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* State-owned enterprises generated revenues of VND1,173 trillion (US$60.15 billion) last year, up 36 percent from 2009, the government said in a statement. The restructuring of SOEs must be stepped up to raise the competitiveness of the whole economy, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung said, urging them to reach an average growth rate of 15 percent this year.

* The outstanding debt at near-bankrupt shipbuilder Vinashin now totaled about VND70 trillion ($3.5 billion), Chairman of Vinashin Nguyen Ngoc Su told a government meeting on Tuesday. He said the state-owned shipbuilder is asking banks for a debt-payment extension as it is still facing difficulties.

* State-run coal and mineral group Vinacomin is selling coal to major Vietnamese firms at a very low rate, CEO Tran Xuan Hoa said on Tuesday. He asked the government to allow the price of coal to be determined by market forces.

* Car sales in Vietnam in January rose for the first time in seven months, jumping 48 percent from a year ago to 10,424 units, the Vietnam Automobile Manufacturers' Association said on Wednesday. The number of cars sold in January dropped 17 percent from December 2010, but the month represents the first annual rise since last July.

* Steel demand in Vietnam will rise by about 10 percent to 6.9 million tons this year, the Vietnam Economic Times reported, citing the Vietnam Steel Association. Power shortages, devaluation of the dong, and increases in steel billet prices in global markets are hurting production at Vietnam steel producers and they may increase their prices.

* Vietnam's seafood exports may rise to $5.3 billion this year from $5 billion in 2010, Lao Dong (Labor) newspaper reported, citing a forecast by the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Processors. Seafood exports may reach $5.5 billion this year, Vietnam's agriculture ministry said last week.

* The Asian Development Bank pledged to lend Vietnam $1 billion from 2011 to 2020 to develop water projects in the country, according to a statement on the government's website. The bank plans to lend Vietnam about $250 million this year for projects aimed at reducing water loss.

* Vietnam Oil and Gas Group., known as PetroVietnam, and its unit PetroVietnam Fertilizer & Chemical Joint-Stock Co. have decided to stop a $1.5 billion project to produce fertilizer in Morocco because its return rate is expected to be low, at less than 9 percent a year, Dau Tu (Investment) newspaper reported.

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