China’s LeEco says in talks with China Construction Bank to resolve loan repayment

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TAIPEI (Reuters) – Chinese tech conglomerate LeEco is in the midst of paying back an overdue loan and discussing repayments of a larger, upcoming due loan with China Construction Bank, the company said in a statement responding to media reports on Wednesday.

LeEco, one of China’s most ambitious companies that grew from a Netflix-like video website to a business empire spanning smartphones to cars within 13 years, is struggling to support its goals that include beating Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors in making premium electric vehicles.

Last year, co-founder Jia Yueting said in a staff letter that the firm was facing “big company disease” after having expanded at an unprecedented rate.

In a statement issued on the stock exchange, LeEco’s listed unit Leshi Internet Information & Technology Corp said that it had already begun to re-pay a 50,000,000 yuan ($7.44 million) loan that was due in late June. It also said it was actively discussing with China Construction Bank how to resolve paying back a 200,000,000 yuan loan due in late September.

The company took out the loans in June and September last year, respectively.

Leshi acknowledged in its statement that its delay in paying back the 50 million yuan loan had caused a Beijing branch of the bank to undergo risk prevention efforts on the loan.

Local media had reported earlier in the week that the bank had applied for a Beijing court to freeze 250 million yuan in assets of LeEco, its listed unit Leshi, founder Jia Yueting, as well as company executive and Jia’s brother, Jia Yuemin.

Reporting by Jess Macy Yu, editing by Louise Heavens