11/03/2013 10:48:00

Sasol In Talks With Buyer For Its Iran Operation-CEO

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By Devon Maylie

JOHANNESBURG--Sasol Ltd. (SSL) Monday said the company is in talks with a buyer for its Iran business as the company continues to prioritize investment in the U.S.

Sasol, the world's largest producer of motor fuels from coal, has a 50% stake in Arya Sasol Polymer Co., a $900 million Iranian petrochemical project. The company said last year it was putting the business up for sale.

Chief Executive David Constable told Dow Jones Newswires Monday the company now has a buyer and entered into talks last month to finalize the deal. He wouldn't provide more details.

"Strategically it didn't make sense to stay," Mr. Constable said.

Sanctions from the U.S. and Europe against Iran and the resulting devaluation of the currency led to the company to take a 3 billion rand ($327.6 million) writedown on the Iranian business in the first six months of its financial year ended Dec. 31.

At the same time, the company has placed more of its growth strategy in the U.S. Sasol is building a two-phase gas-to-liquids plant in Louisiana, which will produce 96,000 barrels of diesel and other fuels a day when it is completed. The final investment decision is still about two years off for the whole project, Mr. Constable said.

To help fund the Louisiana-based project, Sasol said it may issue another dollar-based bond later in the year.

Write to Devon Maylie at devon.maylie@dowjones.com

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(END) Dow Jones Newswires

March 11, 2013 06:48 ET (10:48 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2013 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

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