Indebted Vietnam seafood firm to sell property to pay debts

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The head of a seafood company in Vietnam's Mekong Delta city of Can Tho that owes local farmers VND264 billion (US$12.7 million) has promised to sell its real-estate assets to repay the debts.

Tran Van Tri, who took over as general director of the Binh An Seafood Joint Stock Company (Bianfisco)  from his wife Pham Thi Dieu Hien, said at a press conference Wednesday that a piece of land and a house in Ho Chi Minh City would be sold along with a factory in Can Tho.

Bianfisco convened the conference after Hien, who grabbed headlines last month for organizing a slavish wedding for her son with a procession of luxurious cars and participation by celebrities, left for Singapore, reportedly for medical treatment.

Tri said the company would also sell Hien's Rolls-Royce car.

It would first pay off the "small" debts this month, while for the bigger debts, it will hold talks with creditors to delay payment, he stressed.

Asked if the company owed VND1.5 trillion ($72 million) to banks as rumored, Tri refused to answer, claiming it needed to be "checked and calculated."

He merely said it owed VND62 billion ($2.9 million) to Asia Commercial Bank and received notices from a couple of other banks demanding repayment.

Nguyen Dinh Cuong, Bianfishco's spokesperson, said that the company has more than 4,000 workers and that operations had been stable for the first nine months of last year before turning bad after banks pulled the plug on the company.

Tri said the luxury cars used at his son's wedding on February 19 belonged to his friends.

Hien herself had told the media earlier that the extravagant ceremony was aimed at proving that she was not in debt.

Meanwhile, the O Mon District People's Court told Thanh Nien that two HCMC-based companies and a farmer have filed suits against Bianfishco, demanding settlement of debts worth nearly VND21 billion ($1 million).

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