Eskom said to investigate the sale of assets as billionaire Motsepe circles

Eskom is considering selling smaller assets because the state's energy company weighs solutions to a liquidity crisis that has contributed to a wave of blackouts, according to people familiar with the case.

The supplier of the power of almost all South Africa is in advanced negotiations to sell its home loan activities, with the African Rainbow Capital Investments of the local billionaire Patrice Motsepe in line to do some or all of the operation, said the sources, who asked not to be identified because the plans are still private.

The division, called Eskom Finance, has a loan portfolio of R8.7 billion ($ 613 million) and around 16,000 customers.

Eskom did not respond to a mailed request for comment. African Rainbow Capital declined to comment.

Eskom is seeking funding after the company has resumed its planned shutdowns at the end of November, after an interruption of more than three years. The utility company based in Johannesburg is having trouble keeping on top of the maintenance costs and maintenance of a debt mountain of about R419bn, while coping with the aftermath of a series of corruption scandals during the presidency of Jacob Zuma, which was expelled earlier this year. .

The aid program wants the National Treasury to swallow R100 billion of its debt as part of a rescue plan, according to a fund manager. However, Minister Tito Mboweni of Finance said that the company should go to the bond market instead to raise money. Eskom should also consider selling its two large new coal-fired power stations to help repair the finances, said Alan Hulger, Chief Executive Officer of FirstRand in an interview last week.

For Motsepe, the purchase of Eskom's home loan department would help to develop its financial services. The entrepreneur, who made the most of his $ 2.1 billion capital from mining, plans to start a digital bank called Tyme by the end of the first quarter of 2019.

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