Vinalines says Vinashin asset-transfer talks still under way

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 Vietnam National Shipping Lines, the state-owned ship operator, said talks on asset transfers from Vietnam Shipbuilding Industry Group are ongoing as the government restructures the money-losing shipyard.

Vinalines Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Duong Chi Dung is leading a steering committee that is working on the issue, Tran Manh Ha, head of the shipping line's legal department, said Thursday by phone. The company will report progress to the government every 10 days, he said.

Ha denied a Lloyd's List report that the shipping line will buy 40 vessels from state-controlled Vinashin. The company will receive some assets following a government decision, he said, without elaborating.

The government this week suspended Vinashin's chairman as it begins restructuring the shipyard following financial difficulties. Vinashin doesn't have sufficient funds for some projects after customers and lenders were hit by the global recession that started in 2008, the Ministry of Transportation said July 1.

Calls to Vinashin Chief Executive Officer Tran Quang Vu's mobile phone were unanswered on Thursday. Officials from Vinashin and Vinalines have discussed the transfer of seven transport and seaport units, according to a statement on Vinashin's website.

Vinashin will sell 21 general cargo or bulk carriers, seven tankers, 10 box ships and two barge carriers to Vinalines, Lloyd's List said Wednesday, citing an unidentified official at the shipbuilder.

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