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Seafood processor faces massive debt problem

Update: April, 11/2012 - 10:40

HCM CITY — The Binh An Seafood Joint Stock Co (Bianfishco) owes a total of VND1.6 trillion (US$76.2 million) to banks, the social insurance fund, farmers and several companies, according to a representative of the Can Tho People's Committee.

The debt is based on 2010's audit result. According to the 2010 figure, the total value of the company was around VND2 trillion ($100 million).

The representative from the Can Tho People's Committee, speaking at a recent press meeting, said that since April 2007 when the company was established to 2011, Binh An company had developed well.

It had $42.8 million in export turnover in 2010 and $47.6 million in 2011.

However, in the middle of last year, the company faced financial difficulties due to limited credit, and banks refused to lend.

"The company used short-term capital for long-term investments," said Vo Thanh Hung, head of a task force that investigated the company.

"However, the company hasn't been brought to court because police haven't found any criminal evidence," the chairman of the Can Tho People's Committee, Nguyen Thanh Son, was quoted as saying in Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

Son also said that enterprises operated under the Business Law and the court should decide if Binh An company was bankrupt.

The company said it wished to delay debt payments from banks and reset prices to get a bigger loan.

"We would like to help the company but Binh An company does not co-operate. They must submit the 2011 audit results in order to get the best solution," Son reportedly added.

The People's Committee representative declined to reply to a question about the health of Pham Thi Dieu Hien, general director and president of the company, who is in California. The representative also refused to talk about Hien's assets in the US.

Early last month, Bianfishco was repeatedly asked to pay back its loans to banks, its partners and local farmers.

Hien has gone abroad to seek treatment for an "incurable disease". Her husband, Tran Van Tri, is temporarily managing the company during her absence.

The representative said she might be asked to return so that all of the financial problems could be solved. — VNS

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