Africa

South Africa’s third-largest wireless carrier, Cell C Pty Ltd, had its credit rating cut to D by rating agency S&P Global after it failed to make interest payments due in July, Bloomberg News reported. There is “an increased likelihood that Cell C will be unable to repay all or substantially all of the obligations as they come due, unless it is able to restructure its debt and recapitalize its balance sheet,” S&P said in a statement on Thursday.

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Mozambique’s talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) are making “encouraging progress,” as the country seeks to restore access to international financing, President Filipe Nyusi said on Wednesday, Reuters reported. Mozambique has been battling to recover from a debt crisis after admitting in 2016 to $1.4 billion (£1.15 billion) of previously undisclosed lending, prompting the IMF to cut off support and triggering a currency collapse and debt default.

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Zambia’s central bank kept its key interest rate unchanged to boost economic growth, while warning that it could tighten policy if inflation doesn’t return to target, Bloomberg News reported. The Bank of Zambia held the rate at 10.25%, Governor Denny Kalyalya told reporters Wednesday in the capital, Lusaka. That’s after the Monetary Policy Committee bucked the global trend in May by tightening by 50 basis points as inflation was accelerating.

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An acceleration in economic growth in South Africa could trigger power cuts, with state utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd.’s fragile generation system unable to respond to increased demand for electricity, Bloomberg News reported. The energy availability of Eskom’s generation fleet is supposed to be as high as 80%, but is currently as low as 69%, and even a 0.1% rise in gross domestic product could result in outages, Nelisiwe Magubane, an Eskom board member, said at an event organized by research company Afriforesight in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

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The regulatory cleanup of Ghana’s lower-tier lenders that resulted in 23 companies being declared insolvent and losing their licenses could risk as many as 4,000 direct jobs, according to an industry body, Bloomberg News reported. The central bank announced last week it had revoked the licenses of savings and loans companies as well as finance houses and appointed a receiver to manage their affairs.

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Steinhoff International Holdings NV slumped to fresh lows on Monday, even after the embattled global retailer secured a long-awaited restructuring agreement on about 9 billion euros ($10 billion) of debt, Bloomberg News reported. The stock fell 5.5% to 6 euro cents in Frankfurt, where the South African company has its primary listing. In Johannesburg, the shares fell below 1 rand for the first time. Steinhoff’s shares collapsed in late 2017 when the owner of Conforama in France and Pep stores in Europe and Africa became engulfed in an accounting scandal.

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A total of 23 Ghanaian financial institutions have their licenses revoked because of insolvency, a statement from Ghana's central bank reached to Xinhua on Saturday, Xinhuanet reported. The 23 institutions were within the savings and loans as well as the finance house categories of the financial sector. Even after a reasonable period within which the Bank of Ghana has engaged with them in the hope that they would be recapitalized by their shareholders to return them to solvency, the statement said, the institutions had remained bankrupt.

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A judge in London said on Friday he would grant an Irish-owned company the right to seek to seize some $9 billion (€8.1 billion) in assets from the Nigerian government over an aborted gas project, The Irish Times reported. Process and Industrial Developments Ltd (P&ID) was awarded $6.6 billion in an arbitration decision over a failed project to build a gas-processing plant in the southern Nigerian city of Calabar. With interest payments, the sum now tops $9 billion – some 20 per cent of Nigeria’s foreign reserves.

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South Africa’s Truworths International Ltd is considering closing loss-making stores of its UK-based shoe chain Office, joining the growing ranks of retailers to be hit by Britain’s gloomy trading environment, Reuters reported. Office is battling tough conditions in Britain due to uncertainty over Brexit, plus pressures on store-based retailers as shoppers move online. This resulted in the South African-listed clothing, shoes, jewellery and homeware retailer booking a non-cash impairment charge of 97 million pounds ($117.44 million) against Office’s assets.

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Scandal-hit Steinhoff said on Wednesday it had refinanced some 9 billion euros ($10 billion) of debt in its overseas operations which include brands such as Poundland in Britain and France’s Conforama, after pushing the deadline date back repeatedly, Reuters reported. “Implementation of the restructuring is a major milestone on our recovery journey, bringing with it the stability that will allow us to turn the page and concentrate fully on maximizing value from our operating companies,” Group Chief Executive Louis du Preez said in a statement.

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