Thursday, January 17, 2008

Vietnam's Gemadept to build $62 million port

HANOI, Jan 17 (Reuters) - Gemadept Corp GMD.HM has signed a contract with another Vietnamese company to build a port in southern Vietnam at a cost of 1 trillion dong ($62 million), a Gemadept official said on Thursday.

Gemadept, one of Vietnam's three largest container port operators, would contribute 51 percent of the investment in the port expected to be operational by 2010 and handle 50,000 dead-weight-tonne vessels, the official told Reuters.

Ho Chi Minh City-based Gemadept signed the contract with the Hoa Sen group, which would would contribute 45 percent of the investment, and other domestic investors would cover the remaining 4 percent, he said by telephone. The 55 hectare (136 acre) port in the southern province of Ba Ria-Vung Tau would be able to handle 2 million tonnes of cargo a year from 2010 in its first phase, the official close to the project said.

"We would raise the cargo handling capacity to 4 million tonnes a year in the second phase," he added.

Shares in Gemadept closed 4.35 percent up at 120,000 dong on Wednesday, valuing the company at $323 million, the 17th largest of the 141 firms listed on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange .VNI.

Vietnam's economy is growing at a robust 8 percent a year, putting pressure on ports to expand and upgrade.

Container volume growth of 19.8 percent per year in 1995-2006 would accelerate to 25 percent in coming years, industry experts say. ($1=16,106 dong) (Reporting by Ho Binh Minh; Editing by Michael Battye)