Prague, May 18 (CTK) – Czech-Slovak group J&T has obtained no information confirming that China’s CITIC Group has paid CEFC Europe’s debt of EUR450m (Kc11.5bn), a source from J&T told CTK today.
According to a previous statement from CEFC, the due date was today.
On Thursday, J&T said it had dismissed CEFC Europe’s board and appointed a crisis management because CEFC China Energy failed to pay its debts to J&T Private Investments (JTPI) in time.
Jaroslav Tvrdik, who was dismissed as CEFC Europe deputy board chairman, tweeted late on Thursday that the debt would be paid off by 14:00 on Friday and that CITIC had sent EUR475m (Kc12.1bn) to an account at CSOB Praha bank.
J&T co-owner Patrik Tkac said earlier today that his group was ready to immediately accept CITIC Group’s payment settling CEFC Europe’s debt to the group, and to give control over CEFC Europe back to its Chinese owner.
CEFC China said today the changes in CEFC Europe constituted an attempt at hostile takeover of the company and its Czech assets, and that it was ready to take legal action against J&T.
CEFC China said it did not accept the changes at the CEFC Europe board but was ready to pay its obligations towards J&T.
According to lawyers polled by CTK today, J&T’s act is a standard step securing the rights of a creditor.
“A pledgee creditor has the right to enter the management of a company and exercise his voting right over this stake,” BDO Legal law firm executive Karel Nejtek said.
J&T said on Thursday it decided to make the changes since it had obtained information that CEFC was taking steps aimed at preventing creditors from exercising their shareholder rights.
CEFC China Energy owes J&T EUR450m (Kc11.5bn). The debt is supposed to be settled by China’s state-run conglomerate CITIC, owning 49 percent in CEFC Europe.
J&T said earlier it would negotiate with CITIC, which it considers a trustworthy and transparent partner.
Some time ago, CEFC chose the Czech Republic as a centre for its European activities and bought stakes in several Czech companies, such as air carrier Travel Service and travel agency Invia.cz. It controls brewery Pivovary Lobkowicz Group and engineering and metallurgy company Zdas Zdar nad Sazavou, and is a majority owner of the football club Slavia and Prague’s Eden stadium.
CEFC Europe manages assets exceeding EUR1.5bn (Kc38.34bn) in the Czech Republic at present.
Information about CEFC’s financial problems emerged following reports that CEFC group head Ye Jianming, an adviser to Czech President Milos Zeman, was investigated for suspected economic crimes.