Vietnam struggles with $107mln steel complex in wake of shipbuilding scandal

By Ngan Hieu - Nguyen An, Thanh Nien News

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Cai Lan complex of steel mill and power plant in the northern province of Quang Ninh. Photo: Ngan Hieu Cai Lan complex of steel mill and power plant in the northern province of Quang Ninh. Photo: Ngan Hieu

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Three years after state-owned shipbuilding giant Vinashin was restructured amid corruption scandals, Vietnam's government still struggles to deal with a string of its dormant projects around the country.
In the latest case, the Ministry of Transport has asked the government to order "suitable" businesses under the Ministry of Industry and Trade to take over a complex of steel mill and power plant in the northern province of Quang Ninh.
The move came after Vinashin, or Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (SBIC) as it is now known, attempted in vain to resurrect the Cai Lan complex.
The project has cost over VND2.43 trillion (US$107.08 million).
Since a short test run in 2010, the steel plant, with a designed capacity of 500,000 tons, has been left inactive. About 95 percent of construction work has been completed.
The project's 39-MW power plant was completed in 2007. It was halted in 2009 also due to financial trouble, after managing to sell some of its output to Electricity of Vietnam.
Hoang Viet Van, director of Cai Lan, told Thanh Nien that after failing to strike a deal with foreign and local companies in operating the complex, SBIC tried to sell it but no one was interested.
Vinashin was restructured in October 2013, about one year after nine executives were jailed for mishandling five business deals that caused losses of over VND980 billion (US$43.52 million).
Vietnamese authorities are still investigating into even more wrongdoings at Vinashin, which had piled up debts of $4.5 billion by 2010.

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