Africa

The erosion of Turkey’s creditworthiness is a warning signal for South Africa, and investors are ignoring it, according to Informa Financial Markets. The cost of insuring the country’s debt against non-payment dropped to the lowest in 13 months this week, even as a funding crisis at Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. strains government finances while the economy struggles to recover from the worst quarterly contraction since the 2008 financial crisis, Bloomberg News reported.

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Zambian Finance Minister Margaret Mwanakatwe said on Friday she was delaying the implementation of a new sales tax from July 1 to Sept. 1 to allow it undergo parliamentary procedures, Reuters reported. In March, Zambia previously delayed replacing Value Added Tax (VAT) with the non-refundable sales tax for three months to allow for further consultation with business leaders. Mwanakatwe said the government had continued to receive submissions from both the public and private sectors in the process of explaining the new tax to them.

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Vedanta Resources said on Thursday a Zambian court has issued an order halting any move by the provisional liquidator of its Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) business to dispose of KCM’s assets or make arrangements with its creditors, Reuters reported. Zambian state mining company ZCCM-IH holds about 20% of KCM, while Vedanta Resources, part-owner of the Mumbai-listed Vedanta group of companies, holds a majority. Zambia’s dispute with Vedanta began in May when the government of Africa’s second biggest copper producer appointed a liquidator to run KCM, saying it had breached its licence.

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RDB (Rwanda Development Board) this Wednesday commenced a three-day workshop in Kigali to train Rwanda’s insolvency practitioners, judges and other stakeholders including bankers and academics on the new insolvency law and matters around it, Taarifa reported. The insolvency law is part of commercial laws which the World Bank considers in the annual evaluation exercise for ranking Rwanda in the ease of Doing Business global index. The insolvency law is assessed together with its implementing institutions on how they facilitate doing business in the country.

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South Africa has laid out a timeline for the restructuring of Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd.. and pledged that creditors of the state-owned electricity company won’t suffer losses, according to a fund manager who attended a briefing by the head of the country’s Treasury, Bloomberg News reported. Treasury Director-General Dondo Mogajane set out the steps in a meeting with investors in London on Tuesday, according to the person, who asked not to be identified because the event wasn’t public.

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Steinhoff International Holdings NV is seeking more than 850 million rand ($59 million) from former Chief Executive Officer Markus Jooste for his role in the accounting crisis that triggered the retailer’s near-collapse, Bloomberg News reported. The owner of Conforama in France and Mattress Firm in the U.S. is looking to claw back base salaries, bonuses and other incentives paid to Jooste over several years from 2009, according to legal papers filed to the High Court in Cape Town. Ex-Chief Financial Officer Ben la Grange is being sued for about 271 million rand as part of the same case.

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A meltdown at some of South Africa’s biggest state companies is intensifying, placing the nation’s finances at risk and frustrating President Cyril Ramaphosa’s efforts to attract new investment and resuscitate a moribund economy, Bloomberg News reported. While monolithic power utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd., which is tottering on the brink of insolvency, has dominated recent headlines, arms manufacturer Denel SOC Ltd., the South African Broadcasting Corp. and South African Airways have joined the list of the financially destitute entities scrambling for bailouts.

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Omnia Holdings Ltd. plans to conclude a 2 billion rand ($140 million) rights issue within the next two months as part of restructuring the group’s debt, Bloomberg News reported. While the fertilizer maker has been struggling to service debt in recent months, it managed to secure a 6.8 billion-rand bridge-loan facility from four banks this week. Proceeds from the rights issue will be used to pay back a part of the loan facility in the next two months, Omnia Chief Financial Officer Seelan Gobalsamy said Tuesday by phone.

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Vedanta Resources said it would take urgent steps to protect its Zambian assets and pursue international arbitration if necessary after a Lusaka court on Thursday rejected its request to be included in liquidation proceedings, Reuters reported. A Lusaka judge on Thursday ruled Vedanta Resources could not take part in proceedings to wind up its Konkola Copper Mines (KCM) business in Zambia, but granted Vedanta leave to appeal the ruling. The company said it would consider whether to do so. The case has intensified concerns among international miners about resource nationalism in Africa.

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South Africa’s state-owned electricity company is groaning under more than $30 billion of debt, and doesn’t generate enough cash to service it, Bloomberg News reported. Investors can’t get enough of it. Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd.’s 2028 dollar securities have handed bondholders a whopping 22.3% return this year, more than the debt of any other emerging-market utility and almost three times the average for developing-nation hard-currency bonds, according to Bloomberg Barclays indexes.

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