November 25, 2019 / 6:06 AM / 20 days ago

S.Africa's Sasol expects H1 profit to slump by at least 20%

JOHANNESBURG, Nov 25 (Reuters) - South African petrochemicals group Sasol on Monday warned of an at least 20% drop in first-half profit, and said it had secured bank funding worth $1.5 billion to shore up its liquidity as debts related to a troubled project ramp up.

Sasol’s Lake Charles Chemicals Project in Louisiana, United States, which is costing billions of dollars more than initial estimates and whose problems have led the resignation of both of the company’s joint chief executives, is about to hit its “peak gearing phase”, the company said.

The funding raised should not impact its net debt position, Sasol added.

The company did not give a reason for its warning that headline earnings per share, the main profit measure in South Africa, would likely drop by at least 4.65 rand during the six months to Dec. 31, down from 23.25 rand reported a year earlier.

“A more detailed trading statement will be published as soon as more certainty has been attained,” it said in a statement, adding the results may be further affected by other developments.

The loan facilities include a $1 billion syndicated loan and two bilateral facilities worth $250 million each.

Sasol’s half-year results are set to be published on Feb. 24.

Reporting by Emma Rumney; Editing by Aditya Soni

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