Taiwan’s Formosa to pump $1 bln in notorious steel plant in Vietnam - report

By VnExpress   May 5, 2017 | 10:22 pm PT
Taiwan’s Formosa to pump $1 bln in notorious steel plant in Vietnam - report
Construction at Formosa's steel plant in Ha Tinh Province. Photo by VnExpress
The fresh funds would be used to expand production capacity and environment protection, following a toxic spill a year ago.

Formosa Plastics Group, one of Taiwan’s leading conglomerates, has announced plans to pour another $1 billion into its giant steel plant in central Vietnam, more than a year since the facility made international headlines for pollution.

Taiwan’s Central News Agency (CNA) said five Formosa units will contribute funds to raise the group's paid-in capital at Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Corporation in Ha Tinh Province to $5.5 billion from $4.5 billion now.

The steel mill is the largest in Southeast Asia, Vietnam's biggest foreign investment project and also Formosa’s first steel production site overseas.

The plant is expected to begin production by the end of June, following repeated delays due to local protests and charges for its pollution scandal, the report said.

Formosa now holds a 70 percent stake in the Ha Tinh plant. China Steel Corporation, the largest steel maker in Taiwan, owns 25 percent and Japan’s JFE Steel Corporation, 5 percent.

Work at the plant started in December 2013. Port and power plant facilities are scheduled to be added by the end of 2020, the report said.

CNA said the conglomerate has pledged to use the new investment for capacity expansion and environment protection.

In June last year, Formosa agreed to pay more than $500 million in compensation after Vietnam held it responsible for a devastating toxic spill that polluted 125 miles of coastline in Ha Tinh and three nearby provinces.

The pollution, first reported in April 2016, was considered the biggest environmental disaster that ever hit Vietnam. It slowed down the country's economic growth last year because the fishing and tourism industries were badly hit, official data showed.

The environment ministry said the affected region might need a decade to completely recover from the incident, while experts predict the disaster may set Vietnam’s economy back for years.

Last year the Southeast Asian economy expanded 6.21 percent, still among the fastest in the world.

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