Sasol Update on Response to Oil Price Volatility and Covid-19 Pandemic
(Incorporated in the Republic of South Africa)
(Registration number 1979/003231/06)
Sasol Ordinary Share codes: JSE: SOL NYSE: SSL
Sasol Ordinary ISIN codes: ZAE000006896 US8038663006
Sasol BEE Ordinary Share code: JSE: SOLBE1
Sasol BEE Ordinary ISIN code: ZAE000151817
(“Sasol” or “Company”)
SASOL UPDATE ON RESPONSE TO OIL PRICE VOLATILITY AND COVID-19
Sasol continues to make significant progress on the response plan measures
announced on 17 March 2020 and 23 April 2020, to address the impacts of oil price
volatility and the COVID-19 pandemic (COVID-19).
The situation remains highly dynamic, but as lockdown regulations are eased in South
Africa and elsewhere, Sasol is now ramping up operations whilst taking action to ensure
the safety of employees and service providers.
This announcement includes the following:
- Operational performance update
- Covenant update
- Status on financial position
- Future positioning of Sasol
- Change in Director’s executive responsibilities and new Group Executive
OPERATIONAL PERFORMANCE UPDATE
As previously communicated an unprecedented decrease in fuel demand in South
Africa as a result of COVID-19 resulted in us reducing our production rates at Secunda
Synfuels Operations (SSO) and suspending production at the Natref Refinery in
Sasolburg, in a joint decision with Sasol’s partner, Total South Africa.
Sasol used this period of lower production to bring forward its planned September 2020
maintenance shutdown at SSO. This shutdown was successfully completed in May
2020 and ensures production will be uninterrupted for the remainder of the calendar
year. Similarly, maintenance work planned for later during calendar year 2020 at Natref
was successfully completed during the lockdown period.
Since the lockdown restrictions in South Africa were eased on 1 June 2020, SSO has
ramped up production, and Natref is expected to start production by the end of June
2020 and will ramp up to full capacity as jet fuel demand resumes. The ammonia, nitric
acid and chlor-vinyl plants in Sasolburg also started up in May 2020.
Outside South Africa, Sasol’s operations are performing to plan. Oryx GTL’s train 1
came back into operation at the beginning of June 2020, and train 2 is expected to be
back in production in the second quarter of financial year 2021 following the extended
planned shutdown of the plant.
Sasol previously guided the beneficial operation of the Ziegler and Guerbet units at the
Lake Charles Chemicals Project (LCCP) by end June 2020 and is pleased to announce
that the Ziegler unit achieved beneficial operation on 16 June 2020 and the Guerbet
unit’s beneficial operation is imminent. Remediation work on the low density
polyethylene (LDPE) unit is progressing according to plan, and we expect to bring this
unit into production before the end of the third quarter of calendar year 2020.
Sasol is pleased to announce the successful conclusion of discussions with lenders
regarding increased balance sheet flexibility in the context of COVID-19 impacts and
market volatility. Our lenders have agreed to waive the covenant at June 2020 and lift
the December 2020 covenant from 3 times to 4 times Net Debt : Earnings Before
Interest, Taxation, Depreciation and Amortisation (EBITDA).
This additional flexibility is subject to conditions which are customary for such covenant
amendments and consistent with Sasol’s broader capital allocation framework. These
include provisions to prioritise debt reduction at this time, such as commitments that
there will be no dividend payments nor acquisitions while Sasol’s leverage is above 3
times Net Debt : EBITDA. Sasol will also reduce the size of its facilities as debt levels
are reduced, whilst continuing to maintain a strong liquidity position.
In conjunction with these amendments and in light of Sasol’s two notch credit rating
downgrade earlier this year, the interest costs across Sasol’s debt facilities will increase
by approximately US$40 million per annum, before any reduction in borrowings through
any self-help measures or disposals. The applicable interest rate will reduce in the event
that Sasol’s credit rating improves.
