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Chemicals

New chair of financially beleaguered Necsa outlines priorities

By: Rebecca Campbell     3rd April 2020 The financially-beleaguered South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa), which falls under the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE), had a new board appointed in late January, to oversee and turnaround the agency. The chairperson of this new board, which has a term of three... 

Averda, Gift of the Givers collaborate on medical waste management

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     2nd April 2020 International waste management company Averda has entered into a strategic partnership with African disaster response nongovernmental organisation (NGO) Gift of the Givers, to provide necessary medical waste management services to its mobile testing stations across the country free of charge for... 

Africa requires centrality in response strategy for Covid-19 – CDC speaker

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     2nd April 2020 Dealing with the Covid-19 pandemic on the African continent will require a collaborative, cooperative and effective communication approach, with the recognition that the situation will not be resolved in any single State if it is not resolved in each and every country. This was indicated by... 

Stellenbosch University researcher makes sanitiser from stale bread

By: African News Agency      1st April 2020 Researchers at Stellenbosch University say they have discovered how to make hand sanitiser using stale bread crumbs. An experiment conducted by SU food scientist Dr Stefan Hayward, using the university's in-house fermentation tank, yielded 18 litres of alcohol-based sanitiser which could come in... 

Stellenbosch University researcher makes sanitiser from stale bread

Standard Chartered commits $1bn to companies at forefront of fighting Covid-19

By: Donna Slater     31st March 2020 International banking group Standard Chartered will commit $1-billion in financing for companies that provide goods and services to help in the fight against Covid-19, and those planning the switch into making products that are in high demand to fight the worldwide pandemic, the bank announced on... 

Sasol advises of capacity reductions, further credit downgrades

By: Marleny Arnoldi     31st March 2020 Although JSE-listed chemicals company Sasol is permitted to operate during South Africa’s lockdown period, ending April 16, it has advised that some plants will be operated at lower capacity, or even shut down, owing to lower product offtake during this time. The company explains that some... 

Sasol advises of capacity reductions, further credit downgrades

No impact of Covid-19 on Illovo, other ethanol alcohol producers

By: Donna Slater     30th March 2020 While sugar and related products manufacturer Illovo Sugar South Africa (Illovo SA) reports no impact on production as a result of measures implemented to contain the spread of Covid-19, it also reaffirms its commitment to refocus the business towards meeting the growing demand for alcohol used... 

Sasol ramps up sanitiser chemicals production

By: Marleny Arnoldi     30th March 2020 JSE-listed petrochemicals giant Sasol has developed a new unique blend of alcohol-based chemicals to be used in the manufacture of hand sanitisers to help address the increase in market demand for these products. “While global demand and pricing for ethanol and isopropanol alcohol has increased... 

Sasol ramps up sanitiser chemicals production

Foskor clarifies it will continue with operations amid lockdown

By: Marleny Arnoldi     25th March 2020 Phosphates and phosphoric acid producer Foskor has advised that it will continue with mining activities in Phalaborwa and its processing operations in Richards Bay, owing to it being an essential service in providing products to the agriculture and food sectors in South Africa, during the... 

Opinion: War declared during peacetime

By: Donna Slater     24th March 2020 The outbreak of coronavirus in every continent (except Antarctica) has resulted in a war-time mobilisation of national assets and resources, as well as a shift in production by some companies from their core products to the manufacture of products that can support the fight against the... 

Opinion: War declared during peacetime
Photo by Reuters
Members of the South African National Defence Force gather at the premises of the Rand Light Infantry in Craighall Park on March 23 in preparedness for mobilisation to help enforce the presidents national lockdown.

Ten-minute coronavirus test for $1 could be game changer

By: Bloomberg     20th March 2020 Already exhausted from testing for monkeypox and Lassa fever, Nigerian molecular bio-engineer Nnaemeka Ndodo had to work well past midnight earlier this month to find out if six Chinese construction workers were infected with the coronavirus. Ndodo had to collect samples from a hospital an hour... 

