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WORLD BUSINESS

Vietnam shipbuilder wins $1B deal

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Vietnam is one of the fastest growing economies in East Asia.

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HANOI, Vietnam (Reuters) -- Vietnam's state-run shipbuilder, Vinashin, has won a contract worth $1 billion to build eight car carriers for an Israeli firm, company officials said on Wednesday.

The Vietnam News daily newspaper quoted the unlisted Vinashin as saying the car carriers, designed by Italy's Naval Progetti Company, can carry up to 4,500 cars each.

Deliveries would start from September 2008.

Vinashin officials confirmed the deal with Ray Car Carriers Ltd. of Israel but declined to give details.

The contract is Vinashin's biggest ship building deal so far. The company had revenues of $491 million last year but planned to double that to $1 billion this year.

Company officials have said they wanted to focus on oil tanker business to meet robust demand at home and abroad.

Last month Petrovietnam awarded Vinashin the first contract to build a 100,000-deadweight-tonne crude tanker to be used by the country's first oil refinery.

Vinashin has also teamed up with a number of large overseas ship builders, including a joint venture with South Korea's Hyundai Corp., to build and repair vessels at its yards along Vietnam's 2,000-km coastline.

The firm plans to offer corporate bonds on international markets to raise more than $2 billion to expand its shipbuilding capacity by 2010, Vinashin officials said.

Last year, Vinashin was the sole recipient of the proceeds totalling $750 million from Vietnam's maiden sovereign bond sale.

It plans to invest up to $650 million so that 60 percent of the content of the ships it builds are built at local yards.

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