Iran's ASPC output up 41% in fiscal Q1, Sasol still to sell 50% stake

03 December 2012 17:03  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS)--Sasol's share of production at Iran-based Arya Sasol Polymer Company (ASPC) was up by 41% for the three months to 30 September 2012, the South Africa-based company said on Monday.

In a trading update on Sasol's first quarter financial year 2013, the company – which holds a 50% share in ASPC – said year-to-date total production output from ASPC's ethylene and polyethylene (PE) plants was at 114,000 tonnes. Sasol's financial year runs from July to June.

ASPC achieved an average utilisation rate for the three month period of approximately 96.9% of design capacity, it said.

Sasol's CFO Christine Ramon added: "However, due to market challenges, specifically in [southeast Asia], sales volumes were negatively impacted.

“Further challenges emerged during the period as a result of the devaluation of the average Iranian rial exchange rate against the US dollar, by more than 100% over the last six months of the 2012 calendar year."

In November 2011, Sasol announced its intention to divest from ASPC. However, it faces challenges in selling the asset off, Ramon said.

"Significant uncertainty remains regarding the fair value of the asset. We continue to engage with a number of interested  parties,  who include business and government stakeholders. Further announcements will be made once sufficient progress has been made," Ramon said.

Sasol announced that it expects to deliver solid operational performance and earnings for the 2013 financial year compared to the previous year, excluding the impact resulting from a potential impairment in ASPC's value.

"This impairment will not have an impact on headline earnings per share. The increased uncertainty within the Iranian environment, coupled with the devaluation of the Iranian currency, may further negatively impact our earnings," Ramon added.

ASPC is a joint venture between National Petrochemical Co and Sasol according to ICIS plants and projects.

By: Cuckoo James
+44 (0) 208 652 3214

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