Sasol: Synthetic fuel gains, weak rand lift profit

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SASOL’S full-year profit rose as much as 17 percent as an increase in synthetic fuels output exceeded its forecast and the rand weakened, the largest producer of petrol from coal said yesterday. Headline earnings a share climbed between 11 percent and 17 percent in the 12 months to June from R32.62 a year earlier, the company said. Synfuels production rose 2 percent to 7.6 million tons, compared with a forecast of 7.3 million to 7.5 million tons. So-called normalised fixed-cash costs were “slightly below market inflation”, it said: “A 97 percent annual utilisation rate achieved at the Oryx gas-to-liquids plant” in Qatar also boosted profit. The rand traded at an average R10.3817 to the dollar in the year to June, 15 percent weaker than the mean in the preceding year. Crude oil averaged $101.28 (R1 078) a barrel, 9.8 percent more than a year earlier. Sasol’s selling prices are linked to the dollar price of oil. It said its R5.3 billion impairment on Canadian shale-gas assets, announced on February 14, would weigh on profit. The shares rose 1.6 percent to close at R614.92 yesterday. – Bloomberg

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