MOSCOW (MRC) -- South African petrochemicals group Sasol said full-year profit dropped 6 percent, pulled down by interruptions to production, a stronger rand and employee share-based payment expenses, reported Reuters.
Core headline earnings per share (HEPS) for the year ended June 30 fell to 36.03 rand (USD2.46) compared with 38.47 rand a year earlier. HEPS is the main profit gauge in South Africa, which strips out certain one-off items.
The firm said its financials were affected by unplanned electricity supply interruptions from state-owned power utility Eskom and two internal outages at its Secunda Synfuels and Natref operations that resulted in lower production.
A stronger average rand-to-dollar exchange rate compared with a year earlier also hurt results, Sasol said, while expressing optimism about operations in the coming year.
"2019 will be a defining year for Sasol with the start-up of the LCCP in the US, a catalyst for transforming our earnings profile," Chief Executive Officer Stephen Cornell said in a statement.
The Lake Charles Chemicals project (LCCP) ethane cracker in North America, which has been hit by delays and rising costs, is about 88 percent complete and is expected to cost USD11.13 billion, the firm said.
Sasol, the world’s top manufacturer of motor fuel from coal, said earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 10 percent to 52 billion rand (USD3.55 billion).
The difference between core headline earnings and EBITDA was due to depreciation costs of 16 billion rand and employee share-based payment expenses of 1.5 billion rand, Sasol said.
The company declared a final dividend of 7.90 rand per share, up 1.3 percent year-over-year. That brings its total dividend declared for the period to 12.90 rand per share, compared with 12.60 rand per share a year earlier.
As MRC informed before, in July 2018, Honeywell announced that Secunda Synfuels Operations, an operating division of Sasol South Africa Ltd., will use a Honeywell Connected Plant service to monitor the operating reliability of its two Honeywell UOP CCR Platforming units at its refinery in Secunda, South Africa.