Sasol wants minority stakeholder for Lake Charles complex by June

(The Associated Press)

Sasol Ltd. is on the hunt for a buyer to secure a large stake in its $13 billion chemical complex in Lake Charles, with a goal of reaching a deal by June, Bloomberg reports.

The South African energy producer is trying to shore up finances amid an historic rout in the oil market, sources tell the news agency.

The company has hired Bank of America Corp. to help find a buyer for a minority stake in the Lake Charles chemical project. Sasol previously indicated it was considering a partial sale of its U.S. base-chemicals business to avoid a last-resort rights issue.

Sasol would prefer finding an industrial partner for the stake and may structure any deal as a joint venture.

Sasol wasn’t immediately able to comment. A representative of Bank of America declined to comment.

The move to find a buyer highlights Sasol’s need for cash as it struggles with debt taken on to develop the Lake Charles complex in Louisiana, originally seen as a way to become a global operator and diversify away from oil. Its cost has more than doubled since early estimates to almost $13 billion.

Sasol said last month it plans to raise $6 billion by the end of its 2021 financial year, mainly through asset sales, as it seeks to reduce net debt of about $10 billion. Additional divestments are being mulled, including the potential sale of stakes in an African gas pipeline and a Middle Eastern plant

Bloomberg has the full story.