Africa

Kenya expects a review of an International Monetary Fund program to be concluded successfully, in order to allow the release of $410 million in new funding for the government, Bloomberg News reported. “We expect the review to be successful given the progress we have made towards the goals we had set for ourselves under the programme,” Kenya’s National Treasury Secretary Ukur Yatani said in a statement on Twitter on Wednesday. The government plans to narrow its budget deficit for the year starting July 1 to 7.5% of gross domestic product from an estimate of 8.6% in the current period.
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A group of creditors that bought Etihad Airways PJSC-linked bonds are preparing to auction $463 million of claims against insolvent airlines Alitalia and Air Berlin to recover some of their investment, Bloomberg News reported. The trustee of bonds issued by EA Partners I and II -- two special purpose entities set up by the Abu Dhabi-based carrier -- hired Barclays Bank Plc to arrange the sale, according to a statement. Potential buyers will be able to access documentation on June 21 and the auction will take place within two weeks, it said.
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South Africa agreed to sell a majority stake in the country’s grounded national carrier to a local jet-leasing company and private-equity firm, ridding the government of an entity that has long been a drain on state finances, Bloomberg News reported. A consortium comprised of Johannesburg-based Global Airways, which owns recently launched domestic airline Lift, and private-equity firm Harith General Partners will take a 51% shareholding in South African Airways, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said on Friday. The government will retain a minority stake.
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South Africa’s government is set to announce that it has found a strategic equity partner for state-owned carrier South African Airways, Bloomberg News reported. Details of the announcement are expected on Friday morning. Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan was scheduled to brief the media on the matter Thursday, before postponing to the following day. The expected announcement comes about six weeks after the airline emerged from lengthy bankruptcy proceedings, having reduced its workforce by almost 80% and cut liabilities.
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South Africa’s official unemployment rate rose to a new high in the first quarter as the construction and trade industries shed jobs, Bloomberg News reported. The jobless rate rose to 32.6% from 32.5% in the three months through December, Statistics South Africa said Tuesday in a report released in the capital, Pretoria. That’s the highest number on record. Unemployment according to the expanded definition, which includes people who were available for work but not looking for a job, rose to 43.2% from 42.6% the previous quarter.
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Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., the beleaguered South African state power utility, reduced its debt by almost a fifth after repaying matured loans and benefiting from a more favorable exchange rate, Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said, Bloomberg News reported. Debt fell to 401 billion rand ($29 billion) at the end of March, from 484 billion rand a year earlier, Gordhan said in a webcast speech to lawmakers on Tuesday. The utility has yet to release its financial results for the year.
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Offshore drilling rig contractor Maersk Drilling said on Thursday it saw some signs of market recovery as it reported that orders in the first quarter were at the highest level in more than three years, Reuters reported. The company, which had already on Wednesday lifted its 2021 earnings guidance, said it added $730 million in new contracts in the first quarter, including a $370 million contract awarded by Tullow off Ghana. That was the highest level of new contracts since the fourth quarter of 2017. Maersk Drilling's shares, which have risen 40% this year, rose 2% on Thursday.
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Sudan got assurances billions of dollars of external debt will be canceled after the clearing of its arrears with the International Monetary Fund, a boost for the impoverished African country emerging from decades of dictatorship, Bloomberg News reported. France, Germany and Norway were among countries signaling their readiness to forgo repayment at a Monday conference in Paris that showcased Sudan’s return to the international community.
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Sudan’s leaders are in Paris to drum up international investment as they try to slash the country’s $60 billion of debt, a vital step in turning around a ravaged economy, Bloomberg News reported. France is offering a $1.5 billion bridge loan that will help clear Sudan’s arrears with the International Monetary Fund, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told a business forum Monday. President Emmanuel Macron later in the day opened a conference to support Sudan attended by its Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and dozens of other Sudanese officials.
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Tullow Oil has raised $1.8bn via a bond offering to repay existing debt, ending a tense refinancing process the company had warned posed a “significant risk” of insolvency proceedings had it ended in failure, the Financial Times reported. The Africa-focused group, which has endured a difficult few years since it slashed its production outlook and parted ways with its former chief executive at the end of 2019, will use the proceeds to repay loans including bonds due this year as well as a lending facility linked to its oil reserves.

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