Earlier this month, the Competition Commission gave its approval for the buy-back of Sasol’s air separation unit (ASU), known as the A2100, by Air Products South Africa.

The company constructed the plant for Sasol Chemical Industries in 1997. Air Products have to date supplied Sasol with an operations and maintenance service via a long-term outsourcing agreement.

This regulatory approval represents a significant milestone in the process of acquiring the ASU, paving the way for the transaction to proceed. The purchase, through which Sasol Chemicals Industries will effectively outsource its industrial gas production at the Sasolburg Site, has numerous benefits for Sasol and for Air Products’ other key customers, according to the company’s Managing Director, Mike Hellyar.

“Changing from contract operator to owner of the A2100 has significant implications for us. The A2100 is linked via pipeline to Air Products’ production facility at Vanderbijlpark, including our new state-of-the-art ‘G-Plant’ ASU.  We are looking forward to leveraging the synergies of the two plants.”

He continues, “Ownership of the A2100 facility, because it is linked to Vanderbijlpark, creates synergies which will provide a better balance of supply and demand of gaseous product; and which furthermore support our position as the leading producer of industrial gas in the country.”

“In addition, these synergies will provide opportunities to improve energy efficiency and together constitute a solid platform for Air Products to continue to ensure long-term security of supply to the merchant industrial gas market.”

“We have actively worked to ensure our compliance with the competition laws of South Africa, and are pleased with the Commission’s go-ahead for this transaction. We will now conclude our commercial arrangements with Sasol Chemical Industries accordingly,” he concludes.