Sasol Ltd. has received several bids for part ownership of its plastics and petrochemicals complex in Lake Charles, La., according to a media report.
Materials firms Ineos Group Ltd., Chevron Phillips Chemical Co. and LyondellBasell Industries all have moved on to a second round of bidding on the complex, a June 12 Bloomberg report said. The winning bidder would receive "a large stake" worth more than $2 billion in the project, the report added.
Sasol, based in Johannesburg, South Africa, had been seeking a partner since major cost overruns on the project led to financial problems and the ouster of co-CEOs Bongani Nqwababa and Stephen Cornell late last year. The company's situation worsened this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic and low oil prices.
In a June 17 statement, Sasol officials said that any divestment or similar activity "will be executed in line with balance sheet, shareholder value and strategic objectives, including the potential for partnering options at Sasol's U.S. base chemicals business." The firm could not be reached for further comment.
Sasol began making linear low density polyethylene resins at the Lake Charles site last year. A low density PE unit was set to begin production earlier this year but was damaged in an explosion and fire in January. That unit now is expected to start up before the end of 2020, officials said. No one was injured in the January incident.
Sasol's assorted problems have damaged the firm's per-share stock price in 2020. The price began the year around $21.50 but closed June 18 at just under $8, a decline of almost 63 percent since Jan. 1.