300 Chinese firms seek 57b yuan loans

Business | Reuters 12 Feb 2020

More than 300 Chinese companies are seeking bank loans totaling at least 57.4 billion yuan (HK$63.88 billion) to help to soften the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, two banking sources said.

The companies seeking loans in the Chinese capital are likely to get fast-track approvals and preferential interest rates, said the sources, who received copies of two lists of company names sent to Beijing banks by the city government's finance bureau.

The two lists also contained the size of loans sought.

There is no official data showing the total loans Chinese companies are seeking nationwide to weather the outbreak.

"Banks will have the final say on lending decisions," one of the sources said. "The interest rates are likely to be on par with those offered to banks' top clients."

Xiaomi (1810), the world's fourth-biggest smartphone maker, is seeking 5 billion yuan in loans to produce and sell medical equipment including masks and thermometers, according to the lists. Meituan Dianping (3690) is seeking 4 billion yuan, partly to help finance free food and deliveries to medical staff in Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak.

Meanwhile, the World Bank is offering technical assistance to China to help battle the epidemic but no new loans, the development lender's president, David Malpass, said.

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