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Eskom sought advisors to help implement government bailout

Eskom is seeking to restore the viability of its finances.

Eskom, the state-owned South African power utility with about $30 billion of debt, sought advisers on how to implement a government bailout seven months after President Cyril Ramaphosa said the company would be reorganised.

Eskom issued an invitation to tender for “financial services for implementation for government support package” on August 23, according to a document seen by Bloomberg. The tender, which closed on September 3, requires that the team provide its record in “providing holistic solutions to restore the viability of companies in financial distress for transaction values in excess of $1 billion.”

Eskom, which supplies about 95% of South Africa’s power, has been granted R128 billion ($8.7 billion) in state bailouts over the next three years to remain solvent. The government has proposed splitting the utility into generation, transmission and distribution units and is evaluating a range of options to reduce the costs of the debt and improve its performance.

The company must be able to mobilise a team to start the work within a week of the award of the contract, according to the document. Bidders must also provide relevant experience advising in South Africa and internationally on debt management transactions, sovereign debt exchanges and liquidity management exercises for transactions over $1 billion, it said.

The yield on Eskom’s dollar bonds due January 2021 fell 31 basis points to 5.61% by 4:05 pm in Johannesburg. That’s the most since August 2.

Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan said President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to release a policy paper on Eskom later this month. Eskom didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

According to the tender document, the advisers will:

  • Assist the government in assessing the various options for the debt
  • Assess the impact of the options on government finances
  • Assess the impact of doing nothing and of a possible Eskom default
  • Assist with the communication of any recovery plan to all “stakeholders”

© 2019 Bloomberg L.P.

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