Sasol Completes Lake Charles Asset Sale

03.12.2020 - South African chemical producer Sasol has completed the sale of a 50% stake in its US base chemicals business at Lake Charles, Louisiana, to LyondellBasell following shareholder approval. The Johannesburg group’s shares initially rose 3% on the news.

Under the terms of the deal concluded last month, LyondellBasell will operate the assets on behalf of the joint venture and market the polyethylene products on behalf of the two shareholders in the Louisiana Integrated PolyEthylene Joint Venture.

In addition to the LDPE facility, the jv will own and operate a 1.5 million t/y cracker and a 470, 000 t/y HDPE/LLDPE swing plant. Each partner will supply a pro rata share of ethane feedstocks and offtake pro rata shares of cracker and polyethylene products at cost. The complex will have 800 full-time employees.

The South African group is retaining full ownership and operational control of its R&D complex, the site’s existing East Plant ethane cracker and its performance chemicals business, which produces Ziegler alcohols and alumina, ethoxylates, Guerbet alcohols, paraffins, co-monomers, linear alkyl benzene, ethylene oxide and ethylene glycol.

At the end of this year’s third quarter, Sasol said it was carrying a debt burden of around $10 billion – resulting mainly from its failed engagement at Lake Charles – but hoped to reduce this to $6 billion in 2021. Management said it its lenders agreed that the covenant amendment for Dec. 31 would not be affected by one-off events or delayed receipt of disposal proceeds.

Author: Dede Williams, Freelance Journalist