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J&T and Penta may have the same shareholder

A Chinese investor which bought shares of J&T financial group last year allegedly wants to enter another financial group.

(Source: Sme)

CHINESE company CEFC is seeking to buy some shares in financial group Penta, according to reports of the public-service Czech Radio.

If the information is confirmed, it would be the second investment into a big, Czech-Slovak financial and industrial group as CEFC acquired a 10-percent stock in financial group J&T last year. Moreover, the Czech daily Mladá Fronta Dnes has recently informed that it plans to increase its overall share to one half, investing about €1 billion.

The negotiations with Penta are, according to the sources, in their early stages. The Chinese firm allegedly wants to invest several billion euros into the company’s capital in return for 50-percent stock. This means that all current owners of Penta would have to halve their current shares. The biggest share, more than 80 percent, is currently owned by company’s founders Marek Dospiva and Jaroslav Haščák. The rest is owned by Jozef Oravkin, Eduard Maták and Iain Child, the TASR newswire reported.

Representatives of CEFC and Penta signed documents obliging them to be silent about the talks, so it is impossible to obtain an official statement. Penta has refused to comment on the information. Its spokesperson Ivo Mravinac told Czech Radio that the company comments only on closed trades, and not speculations. CEFC sent a similar statement, adding that currently they are not finalising any business transaction.

It is however clear that no agreement on a sale will be signed during the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping in the Czech Republic in late March.

“If the negotiations were successful, the first signature of preliminary agreement may be expected in the middle of this year,” the source close to the talks told Czech Radio, as quoted by TASR.

The reason why CEFC may be interested in Penta is its investment portfolio. The company owns several firms and institutions in sectors attractive to China, like the aviation industry, health care, the financial sector, as well as the food and machinery industry.

Disclaimer: Penta financial group has a 45-percent share in Petit Press, the co-owner of The Slovak Spectator.

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