Africa

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.

Read more

Former South African Deputy Finance Minister Mcebisi Jonas, who says he refused a 600 million-rand ($39 million) bribe from wealthy businessmen, has written a memoir about his time in office and outlined his vision for how to kick-start the country’s economy, Bloomberg News reported. Jonas, 59, who will join telecommunications company MTN Group Ltd. as chairman in December, alleged three years ago that members of the Gupta family offered him the cash and the finance minister’s post if he followed their agenda.

Read more

Steinhoff International, the global retailer that is battling to overcome the legacy of South Africa’s biggest accounting scandal, has pledged to slim its business and sell assets in order to survive heavy debts and shareholder lawsuits, the Financial Times reported. The owner of store chains including the UK’s Poundland and Conforama in France is considering the sales as it tackles “too high” debts of $10bn that were left by its 2017 collapse, Louis du Preez, Steinhoff’s chief executive, said on Tuesday.

Read more

An oil discovery in Republic of Congo could produce nearly 1 million barrels of oil per day, a company involved said on Monday, possibly quadrupling the nation’s output and propelling it into the same league as Africa’s largest producers, Reuters reported. Congo’s cash-strapped energy industry has been boosted by major recent finds from Italy’s ENI and France’s Total , lifting an economy hobbled by debt, civil unrest and corruption, and raising output to about 350,000 barrels per day.

Read more

Moody’s Investors Service hasn’t said it, but investors already think it: South Africa’s credit is junk, Bloomberg News reported. The company, which rates South Africa’s debt Baa3, the lowest investment level, is due to review its assessment in November. Given Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd.’s financial woes and its implications for government debt, the market is pricing in a downgrade. The premium investors demand to hold South Africa’s dollar bonds rather than U.S. Treasuries is almost twice as much as the average for investment-rated emerging markets.

Read more

South African business confidence fell to the lowest level in four months in July as concerns over political uncertainty and state companies’ finances outweighed the positive effects of lower interest rates and higher commodity prices, Bloomberg News reported. An index measuring sentiment declined to 92 from 93.3 in June, the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry said Wednesday in an emailed statement. The median estimate of 4 economists in a Bloomberg survey was 93.

Read more

Steinhoff International Holdings NV is considering an initial public offering of Pepkor Europe, its fastest-growing unit, as the scandal-hit South African retailer seeks funds for the next phase of its recovery plan, people familiar with the matter said. The company has been discussing a listing of Pepkor Europe with potential advisers, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private, Bloomberg News reported. The business -- which owns the Pepco and Dealz chains as well as Poundland in the U.K.

Read more

Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. urgently needs a plan to turn profitable or South Africa’s state-owned utility will collapse under mounting debt, according to credit agency Moody’s Investors Service, Bloomberg News reported. The generator of more than 90% of the nation’s electricity reported a record annual loss of 20.7 billion rand ($1.4 billion) last week and is regarded as the biggest threat to South Africa’s economy. The government is giving Eskom a 128 billion-rand bailout over the next three years to keep it afloat.

Read more

South Africa’s biggest business lobby criticized the government’s handling of the crisis at power utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. and said it was unrealistic in its approach to the country’s growing debt burden, marking a sharp break with its largely silent approach to the nation’s economic malaise in recent years, Bloomberg News reported.

Read more

The number of distressed companies in Europe, the Middle East and Africa rose in the first half for the first time in more than two years, according to a report by Moody’s Investors Service, Bloomberg News reported. Moody’s list of distressed companies rose to 47 from 39 in the first half of the year, according to the report published on Thursday. It’s the first time the list increased since the end of 2016.

Read more