Eskom’s bonds were placed on the bottom rung of "noninvestment grade" by S&P Global Ratings on Thursday night. Besides cutting Eskom’s rating to BB- from BB, the ratings agency also gave the power utility a negative outlook — meaning Eskom’s credit rating now stands precariously on the edge of falling into the deep junk territory of the "highly speculative" single B range. Two key reasons S&P gave for its decision were the likelihood that Eskom would be granted tariff increases of 2.2% in its financial year to end-March 2018, rather than its requested 9.5%, following legal action from industrial customers; and that the government had not yet said whether it would renew its R350bn debt guarantee when it expires in March. S&P originally cut Eskom to BB from BB+ with negative outlook on November 25. S&P said Friday's rating reflected the negative outlook it subsequently gave SA's sovereign rating. Moody’s, on the other hand, maintained Eskom at Ba1 (equivalent to BB+) on December 5. "W...

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