Biggest Eskom Creditor Sees Barriers to Debt-for-Equity Swap

South Africa’s Government Employees Pension Fund, the biggest investor in Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. debt, said there were significant hurdles to a proposal that its bonds be converted to equity to help rescue the struggling power monopoly, Bloomberg News reported. The initiative, which has been backed by the country’s biggest labor unions, was first examined by the Public Investment Corp., which manages most of the pension fund’s investments, but the GEPF has not been formally approached about a potential swap, its investment chief said. In October Andre de Ruyter told Redd Intelligence that talks had been held with the PIC over the potential swap. “We have heard that narrative being spoken of but the GEPF itself has not been approached,” Sifiso Sibiya told Bloomberg in an interview on Nov. 22. If it was, then “members interests would be borne in mind and put first in terms of expecting returns and not negatively affecting investment outcomes.” Swapping debt for equity was a complicated proposition, he said, because it would also require the 2.09 trillion rand fund to rebalance its holdings across asset classes to comply with its allocation rules. Read more.