Denmark’s Jyske Bank became the second money manager to say it won’t lend to Eskom after the nation’s biggest specialist fixed-income manager said it had stopped extending credit to state-owned companies amid concern about their governance.
“We pulled the plug on Eskom too yesterday,” Rune Hejrskov, senior money manager at the Silkeborg, Denmark-based company said on Thursday in e-mailed comments. “I could easily see more lenders following suit. We see issues on lending going forward and more governance issues.”
Hejrskov, who helps manage about US$1,3bn at Jyske Bank, said he moved to being underweight in power company Eskom’s bonds from medium-weight.
Futuregrowth Asset Management, with $11,7 billion in assets, told Bloomberg on Wednesday it shelved plans to lend more than R1,8bn to three state companies this week, citing concerns about how they are being run.
Finance minister Pravin Gordhan has been at loggerheads with President Jacob Zuma over the minister’s calling for the firing of the nation’s tax chief for insubordination and the replacement of the board of the loss-making state airline.
The treasury has also clashed with Eskom about its efforts to review coal-supply contracts with a company linked to the Gupta family, who are friends with Zuma and in business with his son. Questions over governance at Eskom may increase, said Hejrskov.
“I see no other way, with the discord between Zuma and finance minister Gordhan, more and more governance issues showing up, Gupta family having a much larger influence than previously expected,” he said.
Yields on Eskom’s $1,25bn of bonds maturing in 2025, which jumped by the most since February on Wednesday, dropped by four basis points to 7,17% by 12.17pm in Johannesburg.
The government said last week that Zuma will lead a new panel to oversee all state-owned companies to ensure they help develop the country, a role previously delegated to Gordhan and other ministers.
Gordhan has refused a request to report to police for questioning as part of an investigation by a special unit into alleged irregularities at the South African Revenue Service, which he ran from 1999 to 2009.
While Gordhan has denied any wrongdoing, there is speculation he may be arrested and removed from his post. — (c) 2016 Bloomberg LP