Sasol’s headquarters in Rosebank, Johannesburg. Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL
Sasol’s headquarters in Rosebank, Johannesburg. Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL

Embattled chemicals group Sasol now expects its Lake Charles project in the US to make a loss in 2020 due to the recent oil price rout.

The project is expected to weigh on earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (ebitda) by $50m (R950m)-$100m in its year to end-June.

Sasol had previously given guidance of positive ebitda of $50m-$100m.

Oil prices have plummeted in 2020 due to a combination of a price war between Russian and Saudi Arabia and plummeting demand due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Sasol’s share price has lost more than 80% in 2020, with cost overruns at its Lake Charles project and an explosion at that facility earlier in the year also putting pressure on the group.

To pay down debt, the group is looking to generate cash of $6bn through cost-cutting measures, asset disposals and a possible rights issue.

Sasol said on Thursday it was cutting management salaries, with directors’ fees being reduced by between 20% and 40% and the salaries of middle to junior management being cut by between 10% and 15%.

Salary sacrifices are planned for eight months, though this would be assessed against the group’s savings targets.

gernetzkyk@businesslive.co.za