US$47 million outstanding in Sasol’s Iran, ASPC, sale

Petrochemicals giant Sasol is out of Iran. This was reaffirmed in the latest trading statement, a chief financial officer update, released by Sasol yesterday.

The company said “The disposal of Sasol’s investment in Arya Sasol Polymer Company (ASPC) became effective on 16 August 2013.

Paul Victor, Sasol’s chief financial officer, said “Sasol no longer has any investments in Iran.”

However “An amount of US$47 million is still outstanding from the purchaser.”

Sasol added that “It is expected that the loss on the final disposal, recognised in the 2014 financial year, will be less than US$100 million, as previously communicated.”

The South African head quartered globalising petrochemicals giant, Sasol, was forced into a premature exit from Iran by geopolitical tensions surrounding the Middle East country. Developments of the past few days suggest that the dispute between Iran and the West over Iran’s uranium enrichment initiatives could be resolved. This is however too little too late for Sasol.

Sanctions imposed over Iran under a US led campaign made it extremely difficult for foreign companies to conduct business in Iran. Another prominent South African entity which found itself in a tricky Iran position is Telecoms giant MTN Group. MTN remains invested in Iran’s second largest mobile phone network operator Irancell. It is not clear what MTN is planning to do next.

The Iran situation is promising a resolution following the installation of a new and moderate president, Hassan Rowhani who succeeded hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Iran reached a deal of sort with the US last week. This could explain the excitement of the MTN Group share price yesterday. The stock registered a gain of 2.48% or 480c on the day to close at R198.46 per share.

news@ujuh.co.za

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