Eskom goes in search of $1 billion

South African state-owned power utility Eskom is in talks with banks for a secured syndicated loan of up to $1 billion, one banking source said.

Although at a very preliminary stage, the emergency coal monetisation facility is likely to have a seven to ten year maturity, the banker said.

“This is a massive deal. The RFP (request for proposals) has gone out to everyone,” the banker said. “There are lots of ways to structure a deal like this but it could prove tricky, they tried to do a similar deal about 20 years ago.”

Eskom spokesperson Andrew Etzinger said: “This is one of the options that we are exploring in terms of the business productivity programme. These initiatives will only be pursued if the terms are appropriate and do not impact existing lender covenants.”

Eskom’s previous syndicated loan was agreed in December 2009 when it signed a 12-year, 1.185 billion euro (1.59 billion US dollar) export credit agency (ECA) backed loan financing turbines for two power plants.

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Eskom goes in search of $1 billion