Central Energy Fund, Sasol deny asset sale talks

Sasol media statement:

Sasol is not divesting its downstream fuel retail business as part of its ongoing asset disposal process. 

“While Sasol is in the process of reviewing opportunities in this regard, it is important to note that we remain committed to our strategy, which includes growing our fuel retail presence in South Africa,” said Sasol Chief Financial Officer, Paul Victor.

Sasol’s energy business in South Africa has a strong brand of 410 retail convenience centres, which account for 11% of the regulated retail market.

“Here, our focus remains on improving margins by looking for higher value markets for our existing production of fuels. This means both organic retail growth, by increasing our retail site development and conversion of sites to the Sasol brand, and possible small scale acquisitions,” Victor explained. 

“Although we are regularly approached by interested parties to acquire or partner with us in the retail network space, we are not in discussions with any such parties to divest or partner in our downstream fuel retail business. While recent events have created significant short-term challenges, we are confident our business is fundamentally robust and we have a clear pathway to resume value creation,” said Victor.

On 12 March 2020, Sasol announced that it was reviewing a variety of actions to address the challenges created by the impact of Covid-19 and the recent decline in the oil and chemical prices.

A package of measures have been developed that is intended to reposition the company over the following 24 months. One of these measures will be our existing asset disposal programme. Any divestment or similar activity will be executed in line with balance sheet, shareholder value and strategic objectives in mind and builds on the comprehensive asset review process which commenced in November 2017.

Sasol has made progress on its expedited review of the business to consider how it can be most effectively positioned to be sustainable in a low oil price environment. Consistent with this approach, the expanded asset disposal process has yielded good interest in relation to a number of assets, despite the macro environment uncertainty.

Timely updates on progress will be provided at the appropriate time in line with good corporate governance and our disclosure obligations pursuant to our listings on the JSE and the NYSE.

Sasol’s vision is still to be a leading integrated global chemical and energy company, proudly rooted in our South African heritage, delivering superior value to our stakeholders.

Central Energy Fund not in talks to buy Sasol’s petrol stations

The Central Energy Fund has noted with concern a daily newspaper media report titled: Central Energy Fund in talks to buy Sasol’s petrol stations’ as malicious and bothering around sensational reporting.

At the recent portfolio committee meeting for Mineral Resources and Energy, the Chairperson of CEF, Dr Monde Mnyande informed the committee that the Group would be embarking on a campaign to drive, both domestic and foreign direct investments in the energy value chain geared to reignite the South African economy and create much needed job opportunities.

Part of this campaign will be to take advantage of all available energy assets that are up for sale in the marketplace and are in need of strategic partnerships.

He further cited Sasol’s available assets, which are by now a public knowledge, and are up for sale as an example, which CEF Group would consider in line with its investment strategy.

At no stage, did the CEF Group Board nor its Chairperson; Dr Mnyande publicly announced that it is negotiating with Sasol to buy its petrol stations.

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