother Sami Kteily, pioneering the concept of pre-engineered buildings (P.E.B.) in Vietnam. Today, one of PEB Steel Buildings’ most well-known innovations on the market is PEBFoamTM, which solves the problem of insulation products with fiberglass that can be harmful to workers’ health.

Other innovations also came after months or years of research, observing the market, listening to feedback, and overcoming failures. PEB Steel Buildings is also famous for using convection mechanisms to improve ridge vents, which is important for ventilation inside buildings. Another example is replacing painted sag arrestors that are prone to rust and take a long time to paint or dry. The company instead galvanises these arrestors, improving their durability and appearance.

At first, the ground-breaking technology failed because it was vastly different from the one-size-fits-all approach to steel products at the time. However, soon enough, buyers in Vietnam realised that P.E.B. was superior to ready-made steel because it is tailored to each construction project.

The company’s hard work and perseverance has paid off. From a factory with less than 100 workers, PEB Steel now runs six factories in the southern province of Vung Tau, one factory in Yangon in Myanmar, eight sales offices, and one headquarters in Vietnam, employing a total number of more than 1,000 people across various functions.

The company, under the leadership of both Kouteili and Kteily, has served 6,000 buildings in Vietnam and many more in far-flung markets. The company posted a historic revenue figure of more than $100 million in 2018, which represents a growth of 30 per cent on-year.

The most recent achievement for the company is the VinFast automobile factory in the northern port city of Haiphong, for which PEB Steel provided the structure. The company is the largest supplier of steel structures for the complex, and is also the sole foreign contractor to implement P.E.B. technology at the site.

Kouteili said with a smile that 85 per cent of constructors in the market now use P.E.B. – an incredible feat in just a quarter of a century. From just one small group in 1994, there are now at least 200 companies in the P.E.B. technology sector, providing jobs to 750,000 people across Vietnam.

being ready to fail in order to reach the top
The Yangon factory in Myanmar was built with well-known innovations by PEB Steel

The can-do mantra

When asked by VIR about his management style and the secret that drove PEB Steel Buildings towards success, Kouteili replied that he believes in involving staff members in the business, and giving them the right tools and the authority to do so.

For example, anyone who complains about procedures or products at PEB Steel Buildings will be given a chance to propose solutions. The employee will then be given time, money, and a team to test these solutions and if they make mistakes in the process, they can try again. Kouteili believed that this approach turns “complainers” into “doers”, and inspires them to be strong leaders in the future.

“You have to care about them and involve them directly in the process, because they’ll learn much better this way. We make people believe they can do it, and I am very proud to say that many managers at other steel companies in Vietnam used to be our trainees,” said Kouteili.

To do this, leaders also need to have strong emotional intelligence, because the ability allows them to ask for market feedback, listen to others and learn from failures. This is deeply ingrained in the corporate culture of PEB Steel Buildings.

Regarding the possibility of “leaking” trade secrets to outsiders in the coaching process at PEB Steel Buildings, the steel veteran said that this reality forces him and the company to constantly innovate and part ways with competitors. As soon as people know about their trade secret, PEB Steel will come up with new technologies and methods – and of course, fail and learn in the process.

Leaving a legacy behind

In response to VIR’s question about his legacy, Kouteili said he would want to be known as someone who constructs not just buildings – but the next generation of leaders.

According to Kouteili, this will make him happier than any business results, which explains why he has been a strong supporter of training programmes at PEB Steel Buildings and across various universities. Donations made by the company to universities in Vietnam have reached VND1.5 billion ($65,200) so far.

Kouteili said his favourite trainees are those who think beyond themselves and their personal achievements to provide solutions to the market. The biggest lesson that he shows trainees is that leaders must be willing to improve, truly care about people, and possess a strong sense of integrity. They should also be open to new ideas.

This is also the message that he taught his two children, who are now teenagers about to start university life. The steel veteran allowed his son and daughter to experience the world via exchange programmes, and seek solutions to any missteps they made in the process. This is how soon-to-be adults can thrive in the bigger world outside of their home, insisted Kouteili.

Thanks to his achievements in the steel industry, Kouteili was recently appointed as an honorary ambassador of Lebanon in Vietnam, as well as earning commendations from Canadian business groups. In June, the businessman also received a third-class labour medal from the Vietnamese government, granted to organisations and individuals that have made major contributions to the country.

“I’ll continue to nurture the next generations of leaders in Vietnam, and I believe that this is the most sustainable way to go for the future,” said Kouteili.

Read more:

The Yangon factory in Myanmar was built with well-known innovations by PEB Steel: Using the revolutionary PEB HybridTM for rafters and mezzanine joists, new ventilation (R.V 5 meters) and insulation systems, and an eco-friendly painting line that guarantees that the building will achieve LEED certification.

