Sasol says fuel stations not up for sale

Central Energy Fund denounces reports of it wanting to buy Sasol’s stations.
Sasol has 410 retail fuel 'convenience centres' countrywide, which it says accounts for 11% of the regulated retail market. Image: Moneyweb

JSE-listed petrochemicals giant Sasol has no plans to sell its 410-strong chain of retail fuel stations in South Africa and is not in talks on such a deal with the state-owned Central Energy Fund (CEF).

This was confirmed by both Sasol and CEF on Tuesday, following media reports that they were in talks about the possible sale. It comes as Sasol is looking to sell some assets in the face of the Covid-19 financial fallout, which has seen global oil prices plummet.

Read: Sasol slumps as lower oil prices, virus crimp full-year profit

“Sasol is not divesting its downstream fuel retail business as part of its ongoing asset disposal process,” the group said in a statement.

“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,” Sasol CFO Paul Victor noted.

Sasol CFO Paul Victor. Image: Moneyweb

“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,” Victor added.

The CEF meanwhile issued a harsher statement, describing reports on it being in talks with Sasol about buying its fuel retail business as “malicious” and “bordering on sensational”.

“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,” it noted.

“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 Board nor its chairperson Dr Mnyande publicly announce that it is negotiating with Sasol to buy its petrol stations,” the CEF said.

According to Sasol, its 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,” said Victor.

Read:
Sasol to mull adding pipeline, Qatar plant to disposal plan
Sasol’s proactive measures reassure market

Sasol also reiterated in its statement the group’s announcement on March 12, regarding actions aimed at addressing “the challenges created by the impact of Covid-19” and the decline in oil and chemical prices.

“A package of measures has 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,” the group said.

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Every time a South African entity does one of the following two things the company goes for a ball of ___:

– Put an American as its head;
– Appoint dual CEO’s.

Or venture onto American soil !

I have seen this in the financial industry as well… Overseas experience is more valued than SA experience…
A few years working overseas and when you return to SA…. u making a premium on the experience.

Glad to hear Sasol folded with overseas expertise

What kind of inferiority complex must occupy your head to make such ridiculous proposals forward.

What makes you believe that taking an American at the helm of Sasol will make its fortunes? Remember when Andrews was put at the head of SAA and paid an equivalent of a largesse at over R220m? How did that work out for you.

We have people who are very qualified at the moment running the company and we have endless reserves of people in this country and many other countries who are quite perfectly qualified to running this business. We don’t need an American.

Thank you very –

Why does the state keep wanting to poke its nose into business, that they are demonstrably useless at?

Why? Commission; which will find a way into a family member’s bank account overseas.

Why would anyone want to by a petrol station in these times??? let alone 410

Will people stop buying petrol ? The right stations print money

Second most clueless question of the day.

Sell them to the Chinese-and they can hopelessly overpay for them…as face saving (very important to the Great Party) compensation for the damage their virus mismanagement caused!

or our Cuban counterparts … exchange them for Doctors

ask Trump for a bailout?

SASOL is a dinosaur of the petroleum age. 2 black swan events have destroyed the future value of this company – 1. The Saudi / Russian price war and 2. COVID. The Electrical Age, which was always coming, is now accelerating towards us. In 10 years time, SASOL wont exist and its working parts will have been bought up by the less geared chemical giants

Cute, you think SA or any appreciable part of the world is going to be majority electric in 10 years time? Completely delusional timeline.
Why is it always the ‘black Swan event’ guys who are always so clueless?

Jaapie, we can always disagree with each other but no need to be a complete and utter p about it right? Just so grateful that an I-know-everything like you is here to guide us mere mortals

The stench of sasol discrimination against some of their employees are keeping me from their forecourts

Yeah, look who became an activist now that he also doesn’t get free stuff.

Both SASOL and the CEF declines such reports. How poor have SA’s journalistic standards fallen to?

Maybe use google translate to kitchen taal. They only refuted (declined – lol) the reports later. Bet you would not read a news source that reported ancient history. It was pretty obvious that it was rumour and an developing story on Monday.
Shame, find something else to moan about. It is hard to take you seriously.

End of comments.

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