Sub-Saharan Africa debt issuance falls 22pc

JOHANNESBURG. — Debt issuance in sub-Saharan Africa fell to its lowest annual total in three years in 2015, data from Thomson Reuters showed yesterday, as sinking currencies and faltering economies kept borrowers out of the market.

Taking advantage of historically low yields and strong investor appetite, Africans have borrowed heavily in international markets in recent years. Debt sales reached record highs in 2014.

But the prospect of rising interest rates in the US, slowing economies at home and a gloomy outlook for commodity prices are making African states and companies more reluctant to tap capital markets.

Sub-Saharan Africa raised $15,5 billion through debt in 2015, a 22 percent decline and the lowest annual total since 2012, Thomson Reuters’ quarterly investment banking analysis showed.

South Africa, the continent’s most advanced economy, was the biggest issuing country, accounting for more than a third of the activity, followed by Ivory Coast with 28 percent.

The value of merger and acquisitions targeting sub-Saharan African companies rose nearly four-fold to a record $41,1 billion, the data also showed.

African companies are attracting increasing investor attention as the spending power of the rising middle class increases and the continent’s natural resources sector grows.

Investment banking fees for sub-Saharan African increased 24 percent to $476 million.

Rand Merchant Bank, a unit of FirstRand, earned more than 10 percent of the fee pool. — Reuters.

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