Standard Bank Arranges US$1.25 Billion Eskom Bond Sale to International Investors

Johannesburg-based Standard Bank has partnered with Eskom to sell US$1.25 billion 10 year fixed rate bonds into the international capital markets

Standard Bank is proud to have partnered with Eskom to sell US$1.25 billion 10 year fixed rate bonds into the international capital markets. The funds raised will enable the state-run utility, which produces more than 95 percent of South Africa’s and 40 percent of Africa’s power, to fund its generation expansion program. 

Johannesburg-based Standard Bank, Africa’s biggest lender by assets, acted as joint lead manager and bookrunner on the sale of the bonds which mature on 11 February 2025 and will pay an annual coupon of 7.125 percent. Eskom had initially planned to sell a benchmark US$1 billion bond but expanded its offering after it received bids totalling almost US$4.3 billion from approximately 280 investors from across the globe. 

“This was a very well supported book, that held stable at the lower end of our initial pricing thoughts,” said Megan McDonald, Global Head of Debt Primary Markets at Standard Bank. “The fact that the bond was almost four times oversubscribed is a strong vote of confidence from international investors which will enable Eskom fund its expansion programs and add additional generating capacity. This is an excellent outcome against challenging market conditions with concerns over Greece and potential increases in US Treasury rates.”

Eskom last sold debt in the international markets in August 2013 when it issued US$1 billion of 10-year bonds at a coupon of 6.75 percent. At the time the utility received bids worth more than US$4 billion from 225 investors.

“We are honoured to have assisted Eskom with this important transaction which demonstrates Standard Bank’s expertise in the power and infrastructure sector across Africa and our ability to source funding from international investors for our clients,” said Ms McDonald.

The majority of Eskom’s bonds were sold to US investors (52%) followed by those from the UK (29%) and Europe (16%). The bonds are rated Ba1 by Moody’s Investors Service and BBB- by Standard & Poor’s. 

Eskom’s capital expenditure programme is currently mainly focussed on the construction of its two major projects, the 4.8 gigawatt coal fired power stations at Medupi amd Kusile, which will be Africa’s biggest once complete.   At 30 September 2014, Eskom’s infrastructure across South Africa included 30,068km of transmission lines, 46,285km of distribution lines and 277,173km of reticulation power lines, representing the largest power line system in Africa. 

The transaction adds to Standard Bank’s strong credentials in international debt capital markets, having recently arranged bond issuances for Transnet SOC Ltd, The Republic of South Africa, the Republic of Kenya and the Federal Republic of Nigeria.