May 18, 2019 / 7:14 AM / 7 months ago

S.Africa power utility Eskom raises $361 million through loan drawdowns

Workers are seen near cooling towers of the Hendrina power station, located south of Middelburg, South Africa, July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Siphiwe Sibeko/File Photo

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa’s power utility Eskom said on Friday it had raised 5.2 billion rand ($361 million) through drawdowns against a portion of committed loans, 4 billion rand of which was received from China Development Bank (CDB), and the issuance of domestic bonds.

The struggling utility supplies more than 90 percent of the electricity in Africa’s most industrialised economy but has a 420 billion rand debt which it struggles to service, poses a threat to the country’s credit rating.

Eskom said it had secured 52% of its plan to borrow 46 billion rand during the 2019/20 financial year.

Eskom had expected to draw down 7 billion rand ($481 million) from a $2.5 billion CDB loan facility by late March, but South Africa’s finance ministry said last month that the drawdown had been delayed, meaning a planned bailout had to be brought forward.

The company said its liquidity stood at 7.7 billion rand at April 30, 2019.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has prioritised fixing the ailing utility in his new five-year term with government having pledged a 23 billion rand ($1.6 billion) a year bailout for Eskom over the next three years.

($1 = 14.4150 rand)

Reporting by Tanisha Heiberg, editing by Louise Heavens

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