CFO Paul Victor: Sasol has no intentions of divesting its downstream fuel retail business

Paul is confident that the business is fundamentally robust despite recent challenges and Covid-19.

Sasol has announced that it is not divesting its downstream fuel retail business as part of its ongoing asset disposal process. 

“While Sasol is in the process of reviewing opportunities in this regard, it is important to note that we remain committed to our strategy, which includes growing our fuel retail presence in South Africa,” Sasol CFO Paul Victor said in a statement.  

Sasol’s energy business in South Africa has a strong brand of 410 retail convenience centres, which account for 11 percent of the regulated retail market.

“Here, our focus remains on improving margins by looking for higher value markets for our existing production of fuels. This means both organic retail growth, by increasing our retail site development and conversion of sites to the Sasol brand, and possible small scale acquisitions,” Paul explained.

He added that, although Sasol is regularly approached by interested parties to acquire or partner with the company in the retail network space, Sasol is not in discussions with any such parties to divest or partner in its downstream fuel retail business. “While recent events have created significant short-term challenges, we are confident our business is fundamentally robust and we have a clear pathway to resume value creation,” he said. 

The statement follows Sasol’s announcement on 12 March that it is reviewing a variety of actions to address the challenges created by the impact of Covid-19 and the recent decline in the oil and chemical prices. 

According to the statement, a package of measures has been developed that is intended to reposition the company over the following 24 months. One of these measures will be Sasol’s existing asset disposal programme. “Any divestment or similar activity will be executed in line with the balance sheet, shareholder value and strategic objectives in mind and builds on the comprehensive asset review process which commenced on November 2017,” the statement read.