Picture: 123RF.COM
Picture: 123RF.COM

SA and Mozambique exercised their pre-emptive rights to increase stakes in Sasol’s Republic of Mozambique Pipeline Investments Company (Rompco) gas pipeline, which runs between the countries, displacing an earlier deal.

The state-owned Gas Development Company (iGas) and Mozambique’s Companhia Mocambicana de Gasoduto (CMG), plan to acquire a 30% share of the line valued at R4.1bn, according to a statement on Sunday.

Sasol had agreed in May to sell the stake to a group including a unit of financial services firm Old Mutual in a transaction that was subject to the waiver or exercise of pre-emptive rights by the shareholders.

“A greater participation in this asset will be an important step” in the co-operation between the nations around energy, “as well as bolstering the region’s transition to a low-carbon economy”, Ayanda Noah, chair of the Central Energy Fund that manages iGas, said in the statement.

SA depends on coal to generate most of its electricity and ranks as the world’s 12th-biggest producer of greenhouse gases. The nation’s energy plans include the procurement of power from sources including renewable technologies and natural gas.

Sasol owned 50% of the 865km Rompco pipeline that transports the fuel from deposits in Mozambique to its operations in SA. The sale began last year as the chemical and fuel maker accelerated asset sales to pay down debt.

The company did not immediately respond to questions sent outside normal business hours.

State subsidiaries iGas and CMG have each held a 25% stake that will increase to 40% upon conclusion of the deal, with Sasol holding the remaining 20%.

“The transaction will be fully funded from past and future dividends generated by Rompco itself,” the statement reads.

CEF group CEO Ishmael Poolo said there was a concerted effort to fast track the acquisition of these shares.

“This is a hallmark of the group’s investment strategy in the energy value chain-geared to reignite the SA economy and create much-needed jobs.”

Poolo said the deal also furthers the mandate held by iGas for the development of gas and gas infrastructure in Southern Africa.

The sale will aid Sasol’s ongoing debt reduction efforts. The group had previously indicated that it intended to raise $400m-$500m with asset sales by year-end.

Sasol’s debt predicament during the early stages of the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic had briefly raised the possibility of the group raising as much as $2bn in a rights issue, which has since been shelved after a stronger-than-anticipated performance in the six months to end-December last year.

Sasol closed up 1.68% at R226.48 on Friday in strong volumes. The share has gained more than 70% in value over a year, and increased tenfold since tapping out at a multiyear low of about R21 in March last year.

Bloomberg News. More stories like this are available on bloomberg.com

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