Fleetwood Grobler

Fleetwood Grobler
Executive Vice President:
Chemicals Business



Produces and markets commodity and specialty chemical products which include organics, inorganics and wax as key value chains

Sales of more than 3,5 million tons per annum in over 50 diversified markets

Long-term global customer relationships


Produces and markets commodity chemicals from integrated South African and North American value chains

Global sales of 3,4 million tons per annum

Proven experience with a variety of polyethylene and polypropylene licensed technologi


Earnings before interest, tax,
depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA)*
Mining: 13%
E&PI: 4%
Energy: 38%
Base Chemicals: 18%
Perfmance Chemicals: 24%
Group functions: 3%

Advancing our strategy in phases


Optimise existing assets

Grow specialty chemicals in differentiated markets

  • Deliver value from LCCP
  • Invest in capacity optimisation and differentiation across full chemicals portfolio
  • Maximise position from existing operations and technology platforms
  • Progressively grow specialty chemicals through internal growth and acquisitions levers
  • Debottleneck LCCP and capitalise on associated infrastructure to support chemicals growth
  • Continued capacity optimisation across chemicals portfolio

* Refer to Inside back cover for definition of EBIDTA.

Chemicals Business

Chemicals BBusiness

We are a truly global business supplied from operations in Europe, United States, South Africa and China. Base Chemicals markets commodity chemicals from our upstream Fischer-Tropsch, ethylene and propylene value chains.


Sales volumes at Performance Chemicals up by 1%; Base Chemicals sales volumes down 1%

Benefited from start-up of HDPE joint venture facility in US, first full year of hard wax expansion project and increased alumina capacity

Product demand and US margins remain strong

Improved customer experience through our Digital Catalyst programme

Drove business readiness for the start-up of the LCCP

Looking ahead

Our strategy is to focus our Performance Chemicals portfolio on areas where we have industry-leading proprietary technologies and competitive advantage. We want to leverage low-cost feedstock to create high-value chemicals.

In the near term we will work to deliver value from the LCCP, as well as invest in capacity optimisation and differentiation across the chemicals portfolio, building on existing technology platforms. We continue to further develop the market for the new FT wax streams and look forward to the start-up of the new ethoxylation plant in China in the second half of 2019.

We are well positioned to generate value-based growth through our competitive and diverse products, application expertise and close customer relationships. In Performance Chemicals, in addition to the homecare, laundry and personal hygiene markets, our six carefully selected specialty chemical end-markets are growing strongly. We will investigate opportunities to expand our portfolio through organic incremental investments, further differentiation and carefully considered inorganic acquisitions and partnerships. In Performance Chemicals we are looking, in particular, to grow in specialty alcohols and corresponding surfactants, high and ultra-high purity alumina and FT-derived specialty waxes.

Performance summary

Higher sales volumes and stronger commodity chemical prices supported the performance of our Chemicals Business, but the stronger rand exchange rate, impact of technical and weather-related supply constraints and the start-up costs associated with our growth projects dampened gains in earnings.

We continued to focus our Performance Chemicals portfolio in line with our strategy and divested of Alexandria Wax Products Company (an Egyptian joint-stock company). Performance Chemicals sales increased 1%, benefiting from a stronger market demand and production from the expanded Fischer-Tropsch (FT) wax facilities at Sasolburg as well as from the completion of a project at Brunsbüttel that increased Sasol’s alumina hydrate production capacity. Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) decreased by 7% to R8,2 billion.

In Base Chemicals in line with our strategy and asset review process, we disposed of our joint venture in Malaysia and realised a profit of R864 million. We continued to compete successfully based on cost-efficient value chains that are backward-integrated into ethylene and coal feedstock. Sales benefited from the start-up in November 2017 of our Gemini HDPE joint venture in the US. EBIT on a normalised basis decreased 18% to R5,2 billion.

By streamlining business processes and systems and building organisational capacity, management focused on getting the business ready ahead of the start-up of the LCCP which is on track with first steam production in July and expected start-up date of the remainder of the manufacturing units in the second half of the 2019 calendar year. We concluded the appointment of our channel distribution partners for the new US polyethylene output. A successful HDPE market entry augers well for the new LCCP polyolefin volumes. We made good progress in our Digital Catalyst programme to transform the customer experience using digital platforms, enabling closer collaboration to better anticipate customer needs and improve on their expected services. We have a long-term commitment to promote improved sustainability and the move to a lower-carbon environment.

Sales volumes

Sales volumes

Earnings before interest and tax

Earnings before interest and tax

Earnings before interest and tax margin

Earnings before interest and tax margin
* The financial results have been restated for the transfer of the US ethylene business from Performance Chemicals to Base Chemicals