Vinashin aims to complete 64 ships, regain "prestige'

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Vietnam Shipbuilding Industry Group said it will complete a total of 64 ships this year as it strives to "regain its prestige and brand."

The group handed over 22 ships worth $241 million in the first eight months of the year, it said in an e-mailed statement in Hanoi Friday. It will complete 42 more ships by the end of 2010, the company, also known as Vinashin, said without giving a dollar value.

"The group is step-by-step regaining its brand position among domestic and international customers," as well as earning back the trust of the ruling Communist Party and the people, it said in the statement.

Vinashin failed to meet an extended deadline to make a US$60 million loan payment to foreign creditors yesterday, the Financial Times reported, citing unidentified people familiar with the situation. Vietnam and its state-backed companies will face greater difficulties borrowing money after the reports of the default, according to Moody's Investors Service.

Vinashin is certain that a company restructuring will allow it to raise capital to pay back the debt in a year, Vietnam News Agency on Dec. 20 quoted Chairman Nguyen Ngoc Su as saying.

The group expects to earn around VND23 trillion ($1.18 billion) from selling 216 affiliates, while the completion of ships and the sale of shares in several company units will generate further capital, the chairman said in the report.

Su declined to comment when contacted on his mobile phone by Bloomberg News on Friday.

The government says Vinashin had debt of about VND86 trillion as of June.

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