* Sonangol 2020 results show $4.1 billion loss
* Total liabilities stood at $26.8 billion
* Oil giant took out two new loans totalling $1.5 billion
* Asset sales yet to tackle debt woes ahead of 2022 IPO
LONDON, Sept 17 (Reuters) - Angolan state oil giant Sonangol
registered a $4.1 billion net loss in 2020 as the COVID-19
pandemic hollowed out sales and the company struggles to lighten
its large debt with asset sales, according to its annual results
published this week.
The company is the engine of Angola's economy and central to
a state drive to lift its people out of poverty and alleviate
the country's vast debts to China and other lenders.
Sonangol's total liabilities stood at $26.8 billion at the
end of 2020, using the official average exchange rate for the
year, while debt repayments alone cost it $2 billion, the
238-page annual results showed.
The company took out two new bank loans totalling $1.5
billion in 2020, while another for $850 million was agreed this
year with an option to borrow a further $450 million.
Sonangol said debts to Western oil companies operating its
oilfields were not reflected in its results. Such liabilities
could amount to about $1 billion, sources have previously told
Reuters, though the company has not commented on that figure.
The company said the disappointing performance in 2020 was
"a result of drastic reduction in revenues from sales of crude
oil" due to the pandemic, despite Angolan annual oil output
being slightly higher than in 2019.
It cited a global glut in oil as travel restrictions
hammered demand, as well as weaker buying by its main customer
Even before the pandemic, in 2019, Sonangol registered no
profit from its core oil business in and only a modest overall
profit of $125 million.
The company announced a sale of stakes in eight flagship
offshore oil blocks in June to help alleviate debt, but no
announcement of any buyers has been forthcoming.
Sonangol has made little progress toward plans to privatise
non-core aspects of its businesses culminating in a listing of a
30% stake in the company itself. It sold its loss-making trading
arm Puma Energy to Trafigura for $600 million this year.
(Reporting by Noah Browning Editing by Pravin Char)