Danish bank becomes second money manager to stop lending to Eskom

DENMARK’S Jyske Bank became the second money manager to say it would not lend to South Africa’s Eskom Holdings after Future Growth, the nation’s biggest specialist fixed-income manager said it had stopped extending credit to state-owned companies amid concern about their governance.

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“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 follow suit. We see issues on lending going forward and more governance issues.”

Hejrskov, who helps manage about $1.3bn at Jyske Bank, said he moved to being underweight in power company Eskom’s bonds from mediumweight.

Futuregrowth Asset Management, with $11.7bn in assets, told Bloomberg on Wednesday that it shelved plans to lend more than R1.8bn rand ($123m) 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.

Source: Business Day

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