Sasol cuts annual dividend 15% after profits fall on lower oil prices

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JOHANNESBURG, Sept 7 (Reuters) – South African petrochemicals company Sasol said on Monday full year headline earnings fell by 17 percent and cut its dividend by 15 percent, due to weaker oil prices.

The company which relies on oil for 40 percent of its revenue, said headline earnings per share – a widely watched measure in South Africa – stripping off some one-off items, reached 49.76 rand from 60.16 rand a year ago.

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Brent crude oil fell by more than a third during that period, with shares in the company falling by a similar margin.

The world’s top maker of motor fuel from coal, Sasol is cutting costs through measures including delaying major capital projects and smaller dividends to survive the lower oil price environment.

“Our response plan achieved a 8.9 billion rand cash conservation benefit, which is at the upper end of our 6 billion rand to 10 billion rand target range for the 2015 financial year,” the company said in statement, adding that it cut 2,500 jobs through “voluntary separation” and early retirement.

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It paid a dividend of 11.50 rand for the period ending June 30, compared to 13.50 rand paid in the same period a year ago, down 15 percent.