Struggling South African Firms Handed $2.8 Billion Lifeline During Xi’s Visit
* Power utility gets $2.5 billion credit line, while freight rail operator receives $300 million loan ahead of annual BRICS summit
* Announcement follows launch earlier this month of a China-sponsored free trade zone in Djibouti
(Beijing) — Two major Chinese lenders have offered nearly $3 billion in credit to struggling enterprises in South Africa during President Xi Jinping’s state visit there, as China seeks to expand its influence on the continent with increased trade and investment.
Power utility Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. secured a $2.5 billion long-term credit line from China Development Bank, while port and freight rail operator Transnet SOC Ltd. accepted a long-term $300 million loan from Industrial & Commercial Bank of China Ltd. (ICBC).
The announcements came during Xi’s official state visit to South Africa ahead of the 10th summit of the BRICS nations — Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa — that begins in Johannesburg on Wednesday. At last year’s summit, China set aside 500 million yuan ($73.5 million) for economic and technological exchanges with the BRICS counties. China is South Africa’s biggest trading partner.
“The influence of China in Africa is rising as more and more trade and investment between China and Africa occurs,” said Jeremy Stevens, the Beijing-based chief China economist at Standard Bank, a South African bank.
Recent Chinese developments on the continent include the launch earlier this month of a China-sponsored free trade zone in the small African nation of Djibouti, a project that the two countries hope will become the continent’s biggest free-trade zone on a major global trade route, the Horn of Africa.
Eskom, the recipient of the latest financing deal from the two banks, is seeking to cut costs and increase efficiency to improve its finances. The deal with China Development Bank means the utility has secured about two-thirds of its expected funding requirements for the year, Reuters reported. Eskom depends on government guarantees to service its debt of about 368 billion rand ($27.5 billion).
Transnet, a state-owned firm accused of irregularities in the awarding of state contracts under then-President Jacob Zuma, received a loan from ICBC for a period of five and a half years to boost its near-term liquidity, the report said.
“Each of these companies are important contributors to South Africa’s economy, but have been underperforming for some time. Each are in the process of finding solutions to their underperformance, which has included wholesale changes to management and strategic focus,” Stevens said.
Contact reporter Jason Tan (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Dec 12 18:46
Dec 12 16:47
Dec 12 14:15
Dec 12 14:13
Dec 12 14:37
Dec 12 13:38
Dec 12 11:01
Dec 12 05:33
- 1JD.com’s Richard Liu Steps Down From Key Positions, but Retains Control
- 2Photo Essay: Chinese Farming in Mozambique
- 3In Depth: How the Queen of Gree Won, Again
- 4Chipmaker Secures Patent Deals as China Seeks to Break Foreign Tech Dependence
- 5Another Local Government Financing Vehicle Fails to Pay Bond Interest
- 1Power To The People: Pintec Serves A Booming Consumer Class
- 2Largest hotel group in Europe accepts UnionPay
- 3UnionPay mobile QuickPass debuts in Hong Kong
- 4UnionPay International launches premium catering privilege U Dining Collection
- 5UnionPay International’s U Plan has covered over 1600 stores overseas