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Embattled Transnet seeks South Africa’s support to turnaround

16th October 2023

By: Bloomberg

  

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South Africa’s embattled State-owned freight-rail and ports company identified areas that require immediate state support in a turnaround plan that is being submitted to the government.

Transnet's board plans to meet the Ministry of Public Enterprises and the Ministry of Finance this week to discuss the plan, it said in an emailed statement on October 14. Once approved by Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan’s department, it will be discussed with labor unions, employees, customers and lenders, the company said.

Last week, a plan was submitted to the presidency setting out ways to reverse the collapse of Transnet that has cost Africa’s most-industrialized economy $26.7-billion since 2010. Volumes of iron-ore and coal shipped through the company’s freight rail network for export have dropped because of issues including vandalism, idle locomotives and cable theft.

The government has begun talks with the World Bank for a $1-billion loan to upgrade Transnet’s rail infrastructure and support state power utility Eskom Holdings’s transmission unit, Johannesburg-based newspaper Business Day reported October 13.

Transnet’s turnaround plan sets out operational and financial initiatives that must be implemented over the next six, 12 and 18 months to stabilise the business, according to the statement. It’s prioritized the filling of three executive positions, following the resignations of its chief executive officer and head of its freight-rail division earlier this month. Former chairperson Popo Molefe also quit the board last week.

Edited by Bloomberg

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