China's state-owned CITIC Group Corp. is ready to repay a €450 million debt owed by the European unit of CEFC China Energy Co. Ltd. to Czech Republic-based J&T Finance Group SE, news portal Seznam Zprávy reported May 9, citing CEFC Europe Deputy Chairman Jaroslav Tvrdík.
Tvrdík was cited as saying that CITIC Group's chairman sent a binding bank guarantee to J&T, expressing readiness to pay back the debt within five days.
The executive also said CITIC Group and CEFC unit CEFC Shanghai had set up a joint venture in Hong Kong. CITIC owns a 49% stake in the joint venture and, as a result, in CEFC Europe.
Meanwhile, J&T Private Investments confirmed that it had received a letter from CITIC but disputed the information on the bank guarantee, refusing to provide further details for confidentiality reasons.
J&T Private Investments also said that according to information available to the company, CEFC Shanghai unit Shanghai Huaxin Group (Hong Kong) Ltd. remains the sole shareholder at CEFC Europe, and that CEFC Europe shares cannot be disposed of without the knowledge of J&T Private Investments.
CEFC China Energy, which owns a 9.9% stake in J&T Finance Group, recently decided to withdraw its request with the Czech central bank to approve a stake increase in the company to 49%. The Chinese company has been experiencing economic problems, while its Chairman Ye Jianming has been investigated for suspected economic crimes in China, according to media reports.