Sasol asset sales continue with disposal of stake in US joint venture to reduce debt

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Sasol's head office in Johannesburg.
Sasol's head office in Johannesburg.
  • Sasol has completed the disposal of a 50% stake in a US-based joint venture. 
  • The $404 million in proceeds will be used to pay off debt.
  • This comes after the chemicals and energy company reported a R91.3 billion loss due to the plummeting oil prices and writedowns of nearly R112 billion.

Sasol has disposed of its 50% stake in US-based Gemini high-density polyethylene joint venture and the $404 million (about R6 billion) in proceeds will be used to pay off its debt, the chemical and energy group said in a shareholder notice.

Sasol [JSE: SOL] has previously announced the disposal in November. It sold the stake to its partner INEOS, a British chemical company. Sasol CEO Fleetwood Grobler previously said the sale was part of the group's drive to focus on specialty chemicals markets.

"Sasol is pleased to announce that the divestment successfully closed on 31 December 2020," the group said. "The cash proceeds from the transaction were received on 31 December 2020, and will be used by Sasol to repay near-term debt obligations."

Sasol reported a R91.3 billion loss for the year ended June 2020, this as it suffered the impact of plummeting oil prices and write-downs of nearly R112 billion in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. The group previously said it expects the oil price to remain low for the next 12 to 18 months, given the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sasol has lost more than half of its share value over the past year. After markets opened on Monday, the share price was trading 1.37% higher at R135.77.

It's been offloading a number of assets to improve its financial position. Most recently it announced a sale of its 49% stake in a gas-to-power plant in Mozambique, the transaction is worth $145 million (about R2.1 billion), Fin24 previously reported.

Sasol last year announced it would seek a partner for its US-based Lake Charles Chemical Project – which has suffered delays and cost overruns contributing to the group's rising debt levels. It has since sold 50% off the base chemicals unit at Lake Charles to multinational chemicals company LyondellBasell for $2 billion (about R29 billion).

In November the group said the project was finally complete and fully operational.


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