J&T Finance Group To CEFC: No Deal, Zeman’s Chinese Advisor Tainted By ScandalČTK
Prague, March 12 (CTK) – The completion of Chinese investment group CEFC’s long prepared buying into J&T Finance Group is unacceptable if CEFC does not satisfactorily refute information about its crucial economic problems and clearly explain investigation of its chairman for suspected economic crimes, J&T told CTK today.
CEFC Group (Europe) Company considers the request of J&T Finance Group completely legitimate, CEFC Group (Europe) Company said adding that it would not communicate with its partner via media.
Two weeks ago, there was information saying that CEFC (China Energy Company Limited) chairman Ye Jianming, an adviser to Czech President Milos Zeman, was investigated for suspected economic crimes.
Ye Jianming was arrested in China in the middle of February, according to the Neovlivni.cz server, which was confirmed by entrepreneurs and state officials learning details in China.
Neither CEFC nor China’s authorities have confirmed the information.
Ye Jianming remains Zeman’s adviser, president’s spokesman Jiri Ovcacek told the server.
CEFC China Energy has recently been willing to take out short-term loans with extraordinarily high interest rates, up to 36 percent a year, which reflects the company’s problems with liquidity, Reuters agency said today.
CEFC Group (Europe) Company originally had 10 percent in J&T Finance Group.
In March 2016, companies agreed that CEFC would acquire 50 percent. The company was supposed pay EUR980m (Kc25bn) for the stake.
At the end of last year, the Czech National Bank (CNB) refused to approve the transaction, according to the Echo24.cz server. The CNB said that CEFC had not documented source of the money sufficiently.
However, the decision is not final and CEFC has appealed against it.
CEFC has chosen the Czech Republic as the seat of its European activities, acquiring shares in a few companies in the country.
CEFC Group (Europe) Company’s capital rose by Kc13.5bn to Kc14.65bn on March 1.
The company has been managing its investment portfolio in finances, aviation and tourism, industry and production, real estate and sports without changes, it said on Friday.
Increasing the company’s capital signals it is a stable and credible partner, it said.
CEFC Group (Europe) Company has been affected by a speculative media campaign over the past few days, company vice-president Marcela Hrda said.
CEFC Europe is independent from the parent company, and so are its projects in seven European countries, she said rejecting the media speculations about its companies facing financial problems.
Said events can affect CEFC Europe’s operation in the Czech Republic, according to Cyrrus company analyst Lukas Kovanda.
“I cannot imagine that such a situation would not impact any CEFC’s subsidiary negatively,” Kovanda added.
In the Czech Republic, CEFC Group (Europe) Company has bought stakes in Travel Service airlines, Invia.cz online travel agency, and J&T Finance Group. It controls Pivovary Lobkowicz Group brewery and Zdas metallurgy and machinery company, and is the majority owner of Slavia Praha football club and the Eden stadium which the club uses for its home matches.
CEFC Europe manages assets worth over EUR1.5bn in the Czech Republic.
CEFC group operates mainly in the energy, finance and industry sectors. It says it is the largest private company in Shanghai and the seventh biggest private company in China.