TIMESLIVE / 20 AUGUST 2018 - 10.47 / ROBERT LAING AND LISA STEYN
Sasol’s full-year net profit shrank by more than half‚ to R10-billion in 2018 from R21.5-billion in 2017‚ it reported on Monday morning.
The chemicals group grew revenue by 5% to R181bn‚ but R9.9bn in "remeasurement items" and a R2.9bn share-based payment to its Khanyisa empowerment scheme dragged down its bottom line. It was also hit by a stronger rand.
Sasol said the remeasurement items included a R5.2bn impairment of its Chlor Vinyls plant "as a result of the continued and sustained strengthening of the exchange rate outlook and the resulting impact on base chemicals margins".
Despite the drop in net profit‚ Sasol increased its final dividend slightly‚ to R7.90 from R7.80‚ taking its total for the year to end-June to R12.90‚ a 2.4% increase on the previous financial year’s R12.60.
Sasol said its new dividend policy is to pay a third of what it terms "core" headline earnings per share (HEPS)‚ which exclude one-off and non-cash items such as impairments and expenses booked to Khanyisa.
Core HEPS declined by 6% to R36.03 while diluted HEPS fell 22% to R27.27.
Synthetic fuel production from its Secunda plant declined by 3% during the financial year due to technical glitches.
"Overall‚ our operational performance was satisfactory‚ however‚ unplanned Eskom electricity supply interruptions and two internal outages at Secunda synfuels operations‚ negatively impacted volumes‚" co-CEO Bongani Nqwababa said in the results statement.
Sasol benefited from a higher oil price. "The average Brent crude oil price moved 28% higher compared to the prior year and‚ since December 2017‚ spot prices have moved closer to the $75 a barrel mark‚ which positively impacted our results‚" Sasol said.
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