Vigourexplore our theme

Lizards are estimated to have been around for 240 million years. Little wonder, given that they make use of a variety of antipredator adaptations, including venom, camouflage, reflex bleeding and the ability to sacrifice and regrow their tails. What’s more, as with other reptiles, the skin of lizards is covered in overlapping scales made of keratin, providing protection from the environment and reducing water loss through evaporation. This characteristic enables them to thrive in some of the driest deserts on earth.

Vigour, strength and adaptability have ensured lizards’ ability to thrive over the course of time.

So, too, at Sappi, our commitment to growing our business and maintaining a healthy balance sheet, has sustained us for almost 90 years. We are vigorous in our commitment to deliver on our Thrive strategy, including by reducing exposure to graphic paper markets while investing for growth in our target markets and capitalising on our leadership position in pulp supply to the lyocell market.

Evolveexplore our theme

Very little in nature is static – everything is constantly changing and evolving. One miraculous example of this is the metamorphosis of the egg, the caterpillar (larva) and the chrysalis (pupa) into the adult butterfly. This process embodies fresh ideas, renewal and unexpected outcomes.

The caterpillar’s new form as a butterfly opens new horizons, but also new risks, particularly in the form of climate change. Butterflies are particularly sensitive to environmental changes like climatic shifts. That is because they are strictly adapted to certain environmental conditions and their development depends on certain larval food plants and specific microhabitat structures.

In Sappi’s case, climate change presents both risks and opportunities. We are addressing short- and long-term physical and transitional climate risks identified through processes outlined by the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) to build resilience. In addition, we are determined, as a socially responsible business, to play our part in ensuring a just transition in South Africa as the country faces the reality of reducing its dependence on coal.

We are also determined to accelerate our science-based decarbonisation trajectory which we see as an opportunity to future-proof our business. So too, are the opportunities presented by evolving customer needs and legislation – notably growing demand for sustainable packaging, based on low-carbon impact, together with demand for more sustainable textile fibres.

We cannot achieve our vision of a thriving world without an evolving response to climate change. By collaborating with a broad range of stakeholders we are working to achieve energy security and climate resilience and transform our vision into reality.

Postureexplore our theme

Beauty and confidence. Pride and upright posture. These attributes have meant that many cultures over the ages have associated peacocks with royalty and power.

This image is appropriate to Sappi because we too, can stand tall with pride when we consider our past achievements and drive to create not just enterprise value, but value for our people and for communities.

We have achieved enterprise value through our ability to be nimble and optimise profitability in ever-changing markets, reshaping our products and processes to create value and growth for our own business and our customers. We continue to offer our customers a broad range of solutions based on the power of renewable resources that enable them to achieve their sustainability goals and contribute to the low-carbon, circular economy. In doing so, we have continued to focus on treading more lightly on the Planet.

Creating value for our people and communities is underpinned by the structures and programmes we have established which facilitate open, authentic communication, by our ongoing investment in training, development and transformative community programmes, as well as by our collaborative partnerships focused on workable solutions to industry challenges.

Our commitment to delivering sustainable value to our stakeholders is based on our focus on living our values at all times: At Sappi we do business safely with integrity and courage, making smart decisions which we execute with speed.

Diving deeper into our,
performance and prospects

Fortifyexplore our theme

Hermit crabs are shapeshifters, moulting as they grow, continually shedding their exoskeletons and growing new ones. As their exoskeletons are fragile, they need shells for protection. Rather than produce their own shell, as they grow, they use shells abandoned by other marine creatures. This process is not a one-off, but continues throughout their lifespan, depending on water temperature, habitat and species.

Many species will enhance their chances of survival by encouraging anemones to attach to their shell, as the latter’s stinging tentacles may deter predators. The crabs even transfer the anemones from shell to shell when they move house.

We can draw parallels with Sappi, fortified as we are by our iterative Thrive strategy and by our agility in responding to changes in our operating context to emerge stronger and better positioned for growth. This process is underpinned by ongoing engagement with our stakeholders, whose input helps us shape our response to our environment as we collaborate to build a thriving world.

Balanceexplore our theme

Bubbles are things of fragility, wonder – and balance. That’s because the inward surface tension forces of the water film are exactly balanced by the outward-pushing pressure of the air inside.

Blowing more air in to make a bigger bubble means more air pressure inside and also means the bubble must get thinner in the process, because there is only so much water to go around. Should one keep blowing more air in, the film eventually won’t have enough reserve water to spread out into a bigger surface, and the ultimate catastrophe occurs: the bubble bursts.

The success of Sappi’s business is also based on balance. This includes continuous capital prioritisation as we look to reduce costs and grow the business while sustaining a healthy balance sheet. It involves reshaping our product portfolio to meet changing market needs and taking advantage of growth opportunities while being mindful of the risks. It means balancing the needs of people and communities with our responsibility to our shareholders.

