Sasol’s profit drops 13% on Iranian polymer-unit writedown

Sasol Ltd. (SOL), the world’s largest producer of motor fuel from coal, said first-half profit fell 13 percent as it wrote down the value of its Iranian polymers unit.

Net income declined to 12.1 billion rand ($1.3 billion) in the six months through December from 13.89 billion rand a year earlier, the Johannesburg-based company said in a statement today. Earnings excluding one-time items rose 2.2 percent to 24.01 rand a share compared with 23.49 rand a year earlier.

“The operating profit in the current year was negatively impacted by once-off charges totaling 3.6 billion rand,” the company said. “These items relate primarily to the partial impairments of our Arya Sasol Polymer Co. investment and the Solvents Germany business of 1.97 billion rand and 198 million rand, respectively.”

Sasol said Feb. 8 that it is in talks with interested parties to sell its stake in Arya, which it co-owns with Pars Petrochemical Co. of Iran, a unit of National Petrochemical. The U.S. and European Union are pressuring the country to curtail its nuclear program, which they say is aimed at developing an atomic weapon. Iran contends that its nuclear research is for civilian use.

The company wrote down 428 million rand at an unsuccessful oil well in Mozambique, and recorded a 1 billion-rand foreign- exchange loss, it said. The loss was primarily due to the Iranian rial’s weakening against the dollar, Sasol said.

Sasol’s synthetic fuel production in South Africa increased 10 percent compared with a year earlier, the company said.

By Bloomberg


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