File picture: Bhekikhaya Mabaso/African News Agency (ANA)
File picture: Bhekikhaya Mabaso/African News Agency (ANA)

Eskom sees no need for state funding, will tap local market

By Antony Sguazzin and Lyubov Pronina Time of article published Apr 8, 2020

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JOHANNESBURG - Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., South Africa’s debt-stricken power company, told investors it currently doesn’t need to approach the government for more support, even as a Covid-19-related national shutdown slashes revenue.

The company needs to raise 89 billion rand ($4.9 billion) this year and 56 billion rand of that will come from an existing state bailout, Chief Executive Officer Andre de Ruyter and Chief Financial Officer Calib Cassim said on the call, according to investors who listened to it. Eskom spokesman Sikonathi Mantshantsha declined to comment.

“After accounting for the 56 billion rand of bailout funds committed this year, Eskom management estimates that it has 31 billion rand of funding needs for this year,” said Ali Dhaloomal, a London-based credit research analyst at Bank of America. “Eskom doesn’t see the need to ask for additional state support at this point of time.”

About 40% of the remaining funding required has been committed by development finance institutions; the balance will come in the form of structured products from banks, export-credit agencies and the sale of domestic bonds, the people said. They asked not to be identified as the call wasn’t open to the media.

In a discussion dominated by investor concerns about cash flow, the executives said the company could withstand a few more weeks of a lockdown if it was extended. An estimated revenue loss of 4 billion rand is anticipated for the three-week lockdown that began March 26, they said.

The plunge in electricity demand due to the mandatory closure of mines and factories has allowed Eskom to boost maintenance to 9,500 megawatts of capacity from 4,000 megawatts. However, longer-term closures of plants for deeper maintenance will have to wait until the lockdown is lifted because the work would violate social distancing guidelines.

Yields on Eskom’s dollar bonds stayed lower after dropping earlier for the first time in eight trading days amid a resurgence of global risk appetite. The company’s $1.25 billion of 2025 securities gained 1.8% to 70.3 cents on the dollar, driving the yield down 48 basis points to 16.22%.

BLOOMBERG 

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