As we move forward into the future, we know we can rely on the expertise and passion of our people and the ongoing cooperation of our stakeholders to maintain this balance and drive sustainable value creation.

Connectexplore our theme

Some mushrooms are bioluminescent, due to luciferins, the same compounds that make fireflies light up at night. This ability is used to attract insects which then spread the mushroom spores elsewhere in the forest, allowing the fungi to reproduce.

But that’s not where connection ends. Beneath every forest and wood lies a complex network of roots and fungi that connects trees and plants to one another. This network – sometimes called the Wood Wide Web – is almost 500 million years old and is vital for most plants on earth. Trees and plants obtain nutrients that the fungi acquire from the soil, such as nitrogen and phosphorus by means of enzymes that the trees do not possess. In return, the fungi receive carbon-rich sugar from the roots of the trees.

This symbiotic relationship enables all connected organisms to thrive.

Similarly, at Sappi our connection with our stakeholders shapes our work to build a thriving world. This connection enables us to meet the changing needs of every employee at Sappi and to offer our partners the renewable innovation they need to be successful. By understanding and connecting with community needs, we drive positive social impact, playing a role beyond making and selling.

Like mushrooms, our business is a living organism – growing, adapting and evolving in a continually shifting context. As we shape our response to this context, we prioritise value creation for all stakeholders.


Share statistics

as at September 2023


Ordinary shares in issue Number of
% Number  
of shares1
% of shares
in issue
1 – 5,000 8,368 88.7 3,296,998 0.6
5,001 – 10,000 221 2.3 1,620,517 0.3
10,001 – 50,000 346 3.7 8,540,348 1.5
50,001 – 100,000 129 1.4 9,095,348 1.6
100,001 – 1,000,000 304 3.2 95,326,286 16.9
Over 1,000,000 69 0.7 444,882,883 79.1
  9,437 100.0 562,762,380 100.0
1 The number of shares excludes 3,913,297 treasury shares held by the group.

Shareholder spread

Type of shareholder % of shares
in issue
Non-public 0.5 
   Sappi Limited directors and prescribed officers 0.5
   Associates of group directors
   Trustees of the company's share and retirement funding schemes
   Share owners who, by virtue of any agreement, have the right to nominate board members
   Share owners interested in 10% or more of the issued shares
Public (the number of public shareholders as at September 2023 was 9,425) 99.5

Sappi has a primary listing on the JSE Limited and a Level 1 ADR programme that trades in the over-the-counter market in the United States.

A large number of shares are held by nominee companies for beneficial shareholders. Pursuant to section 56(7) of the Companies Act 71 of 2008 of South Africa, the directors have investigated the beneficial ownership of shares in Sappi Limited, including those which are registered in the nominee holdings. These investigations revealed as of September 2023 the following are beneficial holders of more than 5% of the issued share capital of Sappi Limited:

Beneficial holder Shares %
Public Investment Corporation 120,335,753 21.4
Allan Gray Balanced Fund 49,631,222 8.8

Further, as a result of these investigations, the directors have ascertained that some of the shares registered in the names of the nominee holders are managed by various fund managers and that, as of September 2023, the following fund managers were responsible for managing 5% or more of the share capital of Sappi Limited:

Fund manager Shares %
Public Investment Corporation 107,273,455 19.1
Allan Gray Pty Limited 122,263,962 21.7
M&G plc 75,484,118 13.4


Share statistics 2023 2022 2021 2020 2019
Ordinary shares in issue (millions)1 558.8 565.2 561.5 546.1 542.8
Net asset value per share (US cents) 438 417 351 299 359
Number of shares traded (millions)          
   JSE 546.6 590.9 444.5 736.3 537.1
   New York 0.6 0.5 0.7 2.0 0.3
Value of shares traded          
   JSE (ZAR million) 24,991,5 29,491,0 17,073,0 24,509,3 33,141,3
   New York (US$ million) 1.7 1.6 1.6 4.0 1.5
Percentage of issued shares traded 97.9 104.6 79.3 135.2 99.0
Market price per share          
– year-end  JSE (South African cents) 4,404 4,402 3,861 2,377 3,629
                  New York (US cents) 230 268 260 151 251
– highest   JSE (South African cents) 5,835 6,348 5,269 4,799 9,059
                 New York (US cents) 350 420 359 345 640
– lowest   JSE (South African cents) 3,627 3,785 2,265 1,720 3,542
  201 235 135 107 241
Earnings yield (%)2 19.77 39.18 0.78 negative 16.29
Price/earnings ratio (times)2 5.06 2.55 128.99 negative 6.14
Total market capitalisation (US$ million)2 1,300 1,371 1,449 758 1,300
1 The number of shares excludes 3,913,297 treasury shares held by the group.
2 Based on financial year-end closing prices on the JSE Limited. Income statement amounts have been converted at average year-to-date exchange rates.

Note: Definitions for various terms and ratios used above are included in the glossary section.