Africa

South Africa’s struggling power firm Eskom expects to make a wider 20 billion rand ($1.5 billion) loss in the current financial year and wants steeper tariff hikes than it previously sought, its chief financial officer said on Monday. The chief executive also said the government should consider injecting extra capital into state-owned Eskom to help it cope with what he said were low electricity tariffs, Reuters reported.

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South African miners support a restructuring of struggling state power firm Eskom to boost competition in the electricity supply industry, an industry body said on Wednesday, warning that tariff hikes alone would not solve Eskom’s problems, Reuters reported. Top government officials will discuss whether to split Eskom into generation, transmission and distribution units at a cabinet meeting starting on Wednesday as part of efforts to rescue the company from financial crisis.

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Kenya has room to refinance its debt by extending the tenure of some of its loans, the central bank governor said on Tuesday, but it faces growing risks from an unsteady global economy, Reuters reported. Slowdowns in Europe and China, uncertainty over Brexit, a U.S.-China trade war and the recent U.S. government shutdown have all contributed to fears of a crisis in the global economy, Patrick Njoroge told a news conference. “Clearly, the global economy is without a rudder,” Njoroge said. “It’s just coasting and without direction.

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South Africa’s national power utility’s woes have threatened to shut down industries, while the flagship airline has received repeated bailouts to keep it afloat, Bloomberg News reported. Now, a scramble to help a retailer that sells school shoes and fast fashion suggests it, too, may be seen as too big to fail. Edcon Holdings Ltd. has about 30,000 employees, a supply chain that includes 750 companies and floor space that accounts for a 10th of the occupancy in the country’s biggest shopping malls, the most of any company.

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A third of African countries have unsustainable debt positions and the continent must reduce its reliance on foreign funding for projects that don’t help them service loans, Zimbabwean Finance Minister Mthuli Ncube said, Bloomberg News reported. Global investors in search of higher yields have been “gobbling” up African debt over the past decade, he said.

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South African retailer International Holdings N.V. said on Tuesday a former partner firm of its European operations claims it is owed about 291 million euros (£256.62 million or $331 million) by the company, the International New York Times reported on a Reuters story. Steinhoff is in the middle of a clean-up of its balance sheet after discovering multi-billion euro holes in its balance sheet more than a year ago. LWS GmbH, a company linked to Austrian businessman Andreas Seifert, claims to be a creditor of Steinhoff Europe AG (SEAG), the parent company said.

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More small cocoa exporters in Ivory Coast were unable to fulfill their international contracts at the end of last year, and sources at the country’s cocoa board told Reuters that this group asked to postpone 70 percent of October-to-December commitments due to a lack of financing, Reuters reported. Each year, the cocoa board of top grower Ivory Coast (CCC) sells forward most of its expected harvest, a portion of which is allocated to small exporters. In October through December, small exporters were allocated contracts amounting to 180,000 tonnes of cocoa.

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A prominent South African fund manager stands to become one of the biggest losers on a batch of New Look’s bonds that were in effect rendered worthless when the UK retailer launched a debt restructuring this week, the Financial Times reported. New Look set out terms of a debt-for-equity swap on Monday that will hand one-fifth of the company to so-called senior secured bondholders — owners of debt linked to specific assets. Meanwhile, holders of £176m of unsecured bonds have been offered just 2 per cent of the equity in the struggling fashion retailer.

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Britain’s financial watchdog has dropped a criminal probe into Credit Suisse related to an alleged fraud in Mozambique, but is still checking the bank and individuals for any breaches of conduct rules, the watchdog said on Tuesday. In 2016, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) launched an investigation into the Swiss bank’s activities in Mozambique, where around $2 billion of loans to state-owned companies pushed the country into a debt crisis, Reuters reported.

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Not having a currency of its own hasn’t stopped Zimbabwe from sliding into a currency crisis, Bloomberg News reported. A scarcity of foreign exchange has led to long queues for fuel, bread and medicine and sent prices surging across the southern African country. Police clashed with protesters in the capital, Harare, on Monday as the main trade-union group started a strike after the government more than doubled gasoline prices to $3.31 a liter ($12.58 a gallon) over the weekend, the highest in the world, according to GlobalPetrolPrices.com.

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