UPDATE ON FINANCIAL POSITION
Management continues to progress with the execution of its crude oil hedging
programme for financial year 2021. For quarter 1 financial year 2021, approximately
80% of Synfuels’ liquid fuels exposure was hedged, translating to 6 million barrels. This
consists of 2,5 million barrels of zero cost collars at a put strike price of US$31 per
barrel and a call strike price of US$39 per barrel, and 3,5 million barrels of put options at
an average net strike price of US$37 per barrel. Oil hedges for the remainder of
financial year 2021 are in progress with 2 million barrels using put options hedged at an
average net strike price of US$30 per barrel and 0,5 million barrels hedged using zero
cost collars at a put strike of US$36 per barrel and a call strike of US$45 per barrel.
These oil hedges will significantly protect liquidity during the forthcoming months
Sasol made significant progress with the implementation of its self-help measures as
communicated on 17 March and 23 April 2020. For financial year 2020 Sasol is well on
track to achieve the targets set, whilst for financial year 2021 plans to achieve the
targets set have been developed to a high level of probability.
Sasol reaffirms that liquidity headroom will remain well above US$1 billion, with
improved liquidity balances in Sasol’s US dollar and Rand liquidity facilities. Several
focussed management actions over the past couple of months have improved our
Sasol remains committed to the delivery of its response plan to bring leverage back in
line with target levels and mitigate the impacts of recent market volatility and COVID-19.
The process to accelerate and expand our asset disposal programme has yielded good
progress for several of Sasol’s assets despite the macro environment volatility in recent
months. Any divestment or similar activity will be executed in line with balance sheet,
shareholder value and strategic objectives, including the potential for partnering options
at Sasol’s US Base Chemicals business.
Further updates on the progress of the disposal transactions will be made as and when
POSITIONING SASOL FOR THE FUTURE
As previously communicated, a key part of Sasol’s response plan is to look beyond the
near-term measures and position the business for sustained profitability in a low oil
price environment. The new strategy will focus on Sasol’s core portfolios of chemicals
and energy. A focused and robust review of the business, and the associated workforce
structures, is underway and a detailed update will be provided to stakeholders alongside
the full year results.
A key decision as a result of this includes the discontinuation of all oil growth activities in
West Africa. The reset of the strategy necessitates a revised operating model, which is
still under development and will be announced in the second quarter of financial year
The review has identified that the future Sasol business – “Sasol 2.0” – will be focused
on two core businesses, Chemicals and Energy (the Businesses). The revision of our
strategy aims to have a greater focus on enhanced cash generation, value realisation
for shareholders and business sustainability. The Chemicals Business will focus on its
activities in specialty chemicals where it has differentiated capabilities and strong
market positions which can be expanded over time. The Energy Business will comprise
the Southern African value chain and associated assets and will pursue greenhouse
gas emission reduction (GHG) through focus on gas as a key feedstock and renewables
as a secondary energy source. This will be a key enabler to achieve the 2030 and
longer term aspirations to shift to a lower carbon economy.
Our two market-facing Businesses will each be responsible for its own profit and loss,
management of resources and capabilities. A lean corporate centre will enable the
Businesses by fostering synergies and integrating activities, setting strategic boundaries
and allocating capital.
The redesign of the organisation to enable our sustainability at lower oil prices will have
an impact on our workforce structure. We have accordingly issued a notice to our
representative trade unions in South Africa in terms of section 189 of the Labour
Relations Act number 66 of 1995, inviting them to enter into consultation with Sas ol. A
similar process will be followed with the relevant recognised bodies in our other
CHANGE IN DIRECTOR’S EXECUTIVE RESPONSIBILITIES AND NEW GROUP
EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE STRUCTURES
As a first step towards this long-term trajectory, the new senior leadership end-state
structure will consist of the President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and six
Executive Vice President (EVP) portfolios. An additional EVP Sasol 2.0 Transformation
role will be in place for up to 24 months to help execute our restructuring initiative and
mitigate risks to ongoing operations. Changes in the roles of EVPs will be effective from
1 November 2020. This new structure will also increase our gender and diversity
representation at GEC level.
