Sasol continues to crash - it's now down 80% from a year ago

Sasol's share price reached R68 earlier on Tuesday, after trading at around R480 as recently as in April last year.

After falling 47% on Monday in reaction to an oil price crash, its share price was down another 8% by late Tuesday afternoon. It was last trading at around R77.50.  

The market now values Sasol at around R47 billion. The company has a debt burden of more than R120 billion, and investors are worried that it may be forced to issue more shares to raise cash.

There are concerns that so-called debt covenants which may be breached. Some of Sasol's loan conditions require that its debt-to-profit levels remain above a certain level. Sasol's profits will take hit a from the lower oil price, which will probably leave it in breach of these debt covenants. This means that its loans could become payable immediately.

Sasol will have to sell some of its assets, or issue shares, to cut its debt burden, experts say. 

Sasol has been under pressure for many months, due mainly to its disastrous R200 billion Lake Charles chemicals project in the US, which has been hit by large budget overruns and operational problems. The company fired its joint CEOs, Bongani Nqwababa and Stephen Cornell, after a forensic investigation found mismanagement in the project.

But the oil crash on Monday proved the final straw for investors. Oil plunged over 30% after Saudi Arabia announced steep cuts to its oil prices after Russia refused to lower its oil production, along with other OPEC countries.

On Tuesday, Brent crude oil showed signs of life, rising by 12% to $37 a barrel. But Sasol continued to bleed. 

Late on Monday, its management postponed a call with analysts, scheduled for Tuesday, to discuss Moody’s decision to downgrade the company's bonds to "junk". Executives said they needed more time to assess the impact of the oil price fall.

The company also confirmed that it did not hedge oil prices - which means Sasol will feel the full impact of the price crash.

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