UPDATE 1-S.Africa's Sasol expects annual profit to improve by at least 20%
(Adds detail, Q3 output update)
JOHANNESBURG, April 29 (Reuters) - South African petrochemical firm Sasol SOLJ.J on Thursday said full-year headline earnings for the 2021 are expected to improve by at least 20% as its turnaround strategy bears fruit.
The world's top manufacturer of motor fuel reported a headline loss per share of 11.79 rand ($0.8293) in the year ended June 2020 and expects to see a 20% improvement in earnings per share for the financial year ending 30 June 2021.
In 2020 Sasol, which had high debt levels due to the construction of its Lake Charles Chemicals Project (LCCP), was hit by a collapse in the oil price, volatility in chemical prices and tepid fuel demand during the COVID-19 crisis.
The company implemented a turnaround strategy aimed at being more resilient amid market volatility and a lower oil prices, including selling assets, paying down debt and expanding its speciality chemicals business.
Progress from its turnaround strategy meant Sasol avoided issuing up to $2 billion of shares - which would have been among the country's largest rights issues in decades - in an effort to help it tackle its debt. is expected to release its annual results on August, 16.
The company, which also published its output and sales metrics for the nine months ended March 2021, said total chemicals sales volumes during the quarter drop 2% compared to the same period a year earlier as adverse weather in the United States and South Africa impacted production.
Sasol said its energy business saw a recovery in demand for liquid fuels and gas as pandemic lockdown restrictions eased despite jet fuel demand remaining constrained during the third quarter. ($1 = 14.2162 rand)
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