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Sasol swings to $5.3bn annual loss on lower oil prices

Sasol swings to $5.3bn annual loss on lower oil prices
Mining News Pro - South African petrochemicals group Sasol reported an annual loss on Monday, hit by a writedown of R111.6-billion and a drop in oil and chemical prices due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The world`s top producer of motor fuel from coal reported a loss of R91.3-billion for the full year ended June 30, compared with earnings of R6.1-billion in the prior year.

But core headline earnings per share, the primary profit gauge in South Africa that strips out certain one-off items, fell 61% to R14.70 for the year from R37.65 a year earlier.

Sasol said earnings were severely impacted by a collapse in oil prices and the economic impact of Covid-19 in the second half of the year despite good production and higher oil prices in the first half of the year.

The company said it recorded impairments of R111.6-billion, with R72.6-billion related to its base chemicals business and R38.8-billion related to other assets mainly in South Africa.

Earnings were further impacted by R3.9-billion in depreciation charges and R6-billion rand in finance charges for the year as its Lake Charles Chemicals project (LCCP) units reached beneficial operation, Sasol said.

Investors have been concerned by the company`s debt, largely due to delays and cost overruns at LCCP in Louisiana, that forced its former joint chief executive officers to resign in a bid to restore shareholder confidence.

Sasol said total debt for the year stood at R189.7-billion, compared with R130.9-billion a year earlier.

The petrochemical firm said it would continue to suspend dividends to protect liquidity amid ongoing economic uncertainty.

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