Transnet, Eskom rated safer than US

11 August 2011

Transnet and Eskom bonds are now more highly rated than United States government bonds, according to the latest ratings by Fitch and Moody’s Investment Services.

After revising the South African state companies’ outlook last month, Fitch affirmed electricity parastatal Eskom’s national long-term rating at AAA(zaf) with a stable outlook, Business Report said on Wednesday.

The agency also affirmed transport and logistics parastatal Transnet’s government-guaranteed bond issue at AAA(zaf).

The utility’s national long-term rating was affirmed at AA-(zaf) with a stable outlook.

These ratings mean that the two South African utilities are now more creditworthy than the US after rating agency Standard and Poor’s (S&P) downgraded the country’s credit rating from the top-notch AAA to AA+ on Friday.

The favourable rating will ease the cost of borrowing in international markets for both Eskom and Transnet as they are currently seeking funds for multibillion-rand expansion programmes.

S&P adjusted the ratings and outlooks of the two parastatals in January, moving Eskom up to stable from negative.