Right of Reply: Sasol has been decisive in developing its response strategy to stabilise the company
JOHANNESBURG – The piece, ‘The making of a huge corporate scandal: Is Sasol’s imminent fall engineered?’ by Siyabonga Hadebe refers.
This piece is based on loosely referenced media reports, unsubstantiated conjecture and grossly distorts facts by omission of Sasol’s response to recent events. Furthermore, the notion that any company, including Sasol, would deliberately seek investment opportunities to willingly destroy shareholder value, is preposterous.
Sasol has also consistently communicated to shareholders on all material issues, including the cost over-run and schedule delays at our Lake Charles Chemical Project (LCCP) in the United States, in full compliance with our disclosure obligations under the listings requirements of the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), as well as the applicable United States Securities and Exchange Commission and New York Stock Exchange rules.
On Tuesday, 17 March, Sasol publicly announced a comprehensive response strategy to recent events as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent fallout in the oil markets triggered by leading oil producers. These external shocks have converged to create the perfect storm.
Given our financial circumstances and constrained balance sheet, as a result of the peak capital expenditure at LCCP, the impact of this fallout on Sasol has been dramatic.
We have taken steps to ensure we have liquidity over the next 12 to 18 months in a US$25 dollar per barrel oil price environment, as well as other measures that aim to realise up to US$6 billion in the next two years that will reset Sasol’s capital structure and position Sasol for the future.
Upon assuming office late last year, I stated that we must be realistic around the challenges Sasol faces, focus on the issues within our control and deliver on the expectations of all our stakeholders. South Africa is our home – we are one of the largest capital investors, private taxpayers and social investors. We are not going anywhere.
I fully acknowledge the uncertainty among all our stakeholders about the impact of these recent events on Sasol, where this leaves us and what the way forward is. We have been decisive in developing our response strategy to stabilise the company, protect our balance sheet and preserve the interests of all our stakeholders.
Fleetwood Grobler is president and chief executive of Sasol Limited.