Morgan Forced to Delay South African Debt Issue

LONDON - J.P. Morgan & Co. has been forced to postpone the controversial issue of $100 million of debt securities for a South African development agency, the bank said.

The action follows the refusal of the African National Congress to endorse the issue by the Independent Development Trust, a quasigovernmental South African agency created to help fund public works projects that primarily benefit black South Africans.

The issue was originally set to be launched out of London this month, but the trust said in a statement that it now plans to relaunch its Eurodollar bond early next year.

The ANC, which is engaged in talks with the South Africa government on key constitutional issues, has in recent months threatened to nationalize key industries and to refuse to honor new loans if it comes into power.

The blackballing of the issue, which Morgan has been mandated to arrange, has been linked with an ANC tactic of keeping pressure on the South African government for further reforms.

But bankers familiar with the development trust's plans said the postponement should not disrupt a heavy schedule of other South African bond offerings due in coming months. This is part of a new overseas funding program put into place after the nation was freed from most economic and financial sanctions by Western governments earlier this year.

Ecu-Denominated Offering

In upcoming debt issues, the Republic of South Africa plans an offering in January denominated in European currency units (Ecus).

The Development Bank of Southern Africa then plans a bond in Germany, scheduled for February.

Among other issuers, the state-owned electricity supply commission (Escom) plans to raise as much as $875 million during 1992. The first offering will be in deutsche marks and is due in March, bankers said.

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