Cluster emphasises importance of local manufacturing

By: Halima Frost     20th March 2020 It is of utmost importance to be able to draw a definitive line between locally manufactured and imported products in the South African pumps sector, as locally manufactured products need to take precedence over imports in projects, says industry association South African Pump Cluster chairperson... 

Cluster emphasises importance of local manufacturing
HOWARD JONES There is a need for a definitive line between locally manufactured and imported products in the South African pumps sector

Adcock Ingram to acquire shoe, leather products manufacturer

By: Simone Liedtke     18th March 2020 In line with JSE-listed pharmaceuticals manufacturer Adcock Ingram’s strategy to pursue value-adding acquisitions, particularly in less-regulated areas of the market, the company has concluded a share purchase agreement to acquire 100% of shoe and leather products manufacturer Plush. The... 

HSRC to undertake public survey to assess country’s awareness of Covid-19

By: Tasneem Bulbulia     18th March 2020 Statutory research agency, the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), will conduct a public survey on social media and through follow-up qualitative studies, to better understand what the South African public knows about Covid-19, the state of readiness to deal with this global pandemic and how... 

Size of possible Sasol rights issue hangs on asset-disposal and savings progress

By: Terence Creamer     17th March 2020 The eventual size of Sasol’s possible rights issue – tentatively capped at $2-billion – will depend on progress the group makes in the coming months with its cash-conservation and asset-disposal programmes, initiated in an effort to reduce its $10-billion debt burden by $6-billion by the end of... 

 Size of possible Sasol rights issue hangs on asset-disposal and savings progress
Sasol CEO Fleetwood Grobler (left) and CFO Paul Victor

Sasol includes $2bn rights-issue option in plan to reset capital structure 

By: Terence Creamer     17th March 2020 Debt-laden chemicals and energy group Sasol announced on Tuesday that it could pursue a $2-billion rights issue as a “supplemental initiative” in the event that cash-conservation initiatives and asset disposals proved insufficient to reset its capital structure. The JSE-listed group had set a... 

Sasol includes $2bn rights-issue option in plan to reset capital structure

Every effort must be made to ensure economy ‘does not grind to a halt’ 

By: Terence Creamer     16th March 2020 Finance Minister Tito Mboweni stressed on Monday that, before contemplating any possible stimulus package to address the negative economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, all efforts should be geared towards ensuring that the already weak domestic economy “does not grind to a halt”. A failure... 

Every effort must be made to ensure economy ‘does not grind to a halt’
Photo by Creamer Media's Donna Slater
Finance Minister Tito Mboweni

Shares in South Africa's Sasol jump nearly 30% as oil price recovery sparks buying

By: Reuters     13th March 2020 Shares in South African petrochemicals group Sasol surged nearly 30% on Friday as a recovery in oil prices sparked buying of the stock, which was pummelled in the previous session. Brent crude prices rose over 3% on Friday after falling more than 7% the day before, a drop which helped send Sasol... 

Company reaches new heights with award

By: Cameron Mackay     13th March 2020 Height management solutions providers Skyriders received an award from a major petrochemicals producer in December last year for achieving significant reductions in its maintenance costs and boosting health and safety at one of the producer’s refineries, in Mpumalanga. The award was for a... 

Company reaches new heights with award
REACHING NEW HEIGHTS Skyriders created a methodology and risk assessments for this maintenance project, including a trial run finished last October, and the actual maintenance undertaking in November

Supplier offers complete solution to university

By: Cameron Mackay     13th March 2020 Local cleaning chemicals supplier Industroclean’s ability to provide holistic cleaning solutions enables it to offer the University of Cape Town (UCT) a one-stop-shop cleaning chemicals solution. Industroclean MD Emma Corder confirms that the company began supplying its solutions to UCT... 

