May 25, 2018 / 9:04 AM / 24 days ago

Czech J&T and China's CITIC reach deal in CEFC debt dispute

PRAGUE, May 25 (Reuters) - Czech financial firm J&T said on Friday it had reached a deal with Chinese conglomerate CITIC to settle debts owed by troubled Chinese group CEFC, potentially drawing a line under a complex dispute.

“CITIC and J&T agreed on a strategic cooperation. Today, all loans by CEFC Europe will be paid to J&T and all forfeitures will be released,” Jaroslav Tvrdik, former vice-chairman of CEFC Europe said on Twitter, confirming the deal.

The Czech-based CEFC business has been hit by problems at its once rapidly expanding parent company CEFC China Energy which had to scramble for financing when it was reported earlier this year that its founder Chairman Ye Jianming was being investigated for suspected economic crimes.

Last week J&T Private Investments (JTPI) took over CEFC Europe, whose assets include airlines, breweries, hotels and office buildings, a machinery firm and soccer club Slavia Prague, and installed a crisis management team because it had not paid debts totalling 450 million euros.

J&T said in a statement on Friday that CITIC’s unit Rainbow Wisdom will buy all debt owed by CEFC group companies and “the crisis management installed by J&T will be withdrawn”.

Rainbow Wisdom will also take over a 9.9 percent stake in J&T Finance Group currently held by different CEFC entities. (Reporting by Robert Muller Editing by Alexander Smith)

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