Issue Date: April 9, 2007
Sasol will keep surfactants line
Failing to receive what it considers a fair offer, South Africa's Sasol has ended an 18-month effort to sell its olefins and surfactants business. The company says it has identified restructuring and other opportunities to improve business performance. It plans to implement them over the next three to five years and then consider options for the business again. The olefins and surfactants business is largely the old Condea, which Sasol bought from RWE-DEA in 2001 for about $1.5 billion. Sasol announced plans to sell the business in August 2005, claiming it was not adequately integrated into the rest of its operations, which are largely based on the conversion of coal and natural gas into liquid fuels and chemicals. "While there was considerable interest by several parties, the process did not yield acceptable offers," says Sasol CEO Pat Davies. In Sasol's previous fiscal year, the olefins and surfactants business had sales of about $2.5 billion, representing 23% of overall sales. The company said the business' operating profit fell during the second half of 2006 because of depressed profit margins in the global market for detergent alcohols.
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