Hung Hai Group and Tokyo-based BNP Paribas Bank branch signed in Hanoi on April 20 a Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI) united term loan facility for the Nam Na 3 Hydropower project in the northern Lai Chau Province 's Sin Ho District.

Speaking at the loan signing ceremony, Minoru Kaneko, chief representative of NEXI Singapore which arranged the loan with Aozora Bank, Shizouka bank and Nishi-Nippon City Bank, said this had been the first time the 7.1 billion yen (30.9 million USD) loan provided for a business outside Japan as NEXI often offers trade and investment insurance services to facilitate and enhance Japanese companies' international business.

The 78MW project with total investment of 2.5 trillion VND (119 million USD) will annually provide more than 350 million kWh for the national power grid, especially northern provinces .

The plant is expected to become operational in the second quarter of 2014.

Kaneko said Japan 's investment in Vietnam has remained high despite the economic crisis.

He said several Japanese companies saw huge potentials in the Vietnam market and will expand their businesses.

Kaneko added that the project was located in northern Lai Chau Province , where rare-earth is extracted from the Dong Pao mine. The material has been used in Japan 's automobile industry.

"The hydropower plant will supply power for the rare-earth project which needs large power amounts in the province as a joint venture between the two countries," he said.

Tran Dinh Hai, chairman cum general director of Hung Hai Group, said they expect to receive attention from NEXI to their other projects as an investor in over 10 hydropower projects./.