Supplier offers complete solution to university
CLEANING VARIATION While above the floor cleaning tasks remain similar, variations in floor types require different products and methodologies for maintenance or restoration

Consultancy predicts potential downcycle for petrochemicals industry

13th March 2020 Chemicals consultancy group Wood Mackenzie predicts the start of a downcycle in China’s petrochemicals industry. A supply overhang has hit the country’s paraxylene (PX) market, with olefins and polyolefins markets almost certain to follow. 

Consultancy predicts potential downcycle for petrochemicals industry
Photo by Bloomberg
TURBULENT MARKETS Weak global economic growth, the US-China trade war, a decrease in automobile production and a booming electronic-commerce industry influenced China’s polyolefins market last year

Carbon storage vital to chemicals projects

By: Cameron Mackay     13th March 2020 With the global drive to meet climate targets and mitigate the devastating effects of climate change, carbon capture and storage (CCS) is a vital emissions reduction technology for the chemicals and petrochemicals industry, says international think-tank Global CCS Institute advocacy and... 

Carbon storage vital to  chemicals projects
Photo by Bloomberg
DECARBONISING INDUSTRY Efforts from government and industry are needed to address carbon emissions from chemical and petrochemical production and the use and disposal of chemical products

Sasol confirms possible equity issue as it breaks silence amid massive sell-off

By: Terence Creamer     12th March 2020 Chemicals and energy group Sasol, which has seen its market capitalisation decimated in recent days as a result of a series of adverse developments, including a ratings downgrade, a big slump in the oil price and Covid-19-induced market volatility, broke its silence on Thursday afternoon when it... 

Sasol confirms possible equity issue as it breaks silence amid massive sell-off

Johannesburg stocks plunge most since 1997 in ‘panic’ sell-off

By: Bloomberg     12th March 2020 South Africa’s benchmark stock index plunged the most since the market crash of October 1997 as reaction to US measures aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus accelerated the sell-off sweeping through global equities. The FTSE/JSE Africa All Share Index sank as much as 9.3% as of 3:34... 

Ascendis continues balance sheet restructuring as liabilities outstrip assets

By: Marleny Arnoldi     11th March 2020 JSE-listed health and care brands group Ascendis Health posted a 9%, or R18-million, year-on-year decrease in its normalised headline earnings to R170-million for the six months ended December 31. It also did not declare a dividend.  

Ascendis continues balance sheet restructuring as liabilities outstrip assets

Sasol’s record plunge boosts speculation of a rights issue

By: Bloomberg     10th March 2020 Sasol’s record share plunge on Monday, coming as the oil price slumped and just days after the company credit rating was cut to junk by Moody’s Investors Service, is raising concern among investors that it may need to hold a rights offer as it struggles with a debt burden of about $8-billion. The... 

Sasol leads South African stocks to 4-year low as oil crash hits global markets 

By: Reuters     9th March 2020 South African stocks plunged to a more than four-year low on Monday, joining a global sell-off in riskier assets as oil prices collapsed more than 30%, hitting chemical and energy firm Sasol the hardest. Saudi Arabia's plans to hike crude production and slash its official selling price came after... 

Sasol leads South African stocks to 4-year low as oil crash hits global markets

Moody’s downgrades Sasol amid volatile market conditions

By: Simone Liedtke     6th March 2020 Ratings agency S&P Global Ratings has affirmed petrochemicals company Sasol’s BBB-/A-3 credit rating, but fellow ratings agency Moody’s has downgraded Sasol’s credit rating to Ba1/NP, the latter reflecting the company’s elevated leverage in the context of volatile market conditions. The ratings... 

Omnia announces group FD

By: Creamer Media Reporter      2nd March 2020 Chemicals group Omnia has appointed Stephan Serfontein group FD, effective March 1. Serfontein, a chartered accountant, has been with the group since January 2012 and was previously part of the executive committee at Omnia Agriculture. 

