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PIC to mull options to ease Eskom debt – Times

14:59 20/10/2019

Felix Njini, Bloomberg

South Africa's Public Investment Corporation (PIC), the continent's largest fund manager, will meet in November to consider how to help Eskom's embattled state-run utility deal with its debt, the Sunday Times reported, citing PIC chair Reuel Khoza.

A strategy meeting would look at how the asset manager could "come to the rescue or assist" Eskom Holdings, the newspaper cites Khoza saying.

The PIC would make sure "the value of pensions doesn't get frittered away" if it steps in to help the debt-laden power utility, Khoza said. The PIC, which manages about $ 150bn and is responsible for the pensions of more than 1 million state workers, owns about R90bn of Eskom debt.

Eskom is saddled with about R450bn of debt.

Bloomberg reported earlier that Cabinet is due to meet again on October 31, two days after Finance Minister Tito Mboweni is scheduled to release his mid-term budget that should spell out how he will fund a three-year, R128bn bailout for Eskom.

Investors are looking for greater urgency to be shown in getting the company, considered the biggest threat to the SA economy, back on track.

"The main concern of all foreign investors is to fix Eskom," said Colin Coleman, CEO of sub-Saharan Africa at Goldman Sachs Group Inc.

"We expect Eskom's stabilization phase in terms of governance, operations and finances to follow by the end of the year, following which a corporate restructuring will begin."

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