Finance minister Tito Mboweni could announce the biggest bailout of a state-owned company in SA history on February 20. Depending on the size of the debt restructuring and recapitalisation package for Eskom — it could be up to R200bn — the move could create some breathing room for a proper debate about the future of the ailing electricity producer. There are two ways to achieve a debt restructuring. The government could move R100bn of Eskom debt to the sovereign balance sheet, as the board and management have requested. A Nedbank report says that a R190bn bailout would set Eskom’s liquidity profile onto a sustainable path. “Using Moody’s debt-to-GDP ratio of 60% as a threshold, the government has the capacity to support Eskom to the tune of R212bn,” it reads. The easier sovereign debt-neutral option would be for the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), which has excess funding, to write off about R90bn of Eskom bonds. The second part of the package could be a R100bn recapitalisation...

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