Pratley in push to increase export sales

By: Schalk Burger     28th February 2020 Electrical terminations specialist company Pratley is having a range of its products recertified, and new products certified in countries to which it exports as part of its drive to grow its exports and diversify the range of products sold in these markets, says Pratley CEO Kim Pratley. Expanding... 

Pratley in push to increase export sales
PERFORMANCE FOCUS The company is having its new products certified, and aims to grow exports

AECI’s Mining Solutions business boosts group profitability in 2019 

By: Marleny Arnoldi     25th February 2020 JSE-listed chemicals manufacturer AECI reported growth in all its operating segments in the year ended December 31, and managed to achieve 10% growth in its headline earnings per share (HEPS). The company declared a total dividend of R5.70 apiece, compared with the R5.15 apiece declared in the... 

AECI’s Mining Solutions business boosts group profitability in 2019
Photo by Creamer Media's Donna Slater
AECI CEO Mark Dytor

Sasol confirms making 600 MW own-gen proposal in response to DMRE RFI   

By: Terence Creamer     24th February 2020 Sasol CEO Fleetwood Grobler confirmed on Monday that the energy and chemicals group made a submission to the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy in line with its request for information (RFI) on possible emergency electricity solutions that could be “grid-connected in the shortest time at... 

Sasol confirms making 600 MW own-gen proposal in response to DMRE RFI
Sasol CEO Fleetwood Grobler on the need for a culture change at the company following major cost overruns at its US project. Camera Work: Kutlwano Matlala. Editing: Nicholas Boyd. Recorded: 24.2.2020

Sasol pulls back on capex as it seeks to deleverage from ‘peak gearing’  

By: Terence Creamer     24th February 2020 Energy and chemicals group Sasol has indicated that its capital expenditure (capex) will continue to taper during its 2020 and 2021 financial years as the group seeks to deleverage a balance sheet that reached “peak gearing” of close to 65% in the six months to December 31, 2019. Sasol’s gearing... 

Sasol pulls back on capex as it seeks to deleverage from ‘peak gearing’
Sasol CFO Paul Victor on how capex will be tapered as it seeks to navigate its 'peak gearing' phase. Camera Work: Kutlwano Matlala. Editing: Nicholas Boyd. Recorded: 24.2.2020

Sasol holds back on dividend as it reports big H1 earnings slump

By: Terence Creamer     24th February 2020 Energy and chemicals group Sasol reported a 72% slump in earnings to R4.5-billion in the six months to December 31, 2019, compared with the prior period. Headline earnings a share, meanwhile, decreased by 74% to R5.94 when compared with the prior period. The board also decided not to declare an... 

Sasol holds back on dividend as it reports big H1 earnings slump

Adcock turns focus to factory efficiency, cost saving to maintain HEPS

By: Marleny Arnoldi     20th February 2020 JSE-listed pharmaceuticals manufacturer Adcock Ingram reported a 1% year-on-year increase in headline earnings per share (HEPS) to 218.5c apiece for the six months ended December 31. The company on Thursday said its HEPS would have increased by 6% year-on-year, were it not for an ex-gratia... 

Commission finds in favour of Enaex, Sasol Explosives merger

By: Marleny Arnoldi     14th February 2020 The Competition Commission has unconditionally approved a proposed merger whereby international explosives distributor Enaex intends to acquire JSE-listed petrochemicals company Sasol’s Explosives business. Enaex commercialises, distributes and manufactures explosives and blasting agents. It... 

Skills shortage plagues natural refrigerant sector

By: Darren Parker     14th February 2020 One of the most pertinent issues facing the local heating, ventilation, air-conditioning and refrigeration (HVAC-R) industry is the lack of specialised skills needed for the systematic adoption of natural refrigerants in place of traditional synthetic refrigerants. Heightened pressure on... 

Skills shortage plagues natural refrigerant sector
SNEAKY LEAKS Refrigeration systems charged with odourless CO2 need to be monitored with sensors to ensure leaks do not compromise air quality in enclosed spaces
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