A few years ago, many African governments started issuing Eurobonds (bonds issued in a foreign currency) as a way to raise money. Nigeria, Zambia and Kenya are just a few to have tested their money-raising luck on global markets. Interest payments on some of these Eurobonds are due this year..
Important point… ….- most of those payments have to be paid in US dollars. That’s not great if your local currency has lost up to half of its value against the dollar.
Any one short these bonds?
Many investors have become increasingly worried about the ability of some African governments to repay their Eurobonds… …the credit ratings of many countries have been sliding to near-junk and junk status.
Need evidence? CHECK OUT the related BBC report
Zambia issued its first Eurobond in 2012 at 5.4%. When they did, copper prices had already been falling. Where was the due diligence?
Falling copper prices, a power crisis and a credit rating downgrade now mean that investors who willingly lent money to Zambia in 2015 ignored the reality that these deals would actually be more risky than it had been in 2012.
When the country issued its third Eurobond last year, the rate was 8.5%. Now Zambia has to make those increased interest payments from declining tax revenues. And with much more expensive dollars. This will not end well.
Other projects from mines to railways and ports badly need due diligence second opinions. When they don’t get them, buyers should beware. Or the next Academy Award nominated best movie could be about you.
This includes massive mine/rail projects in Namibia, Botswana, South Africa, Senegal, and Mali… …to name a few.
Most of these strategic plan paper projects lack due diligence pro forma assessments of their long term Income Statement outcomes against traffic risks projections ofrevenue volume being unrealistic. Always get a second opinion.