Africa

Mozambique reached an agreement in principle with Russia’s VTB Bank PJSC on the restructuring of a loan that forms part of the nation’s $2 billion hidden-debt scandal, according to the International Monetary Fund, Bloomberg News reported. The southeast African nation has sought to restructure the loans since 2016, when the government admitted to the IMF it had contracted the bulk of them in secret, breaching an obligation to notify the Washington-based lender of any new credits. The U.S. Department of Justice and the Mozambican authorities are investigating the loans.

Read more

Credit Suisse Group AG’s recent shareholder meeting took an awkward turn when a Mozambican activist questioned Chairman Urs Rohner over the bank’s role in fraudulent deals that saddled her country with $2 billion of debt, The Wall Street Journal reported. The confrontation halfway through Friday’s meeting was the latest example of the rising international pressure on Credit Suisse to forgive loans it made to Mozambican state-owned companies engaged in an alleged complex fraud, and potentially, to pay damages to victims.

Read more

Top cocoa producer Ivory Coast has averted defaults on export contracts this season by letting multinational commodities companies buy at-risk contracts from local exporters, exporters and sources at the cocoa regulator said on Tuesday, Reuters reported. During the 2017/18 and 2016/17 growing seasons, exporters defaulted on nearly 500,00 tonnes of cocoa contracts they had bought in advance of the season as world market prices fell and exporters were unable to honour commitments to suppliers.

Read more

The collapse of the oil price that began in 2014 was bad news for Nigerian banks, The Economist reported. A quarter of their lending was to oil and gas firms. Many businesses were left reeling after a currency crisis. The economy stuttered, then plunged into recession. Before the oil slump just 3% of loans were not being paid back. By 2017 some 15% had gone sour. The oil shock underscored an old truth: in choppy waters, it helps to be a big ship. The country’s large banks made tidy profits and now sit on sufficient capital.

Read more

South Africa’s government has had to bring forward the bailout of state power firm Eskom, after it rushed 5 billion rand ($355 million) to the struggling utility earlier this month to avert a default and said more cash could be needed soon, Reuters reported. Eskom supplies more than 90 percent of electricity in Africa’s most advanced economy but is grappling with cashflow problems and a debt mountain which it is struggling to service.

Read more

Privinvest Group began arbitration proceedings against three state-owned Mozambican companies to seek compensation for losses the shipbuilder says it incurred after contractual breaches, Bloomberg News reported. The legal action marks a step change in Privinvest’s response to charges against employees including salesman Jean Boustani by the U.S. Department of Justice. The DOJ alleges Boustani and others stole about $200 million in Mozambique-loan proceeds in an indictment that stems from Mozambique’s $2 billion hidden-debt scandal.

Read more

In the hazy world of distressed debt trading, the fall of Sudan’s autocratic ruler of 30 years, Omar al-Bashir, has sparked fresh interest among traders and holders of the country’s long-defaulted debt, Reuters reported. Following weeks of demonstrations kindled by soaring food costs, high unemployment and increasing repression, 75-year-old Bashir was overthrown on Thursday by the military, three decades after himself seizing power in a coup. The newly ruling military council on Friday promised a transition to an elected civilian government.

Read more

South African builder Group Five said on Friday it would dispose of some assets and delay its interim results after filing for bankruptcy protection last month. The group, one of the biggest names in South Africa’s construction industry, said the disposals would help it meet its debt obligations, cover working capital and cut its liabilities, Reuters reported. In a stock exchange statement, it said its business review had delayed the release of its interim results, which had been due at the end of March.

Read more

Zimbabwe has reached agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on a program of economic policies and structural reforms that could pave the way to the crisis-hit country re-engaging with international financial institutions, Reuters reported. Suffering from decades of decline and hyperinflation, Zimbabwe has not been able to borrow from international lenders since 1999, when it started defaulting on its debt. It has arrears of around $2.2 billion with the World Bank, the African Development Bank and European Investment Bank.

Read more

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s plan to split the state-owned power utility into generation, distribution and transmission divisions will take longer than the government has to revive the business, according to Goldman Sachs Group Inc, Bloomberg News reported. Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. is focusing on trying to avoid implementing power cuts through the year, as it attempts to fix aging power plants and defective new units. Ramaphosa has rolled out a 69 billion-rand ($5 billion) bailout for Eskom over the next three years and a plan to split the business into three.

Read more