JOHANNESBURG, Oct 21 (Reuters) – South Africa’s Sasol Ltd posted a 44% rise in first-quarter revenue in its main chemicals business on higher chemical and crude oil prices, it said on Thursday.
Revenue from its chemicals business, which accounts for almost 60% of its turnover and profit, came in at $2.5 billion, driven largely by an average price rise of $57 per tonne from a year earlier.
The world’s top manufacturer of motor fuel from coal, battling a mountain of debt, suffered as the pandemic slashed prices and demand.
But a raft of restructuring efforts coupled with recovery in demand have seen its shares rise by over 1100% since March 2020 while it has halved its debt pile.
Chemical sales by volume fell 8% due to its partial sale of its U.S. chemicals business and lower output from its South African chemicals plant at Secunda.
The lower production will lower its year-end sales target by 1% versus last year, it said, adding that price volatility of oil, gas and coal might also impact its production and sales targets for chemicals this year.
It kept its liquid fuel sales volumes, which accounts for a quarter if its revenue, unchanged at 57-58 million barrels for the year. (Reporting by Promit Mukherjee; editing by Jason Neely)