Eskom has abandoned its plan to ask the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) to convert some of its debt to shares out of concern that it will be viewed as a default by the market. The PIC, which invests government pension and other funds, holds R84bn in Eskom bonds, prompting Eskom’s new leadership to suggest earlier in 2018 that one way out of its financial problems would be to convert some of its debt into an ownership stake. Eskom’s financial position is heavily weighed down by its debt burden, which totalled R387bn at the end of March and is set to increase to R600bn within four years. The utility, which generates more than 90% of the country’s electricity, operates largely thanks to a R350bn government guarantee of its debt. Ratings agencies have highlighted this as one of the key risks to the country’s finances. The utility’s chair, Jabu Mabuza, told parliament’s committee on public enterprises and energy on Tuesday that following the power utility’s road show to London, New Y...

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