JOHANNESBURG, June 7 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- At the onset of the global economic crisis, Sasol (JSE: SOL; NYSE: SSL ) made the decision to conserve cash and strengthen its balance sheet. Following a substantial drop in earnings in the 2009 financial year and a bleak, uncertain economic outlook, the group decided to reduce the 2009 dividend in line with the reduction in earnings. Taking into consideration overall improved market and economic conditions, the strength of its balance sheet and current capital investment plans, the Group has decided to resume an approach consistent with its long term track record of dividend growth as a key component of adding shareholder value. As a result the Board of Directors ("the Board") has decided to adopt a progressive dividend policy, as stated below:
It is Sasol's intention to maintain and/or grow dividends over time in line with the Group's anticipated sustainable growth in earnings, barring significant economic variables such as fluctuations in the oil price and exchange rates. When deciding on dividends, the Board will also take into consideration several factors including the prevailing circumstances of the company, future investment plans, financial performance and the trading and macroeconomic environments.
Sasol Chief Executive Pat Davies highlighted the group's focus on total shareholder return and its progressive dividend policy as complementary to Sasol's approach to building value for shareholders over time.
"Sasol manages for the long term, and a consistent return of value to shareholders through increasing dividend payments allows us to return cash to investors while remaining well positioned to fund investment opportunities. The Group's growth plans and project pipeline remains robust, supported by the strength of our balance sheet and strong cash generation. The Board's approval of a progressive dividend policy therefore underpins our confidence in the value that Sasol consistently delivers," Davies said.
Investor Relations Team
+27 11 441 3563 / 3321
Sasol is an energy business with substantial chemical interests. Based in South Africa and operating worldwide, Sasol is listed on the NYSE and JSE stock exchanges. We are the leading provider of liquid fuels in South Africa and a major international producer of chemicals. Sasol uses proprietary Fischer-Tropsch technologies for the commercial production of synthetic fuels and chemicals from low-grade coal and natural gas. We manufacture more than 200 fuel and chemical products that are sold worldwide. In South Africa we also operate coal mines to provide feedstock for our synthetic fuels plants. Sasol operates the only inland crude oil refinery in South Africa. The group produces crude oil in offshore Gabon, supplies Mozambican natural gas to end-user customers and petrochemical plants in South Africa, and with partners involved in gas-to-liquids fuel joint ventures in Qatar and Nigeria. Internet address: http://www.sasol.com
Disclaimer – Forward-looking statements
We may in this document make statements that are not historical facts and relate to analyses and other information based on forecasts of future results and estimates of amounts not yet determinable. There are forward- looking statements as defined in the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as "believe", "anticipate", "expect", "intend", "seek", "will", "plan", "could", "may", "endeavour" and "project" and similar expressions are intended to identify such forward-looking statements, but are not exclusive means of identifying such statements. By their very nature, forward-looking statements involve inherent risks and uncertainties, both general and specific, and there are risks that predictions, forecasts, projections and other forward-looking statements will not be achieved. If one or more of these risks materialize, or should underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may be very different from those anticipated.
The factors that could cause our actual results to differ materially from the plans, objectives, expectations, estimates and intentions expressed in such forward-looking statements are discussed more fully in our annual report under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 on Form20-F filed on October 9, 2009 and in other filings with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. Forward-looking statements apply only as of the date on which they are made and Sasol does not undertake any obligation to update or revise any of them, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
SOURCE Sasol Limited