Integrated energy and chemicals provider Sasol is refocusing its portfolio to lean more on its chemicals business, following the division’s turnover of R105-billion, which accounted for 57% of the group’s total turnover for the 2015 financial year.
Sasol executive VP: chemicals business Fleetwood Grobler noted during the group’s roundtable meeting, held in Johannesburg last month, that the chemicals business’s strong contribution to the group’s profits emphasised the value and robustness that chemicals added to the broader Sasol portfolio.
The seven chemical divisions of Sasol comprise explosives and fertilisers; polymers; solvents; inorganics and catalysts; organics; waxes; as well as phenolics, carbon, ammonia and specialty gases.
He highlighted the division’s contribution in terms of the sale of chemical products globally, highlighting that the chemicals business sold products worth about R27-billion in the Americas, with South America accounting for 11% of those sales.
The largest sales for the energy and chemi- cals group were generated in Europe, which accounted for R34-billion.
Africa, the Middle East and India represented a significant sales turnover of R33-billion, while the Far East accounted for R11-billion.
Grobler emphasised that the Far East formed part of the growing market for the chemical’s business owing to the significant need for chemical products by consumers in that region. As a result Sasol expects significant growth over the next two decades in this market.
He highlighted the Secunda Synfuels operations, in South Africa, and the wax operations in Egypt as two of Sasol’s chemical operations in Africa.
Chemical operations globally include six chemical operations in the US, while the regional marketing and sales in that country are headquartered in Texas, Houston.
The company also has chemical production facilities in Europe, namely Germany, Austria, Italy, Slovakia and the UK, while operating facilities in the Far East include the Nanjing facility and the company’s joint venture (JV) with Wilmar China Investment (Yihai), in Lianyungang, both in the Jiangsu province of China.
In South-East Asia, Sasol is in a JV with Malaysian oil and gas company Petronas, which entails ethylene and polyethylene production.
“As a chemicals business, the global spread and locations of our chemicals operations and sales presence are robust,” adds Grobler.
Sasol’s global chemicals operations form part of its regionalised operating hubs support structure, which comprises Eurasia, North America and South Africa with a combined production capacity of about five- million tons a year.
“Our chemicals business comprises a diverse workforce of about 2 500 employees globally who speak more than 25 different languages among them,” Grobler stated adding that the group’s chemicals global footprint extends to more than 23 countries.
Sasol’s base chemicals is headquartered in Johannesburg, while performance chemicals are headquartered in Hamburg, Germany.