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Jaguar Land Rover said to seek state loan as outbreak takes toll

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LONDON — Jaguar Land Rover is in talks with the British government about a request for temporary state funding of more than 1 billion pounds ($1.22 billion), Sky News reported.

The loan request had been lodged with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the Sky News report said on Saturday.

The report cited a source close to JLR whose parent company is Tata Motors.

JLR said the report was “inaccurate and speculative.” Tata Motors did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In a statement, JLR said it was in “regular discussion with government on a whole range of matters and the content of our private discussions remains confidential.”

Sky News, citing a company spokesman, said about 20,000 JLR employees had been furloughed under the British government’s emergency wage subsidy program.

Sky News said the government’s position on JLR’s latest loan request was unclear.

On May 1, rating agency Fitch downgraded its credit rating for the automaker, saying that “risks of the COVID-19 pandemic to both demand in JLR’s end-markets and disruption to operations has increased further.”

JLR restarted operations on May 18 at its factories in Solihull, England, and Nitra, Slovakia. It said manufacturing will resume at its factory in Halewood, England, on June 8, starting with one shift.

Small pockets of business-critical activity are taking place at its third UK plant in Castle Bromwich to prepare for new model introductions, the company said.

JLR’s joint-venture plant with Chery Automotive in Changshu, China, has been operational since the middle of February.

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