Vietnam's Vinashin finishes Natixis debt repayment

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Vietnam's state shipbuilder Vinashin has completed repaying its debt to French bank Natixis, using funds from the Vietnamese government's overseas bonds for part of the settlements, a government official said on Thursday.

Vinashin, which has been near bankruptcy, used the bond proceeds to repay the remaining $3 million in the $25 million loan the French bank extended, Deputy Transport Minister Nguyen Hong Truong told a news conference.

"The group has now completed the debt settling duty with Natixis Bank," he said.

The overextended state conglomerate has racked up some $4.5 billion in debt, leading the government in July to reorganize the firm and later arrest several executives for mismanagement.

Truong rejected state-run media reports this month which said the government may allow Vinashin to use as much as $300 million from the $1 billion 10-year bond issued in January to settle the debt with Natixis.

Vinashin has raised $75 million by selling five ships and planned to sell another 35 ships to raise an estimated $160 million by the year's end, Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, head of the government's office, told the conference.

The government has also injected funds worth nearly $130 million to help Vinashin complete its shipbuilding orders and ensure their delivery this year.

Vinashin has projected turning a profit in 2013-2014 after losses expected in 2011-2012.

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