Czech firm buys Sasol business
Draslovka, a multi-family-owned Czech speciality chemicals firm, has agreed to acquire the sodium cyanide business of Sasol for $101.7 million and will invest a further $50 million to modernise and expand the site at Sasolburg and bring it up to Draslovska’s environmental standards. The deal should close in 1H 2022, subject to approvals and finance. Navuka Investment Holdings, a black women-owned company with existing investments in mining, retail and industry, will take a 25% plus one share stake.
Draslovka has been active in hydrogen cyanide (HCN) production for over 100 years and specialises in fully synthetic and highly purified liquid HCN. This is used, following downstream processing, in multiple industries, notably mining and agriculture, but also pharmaceuticals, coatings and others.
The company has existing production and services facilities in the Czech Republic, Australia, New Zealand and India, plus Stellenbosch-based Draslovka Services South Africa Draslovka Services South Africa, which was formerly known as Agri-Soil. This is its first major investment in manufacturing in Africa.
“From a wider perspective, today’s announcement represents the first step on our global ambitions to take Draslovka to the next level,” said CEO Pavel Bruzek. Sasol described this as part of its “ongoing, strategy-aligned, asset divestment programme”. This grew out of an “expedited review of the business to consider how it can be most effectively positioned to be sustainable in a low oil price environment” and has made good progress despite macro-economic uncertainties, according to CEO Fleetweood Grobler.
The company will continue to supply Draslovka with key feedstocks, utilities and site services on an “arm’s length basis”. It added that it intends to “explore the potential for business development opportunities by Draslovka, which could result in further synergies at the site”.