The EVP portfolios will be structured as follows:
- The Energy Business Unit will comprise two EVP portfolios;
o Priscillah Mabelane, whose appointment we announced on 2 June 2020, will
lead Sasol’s liquid fuels marketing and sales activities, upstream gas,
sourcing and marketing, and supporting functions associated with the Energy
o Bernard Klingenberg will lead operations and technical functions within the
Energy value chain, as well as mining, to ensure continuity in our ability to
deliver across our integrated value chain.
- The Chemicals Business Unit will be led by Brad Griffith. He will be fully accountable
for the full end-to-end chemicals business, from feedstock sourcing through
operations, marketing and sales and associated supporting activities and functions.
The Corporate Centre will be made up of three EVP portfolios:
- Chief Financial Officer, Paul Victor.
- Human Resources and Stakeholder Relations, led by Charlotte Mokoena.
- Strategy, Sustainability and Integrated Services, led by Executive Director Vuyo
Kahla. Corporate portfolio strategy, sustainability, enterprise-wide risk
management as well as enterprise-wide SHE policy and reporting will be added
to his current responsibilities. Supply chain will move from his current portfolio of
responsibilities and form part of the business units.
In addition to the permanent roles described above, Marius Brand will be appointed as
EVP Sasol 2.0 Transformation to lead the Group-wide Transformation Programme to
Sasol 2.0 and delivering the long-term sustainability targets by the third quarter of
financial year 2021.
Further details of our repositioning process will be provided at the August 2020 results
18 June 2020
Sponsor: Merrill Lynch South Africa Proprietary Limited
Disclaimer - Forward-looking statements
Sasol may, in this document, make certain statements that are not historical facts and
relate to analyses and other information which are based on forecasts of future results
and estimates of amounts not yet determinable. These statements may also relate to
our future prospects, expectations, developments and business strategies. Examples of
such forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, the impact of the novel
coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on Sasol’s business, results of operations, financial
condition and liquidity and statements regarding the effectiveness of any actions taken
by Sasol to address or limit any impact of COVID-19 on its business; statements
regarding exchange rate fluctuations, changing crude oil prices , volume growth,
increases in market share, total shareholder return, executing our growth projects
(including LCCP), oil and gas reserves, cost reductions, our climate change strategy
and business performance outlook. Words such as “believe”, “anticipate”, “expect”,
“intend", “seek”, “will”, “plan”, “could”, “may”, “endeavour”, “target”, “forecast” and
“project” and similar expressions are intended to identify such forward-looking
statements, but are not the exclusive means of identifying such statements. By their
very nature, forward-looking statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties, both
general and specific, and there are risks that the predictions, forecasts, projections and
other forward-looking statements will not be achieved. If one or more of these risks
materialise, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, our actual results may
differ materially from those anticipated. You should understand that a number of
important factors could cause actual results to differ materially from the plans,
objectives, expectations, estimates and intentions expressed in such forward-looking
statements. These factors and others are discussed more fully in our most recent
annual report on Form 20-F filed on 28 October 2019 and in other filings with the United
States Securities and Exchange Commission. The list of factors discussed therein is not
exhaustive; when relying on forward-looking statements to make investment decisions,
you should carefully consider both these factors and other uncertainties and events.
Forward-looking statements apply only as of the date on which they are made, and we
do not undertake any obligation to update or revise any of them, whether as a result of
new information, future events or otherwise.
Date: 18-06-2020 07:05:00
Produced by the JSE SENS Department. The SENS service is an information dissemination service administered by the JSE Limited ('JSE').
The JSE does not, whether expressly, tacitly or implicitly, represent, warrant or in any way guarantee the truth, accuracy or completeness of
the information published on SENS. The JSE, their officers, employees and agents accept no liability for (or in respect of) any direct,
indirect, incidental or consequential loss or damage of any kind or nature, howsoever arising, from the use of SENS or the use of, or reliance on,
information disseminated through SENS.