Sasol plans sale of 10% stake to black investors
By Carli Lourens
Updated: 2007-09-11 06:58

Sasol Ltd, the world's largest producer of motor fuel from coal, said it will sell a 10 percent stake to black investors in South Africa's largest redistribution of wealth to the black majority.

The 17.9 billion rand ($2.46 billion) transaction will be funded through a combination of equity and the issue of preference shares to black-investment groups, the Johannesburg-based company said yesterday. The sale includes a 4 percent stake to almost 27,000 employees, it added.

South Africa's government is pushing companies from banks to gold producers to sell stakes to black investors to help compensate for discrimination under apartheid, which ended in 1994.

Anglo American Plc, the world's second-biggest mining company, last week agreed to sell parts of its platinum business to black investors for 11.2 billion rand.

"We want as many black South Africans as feasibly possible, most of whom have never owned shares before, to become shareholders," Sasol Chief Executive Pat Davies said.

Helped by state funding, Sasol developed technology invented by German scientists in the 1920s, and first used commercially in World War II, to build plants south and east of Johannesburg that convert coal into products such as diesel and chemicals.

The company said a 3 percent stake will go to members of the public. Sasol will also target groups and communities close to its operations at Sasolburg and Secunda for additional shares.

Profit gain

Sasol earlier reported a 64 percent jump in annual profit after oil prices increased and it wrote down the value of its European chemicals unit the previous year.

Net income rose to 17 billion rand ($2.3 billion), or 27.02 rand a share, in the year to June 30, from 10.4 billion rand, or 16.51 rand, a year earlier, Johannesburg-based Sasol said .

The company, which pays most costs in rand and sells its output for dollars, benefited from an 11 percent gain in the rand price of crude.

Bloomberg News

(China Daily 09/11/2007 page16)