PEB Steel’s Blood Donation Day: Through compassion comes love


PEB Steel’s Blood Donation Day, 31 May 2019 – When demand exceeds supply, the availability of sufficient blood is in an urgent need. Therefore, we encourage all of our PEB heroes to join in the meaningful Blood Donation Day to help save human lives. This is a precious gift for patients suffering from life-threatening conditions.

At PEB, we are trying to carry out many annual humanitarian activities in the hope that through such events we can spread love to the community.

PEB Steel Myanmar holds Grand Opening Celebration at Pullman Hotel


YangonPEB Steel Myanmar officially held the Grand Opening Ceremony for its first facility in Myanmar on March 29, 2019, at Pullman Hotel. The ceremony was held solemnly in the presence of representatives from local authorities, investors, constructors, consultants, and executive members of PEB Steel Myanmar.

Located in Thilawa Special Economic Zone (TSEZ), the 30,000-square-metre factory with a total investment of $25 million will feature the latest advanced technologies and designs to achieve a monthly capacity of 3,000MT for steel structures.

The factory will be put under the operation and management of an excellent team of engineers and supervisors, along with more than 335 skilled workers, to ensure the production of top-quality products, and contribute to construction quality in Myanmar.

PEB Steel Myanmar opened its first representative office in Yangon back in 1998. Over the course of 20 years, supplying products to more than 160 projects, PEB Steel Myanmar factory has been built to meet the rising demand for pre-engineered buildings (p.e.b.) in the country and overseas markets such as the Philippines, West Asia, and Africa, among others.

Board of Directors posted with delegates

Mr. Sami Kteily addressed an opening speech

The moment of Yangon factory was officially launched

Mr. Sami Kteily, executive chairman of PEB Steel Buildings spoke to TSEZ representative

Mr. Adib Kouteili, managing director of PEB Steel Buildings gave a name card to the guest

Mr. Nanda Kumar, general manager (operations) of PEB Steel Myanmar welcomed the guest

A traditional performance during the grand opening night

PEB Steel honored with our 6th Golden Dragon Award


Golden Dragon Awards 2018, 6 April 2019 – PEB Steel Buildings has recently been awarded the “Golden Dragon Awards 2018” by Vietnam Economic Times for “Best Steel Products”. The award is to recognise outstanding achievements in production and business and the significant contributions made to Vietnam’s economy. We are very honored being selected as a winner for 6th successive year.

This achievement recognises PEB Steel Buildings‘ efforts in innovation and developing the pre-engineered building industry over the past 25 years. We are thankful for our precious clients who choose and accompany with PEB Steel during the past time.

Truong Khoi Nguyen, General Manager of PEB Steel in Hanoi, received the award on behalf of the firm

Trophy of  “Vietnam Strong Brand Awards 2018″

About the Golden Dragon Awards

The Golden Dragon Awards were first held in 2001 to recognize and encourage enterprises recording outstanding achievements in business. Awards are determined based on production and business activities, service provision, the application of technological solutions for environmental protection, full implementation of tax obligations, guaranteeing of employee rights, and actively participating in social activities.

With a theme, this year of “New Prestige, New Opportunity”, Vietnam Economic Times, the organizer of both awards, presented 60 FIEs with a Golden Dragon Award and 94 Vietnamese enterprises with a Vietnamese Excellent Brand Award.

PEB Steel awarded The Highest Quality Design & Steel Fabrication Company certificate in Indonesia


ELECTRICITY FORUM 2019 Conference & Exhibition Event with the theme “Electricity Technology & Energy Innovation for National Energy Independence”.

In the recent launch of the 35,000 MW electricity project by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources of Indonesia government through PT. PLN (Persero) to accelerating the nationwide electricity programme, many activities which include Conference, Exhibition, Job Fair, and Awarding The Best Research Supporting Company has been carried out to promote the accomplishment.

PEB Steel is trusted as a designer, fabricator and supplier of steel structure in Indonesia with the best quality steel product. The customers are very satisfied with our service and products. In addition, we are excellent in providing after sales service. Therefore, 27th March 2019, we were award “The Highest Quality Design & Steel Fabrication Company” certification as ticking out several complex requirements and criteria including technical qualifications, competency, progress, and quality.

PEB Steel is honored to receive this award, so we are anticipating new opportunities of contributing in building great Indonesia.

Conference & Exhibition Event with the theme “Electricity
Technology & Energy Innovation for National Energy Independence”, 27th March 2019

PEB Steel was award “The Highest Quality Design & Steel Fabrication Company” certification