Vinashin to get Vietnam gov't loans to pay workers

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Vietnam's government said it would offer debt-laden shipbuilder Vinashin loans with zero interest to pay employee salaries, unemployment compensation and social, health and unemployment insurance.

The companies that the Hanoi-based group has transferred to Vietnam Shipping Lines, or Vinalines, will also receive loans from state-owned Vietnam Development Bank, the government said in a statement.

Vietnam Shipbuilding Industry Group, or Vinashin, came to the brink of bankruptcy this year with debts totaling VND86.6 trillion and the government ordered the conglomerate to be restructured.

The announcement comes as Vinashin company executives negotiate with foreign lenders in attempts to delay repayment of a $600 million syndicated loan arranged by Credit Suisse in 2007.

The company missed the first payment of $60 million on Dec. 20.

Moody's and Standard & Poor's have downgraded Vietnam's sovereign credit rating and cut ratings for Vietnamese banks, due in part to the implications of the Vinashin case.

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