Eskom 'disappointed' by Moody's downgrade - TechCentral

Eskom ‘disappointed’ by Moody’s downgrade

Eskom interim CEO Jabu Mabuza

Eskom said it has noted rating agency Moody’s downgrade of its unguaranteed credit ratings.

“Eskom notes with disappointment the ratings decisions implemented by Moody’s. The current board and management have worked painstakingly hard to try and resolve corporate governance issues of the past regime,” it said.

Moody’s downgraded to “B3” from “B2” the long-term corporate family rating (CFR) of Eskom. The zero coupon Eurobonds rating has similarly been revised to “B3” from “B2” in line with the CFR and the global medium-term note (GMTN) programme. The senior unsecured GMTNs of Eskom were downgraded to “(P) Caa1/Caa1” from “(P) B3/B3” with the outlook remaining negative.

Moody’s has simultaneously affirmed the Baa3 rating on Eskom’s government-guaranteed notes.

The power utility said it continues to implement the generation recovery nine-point plan to stabilise plants and the security of supply. While the system has been constrained, Eskom has endeavoured to provide a secure and stable electricity supply.

“We acknowledge the concerns expressed by Moody’s and continue to work closely with shareholder ministries to resolve the current challenges,” said acting CEO Jabu Mabuza.

“Whichever option gets implemented through the unbundling processes, we will ensure that our creditors will not be compromised and that the execution of these options gets done under acceptable legal frameworks. Our electricity supply system remains fairly constrained but we are doing everything we can to make sure that the supply is not compromised,” said Mabuza.

Negative outlook

Eskom’s downgrade follows the rating agency’s decision last week to affirm South Africa’s long-term foreign and local currency debt ratings at “Baa3” while revising the outlook to negative from stable.

At the time, government noted the decision, saying that South Africa’s credit ratings by Moody’s remain investment grade (one notch above “junk”).

The agency further acknowledged the South African Reserve Bank’s demonstration of a good track record in implementing credible and effective monetary policy and preserving financial stability.

“The rating affirmation affords South Africa a narrow window to demonstrate faster and concrete implementation of reforms that are already underway, aimed at lifting growth and returning public finances to a more sustainable path. Economic reforms have to be implemented without delay,” said national treasury at the time.  — SANews

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