HCM CITY — A popular passenger bus company in HCM City has complained that a bank suing the firm has made misleading statements about the total amount owed, damaging its reputation.
The Việt Nam Construction Bank last Wednesday announced that it had filed a lawsuit against Phương Trang Group over the unpaid debt.
The company owes a total of VNĐ3.436 trillion (US$154 million) from 10 different loans, according to the bank.
The loans were disbursed by the bank’s predecessor, TrustBank, between 2010 and 2011. Trust Bank was taken over by State Bank of Việt Nam (SBV) after experiencing serious financial problems.
Phương Trang Group used the loans for bus purchases and real estate projects.
Đỗ Tất Khá, the bank’s deputy CEO, told Tuổi Trẻ (Youth) newspaper last Thursday that Futa Bus Lines, one of the group’s subsidiaries, had borrowed loans under the name of Phương Trang Group.
As a result, the true value of the company’s debt is more than VNĐ9.4 trillion ($421.33 million).
The Construction Bank decided to sue over the VNĐ3.436 trillion debt, instead of the full VNĐ9.4 trillion, as this part of the debt was secured with sufficient collateral, according to Khá.
He said the Phương Trang Group valued its collateral at VNĐ14.5 trillion ($650 million), but an independent auditor said the real value was only about VNĐ7.2 trillion ($322.72 million).
Phạm Đăng Quan, deputy chairman of Phương Trang Corporation, told Tuổi Trẻ that Phương Trang Group’s real debts with Construction Bank were VNĐ3.436 trillion, not the nearly VNĐ10 trillion that the lender claimed.
A report by SBV’s HCM City branch shows that the group only claims a total debt of VNĐ3.43 trillion ($153.76 million) through 47 different loans.
More details of the dispute are still under investigation.
The Construction Bank was taken over by SBV in February 2015 following continued losses.
SBV then assigned Vietcombank, the country’s top lender by market value, to help restructure the bank.
Last year the bank sold VNĐ500 billion ($22.4 million) worth of bad debts to the Việt Nam Asset Management Company.
The Phương Trang Group consists of passenger bus, taxi, and express delivery under its parent firm, Phương Trang Corporation, according to sources.
The Phương Trang Group owns Futa Bus Lines, the operator of numerous routes connecting HCM City with southern, south-central and central Việt Nam. — VNS