Central Vietnam steel plant sold for ‘peanuts’

By Duc Hung   April 28, 2019 | 11:46 pm PT
Central Vietnam steel plant sold for ‘peanuts’
Van Loi Steel Mill was licensed to operate in June 2007 with a registered capital of VND1.7 trillion ($73.3 million). Photo by VnExpress/Duc Hung
The Van Loi Steel Mill, deserted for eight years, has auctioned off for just 10 percent of its investment value.

The plant in central Ha Tinh Province was recently auctioned in coordination with the district civil judgment enforcement authorities. Bids from 23 different buyers were submitted, with a starting bid of VND108 billion ($4.64 million).

The auction took the form of a ballot bid, meaning all interested parties submitted their maximum auction bid just once to avoid back and forth "penny bidding". This was done over several rounds to single out a winning bid.

After 11 rounds, Nguyen Minh Hoang Phuong Vu, director of Nhon Tan Warehouse Investment and Development JSC (based in central Binh Dinh Province), was declared the winner with a bid of over VND205 billion ($8.83 million).

Vu declined to comment on how he plans to deal with the steel mill.

Meanwhile, a senior executive of a bank involved in the proceedings said that the proceeds will be distributed pro-rata to creditors of the steel mill’s investors.

Van Loi Steel Mill, which spans an area of 26 hectares (64.2 acres), was licensed to operate in June 2007 with a registered capital of VND1.7 trillion ($73.3 million).

Its investors, Ha Tinh Steel Jsc and a few other companies and individuals, had set a target to produce its first steel billet in August 2010.

However, project construction failed to meet deadlines in the 2007-2010 period because investors lacked funds. They later borrowed over VND700 billion ($30.2 million) from three banks to carry on the project.

Since 2010, the unfinished plant has been left deserted, and the machinery and equipment has rusted.

With no substantial progress seen even after the loan, the provincial administration decided to revoke the project license in May 2015.

After the auction, the project’s land will be returned to Ha Tinh Province and be allotted to new investors who are interested in using it.

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