Bailout Terms Delay Debt Deal for Defaulted South African Bank

South Africa’s largest lender to farmers has delayed a debt restructuring deal with creditors because of conditions attached to a government bailout, forcing it to repay what it owes to Standard Chartered Plc, Bloomberg News reported. Land & Agricultural Development Bank said on Wednesday that a March 31 deadline to reach an agreement won’t be met. The government’s 7 billion rand ($474 million) commitment required “a material change” to previous versions of plans to deliver on the lender’s “development and transformation objective,” it said in response to emailed questions. An agreement would have bought the state-owned bank more time in servicing a facility with Standard Chartered, the lone holdout from the restructuring talks, after a court ordered it pay back 400 million rand in December. Land Bank has now pledged to pay the remaining 352 million rand it owes to Standard Chartered by Thursday. “The bank continues to engage with the rest of its financial creditors to ensure that the interests of all parties are prudently served,” it said. Land Bank has been battling to repay its debt and extend credit since a drought caused many of its customers to default on their loans. Last April, the Pretoria-based institution missed a loan repayment that triggered a cross-default in notes issued under a 50 billion-rand bond program. The bank has been in talks with a consortium of creditors for about a year and is negotiating its third proposal to emerge from default. Read more.