Sasol expects 3-9% increase in HEPS

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The integrated energy and chemicals company also stated that it expects earnings per share (EPS) for the same period to increase by between 51 per cent and 57 per cent, off a 2014 half year base of 30.19 rand and 20.88 rand respectively.

“Excluding the impact of notable once-off items, net impairments charges, stock movements and the share-based payment expense, EPS would have decreased by between 21 per cent and 27 per cent,” [DATA SOL:Sasol] added.

According to the company, profitability for the first half of the 2015 financial year was positively impacted by a solid operational performance through increases in production and sales volumes across the majority of Sasol’s integrated value chain, among others.

Sasol did however indicate that its profitability was negatively impacted by 19 per cent lower average Brent crude oil prices.

(READ MORESasol goes ahead with US$8.1 billion plant)

“We maintained a strong group-wide operational performance, with our Southern Africa Energy business increasing white and black product volumes by three per cent,” it said.

“Our base chemicals and performance chemicals businesses increased their sales volumes by one per cent and seven per cent respectively, on a comparable basis.”

It added that its ORYX GTL facility sustained its solid performance, with an average utilisation rate of 91 per cent for the period under review.

“Our company-wide business performance enhancement programme is progressing well and we are set to deliver on our targets for the 2015 financial year in terms of both sustainable cost savings and implementation costs,” said Sasol.

The company recently announced that it would be formulating a comprehensive plan to conserve cash, in response to the lower international oil prices.

(READ MORESasol looks to save cash amidst falling oil price)

“The response plan targets, related organisational structure refinements and key policy changes will be communicated at our results announcement on 9 March 2015,” it said.

“We expect that there will be a further negative impact on our results for the remainder of the 2015 financial year due to lower oil prices.”