UPDATE 2-South African state-owned enterprises seek to bail out coronavirus crisis

* South Africa hard hit by COVID-19 pandemic

* The bailout of state-owned enterprises is an ongoing problem

* The post office, the broadcaster, the airport company are looking for support

* Moody’s warns of emerging markets bailout risks (updates with SABC commentary, Moody’s adds, photos)

JOHANNESBURG, Sept.1 (Reuters) – South African state-owned enterprises have requested billions of rand in government funding to help them weather the coronavirus crisis, a presentation from the Finance Department showed in parliament on Tuesday.

Loss-making state-owned enterprises have long weighed on Africa’s most industrialized economy, requiring bailouts that strained public finances in a time of weak economic growth, helping to tip its sovereign credit down to a grade. “Unwanted”.

South African Post (SAPO) has requested support of 4.9 billion rand ($ 293 million), while broadcaster SABC is asking for 1.5 billion and airport operator ACSA has requested an injection of funds own 3.5 billion, according to the presentation.

The financial performance of struggling electricity utility Eskom is worse than expected due to limited economic activity during the pandemic, while arms company Denel faces bankruptcy or liquidation, revealed the report of the heads of the national treasury.

The SABC told Reuters it has moved revenue-generating programming, while expanding news content and educational coverage due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

SAPO and Eskom did not respond to requests for comment. ACSA was not immediately able to comment and Denel declined to comment.

Denel, which manufactures military equipment for the South African armed forces and customers around the world, told Reuters last week that he did not consider soliciting further injections of government equity, despite a shortage of cash.

We do not know how much funding will be given to businesses.

Rating agency Moody’s said in an emerging markets research report on Tuesday that there was a “significant risk” of larger deficits in countries like South Africa as governments could be forced to expand. their support for weak public enterprises.

South Africa’s economy is expected to contract by at least 7% this year and its budget deficit could reach up to 16% of gross domestic product due to the COVID-19 crisis.

One bright spot in the presentation was the state-owned agricultural lender Land Bank, which it said resumed interest payments to lenders from August 11, after defaulting earlier this year and s ‘be seen pledging a bailout in a June budget. ($ 1 = R16.7310) (Reporting by Alexander Winning; Editing by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo, Carmel Crimmins and Alexander Smith)

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