Sasol bosses cash in

With the chemical giant’s ballooning share bonuses come the resignations of the financial director and chairperson, and the retirement of a senior group executive. Other executives are also coining it

Sasol chief financial officer Christine Ramon, who sold R33.7 million worth of shares earlier this year, before announcing her resignation, is not the only Sasol executive making big money out of the company.

Two more directors are also set to leave the chemical giant with heavy wallets. The spate of resignations from Sasol’s top ranks has not been explained.

This week, Hixonia Nyasulu announced she would step down as chairperson and director of the Sasol board on November 22, after seven years.

Nyasulu is one of the nation’s highest-paid nonexecutive directors.

She earned R4.2 million in the year to June 2012. She earned board meeting fees of R3.7 million, or about R616 700 a meeting for the six board meetings of the 2012 financial year.

Another executive on his way out is Giullean (Lean) Strauss, a senior group executive for international energy, new business development and technology who is retiring at the end of this month.

Strauss has 91 000 share options and if he were to sell them at the current share price of about R480, he would pocket about R43.6 million.

Ramon, who resigned late last month and had her last day in the office this week, cashed in 81 700 share options in May for R33.7 million, and still has 41 556 indirectly held shares through Sasol Inzalo and the Sasol share savings trust.

She has an effective interest in 427 Sasol Inzalo ordinary shares owned by Melanani Investments, in which she has a 15% interest. She also has 655 Sasol Inzalo ordinary shares owned by Melanani Women’s Investments, in which she has a 20% interest.

Ramon’s share option windfall is over and above her salary. In the year to June 2012, she earned R11.3 million – which included incentives of R5 million.

Nyasulu, who is also a director of Sasol Oil, indirectly holds 1 450 Sasol shares through Sasol’s black economic empowerment scheme, Inzalo.

She also indirectly holds 1.275% of the shares of Sasol Oil through her 5.1% indirect holding in Tshwarisano LFB Investment. Tshwarisano concluded a R1.45 billion empowerment transaction in 2006.

But even if they aren’t walking, some executives are still raking it in.

Nolitha Fakude, who is the group executive for sustainability and transformation, has cashed in share options worth R22.9 million since September last year. She earned R11.6 million in the year to June 2012.

Group chief executive David Constable, who was appointed in July 2011 to succeed Pat Davies, earned R31.9 million for exactly one year of service to end June 2012.

This included benefits of R11 million, which included accommodation, air tickets, relocation costs, schooling costs, tax assistance and security benefits. It also included a sign-on fee of about $1.5 million (R15 million).

Directors’ salaries for the year to June this year have not been disclosed yet – so the departing directors could take home significantly more money than they did last year.

Another factor to be considered in the ballooning share bonuses of the executives is the rise of the Sasol share price, which is also growing into a huge expense for the company.

In the results announced on Monday, Sasol’s share-based payment expenses for its share-incentive schemes increased more than seven times, from R221 million last year to R1.67 billion for the year ended June this year.

Share-based payments include share options, share-appreciation rights and other share incentives.

The spokesperson for Sasol, Jacqui O’Sullivan, said: “After every reporting period, we revalue the share-based payments. The revaluation is primarily based on the share price.

In the previous reporting period, the share price closed at R342 whereas at the end of this reporting period, the share price closed at R431.”

Amid the lack of clarity over why the company’s financial director and chairperson resigned, Nyasulu said it was always her plan to serve as chairperson for only five years. She has been succeeded by nonexecutive director Mandla Gantsho.


In September 2008, Sasol launched a R26 billion black economic empowerment (BEE) initiative that was open to the public.

Participants were allocated either Sasol BEE ordinary shares in Sasol Limited or Sasol Inzalo Ordinary Shares in Sasol Inzalo Public Limited.

The minimum investment period for both has ended and the ordinary BEE shares are listed on the BEE segment of the JSE, while Inzalo shares are traded over the counter.

Investors in the Inzalo scheme saw investors pay about R22 for a share. The ordinary BEE shares, which shareholders paid R366 for, were funded by debt.

Currently the Inzalo share is trading at about R55, which is still more than what investors paid but a far cry from the average of R100 when over-the-counter trading began in March 2012.

The ordinary BEE shares are currently sitting at about R362.50.

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