Evolution in the natural world is a slow process. But in the hyperconnected world in which we live and work, it’s
fast – and becoming faster all the time. As an example, twenty years ago, very few people had ever heard of the ‘Internet of Things’. Ten years ago, the term ‘Industry 4.0’ had not yet been coined. At the start of 2020, few people had paid attention to terms such as coronavirus, social distancing, lockdowns or infection waves. Yet today, these terms are part of our everyday vocabulary, showing just how fast the world around us is changing.

In response to our rapidly changing landscape, five years ago, we embarked on a strategy of intentional evolution, which involved diversifying our product portfolio in higher margin segments. By 2020, despite market challenges, we had essentially met and in many ways, exceeded this ambition.

Evolution is based on a series of events, processes and responses. Around the world, people are responding to natural resources constraints by seeking responsible alternatives to non-renewables and solutions that are truly sustainable from seed to final product.

We are responding to these needs by building on our success in intentional evolution to accelerate an enhanced journey of evolution aligned with our Thrive25 strategy. We are doing so from a foundation based on a coalition of diverse perspectives and expertise; as well as a history of seeking out and investing in breakthroughs that enable lasting outcomes for our partners and a lighter footprint on the world. We are building on these to ensure that every solution we create supports our goal of making everyday products more sustainable and that we accelerate meaningful change.


Stars form when celestial clouds collapse, feeding a rotating disc of gas and dust into a dense, hot central core. Amongst other things, pulsating stars give off carbon, a key ingredient for life as we know it. From chaos, something beautiful – and essential – is created.

We can view this as a metaphor for the coronavirus pandemic that infected and affected people regardless of nationality, class or wealth, leaving intense disruption in its wake. However, it also ushered in a global drive to reimagine our way of being on the planet. A new agenda for change is emerging, gaining traction and raising questions that will not go away.

Questions like: How do we reimagine a collective future where changed behaviours will allow us to live more in balance with nature than before? How do we

maintain and even intensify the sense of connection, caring and community that was one of the unexpected, but welcome, impacts of the pandemic? How do we deal with the uncertainty on the horizon when future surges of Covid-19 occur?

At Sappi we are taking bold, decisive action to respond to these challenges by extracting the full potential of trees and woodfibre to develop practical innovations for everyday impact and innovate what we should, not just what we can. We’re also establishing and maintaining proactive dialogue with all our stakeholders as well as working with and supporting local communities.

In doing so, we can not only create a more sustainable future, but also unlock significant long-term value for all our stakeholders.


Rocks are the ultimate symbol of resilience. They are fused together over time from solid crystals of different minerals. These natural processes bind them all together, imparting strength and resilience. But even rocks are shaped and reshaped over time by natural forces like water, wind and sun.

They’re a reminder that none of us are impervious to the global forces shaping our world. Forces like climate change, urbanisation, social inequality and of course, the new reality brought about by the coronavirus pandemic and Covid-19.

We’ve proven our resilience to succeed in the ‘new normal’ and we will continue to do so as we work to accelerate our decarbonisation journey, meet the changing needs of rapidly urbanising populations while managing our environmental footprint and promoting a diverse, inclusive workforce.

At Sappi we operate across different geographies, meeting the needs of customers from New Zealand to New Mexico, but our common purpose makes us stronger and more resilient: Sappi exists to build a thriving world by unlocking the power of renewable resources to benefit people, communities, and the planet. This is our inspiration and our call to create a brighter future for the world and for our business.


Collectively, the world is drawing a deep breath as we slowly emerge from the coronavirus pandemic and impact of Covid-19.

During the crisis, the safety of our people was our top priority. After which, like many enterprises across the world, our underlying goal was economic survival. To achieve this, we focused on the preservation of liquidity, lowering costs by deferring non-critical capex projects and postponing some annual maintenance shuts. We also took commercial downtime across all segments as required, in order to match supply to demand and prevent the build-up of inventory.

The verb ‘emerge’ is derived from the classical Latin ēmergere, meaning ‘to rise out or up’. We are proud

to say that we are rising from the impact of Covid-19 with strong growth in sales and profitability for the packaging and speciality papers segment, quickly recovering dissolving pulp market and steady month-on-month improvement for graphic papers.

As OneSappi we are steely in our determination to emerge from survival mode back onto a growth curve. A curve based on our strategy of diversifying our product portfolio into higher margin and growing segments – a strategy fully justified during the events of the past year.

Doing so is challenging, but we believe we can realise our vision of a thriving world by collaborating with all our stakeholders to create solutions for our collective needs and emerge stronger than ever before.


Linear momentum is defined as the product of a system’s mass multiplied by its velocity. The greater an object’s mass or the greater its velocity, the greater its momentum. In other words, momentum is about both magnitude and direction.

It can be difficult to maintain momentum in times of profound change or crisis, but it’s important to do so. That’s because action creates movement which in turn can create unanticipated opportunities.

Recognising this, at Sappi we responded to the coronavirus pandemic and Covid-19 in order to keep our forward momentum. We swiftly implemented a comprehensive Covid-19 action plan that ensured the health and safety of our employees and enabled us to operate in a safe, uninterrupted manner where demand permitted. Working closely with our

customers and suppliers we systematically increased activity and output in response to improved market demand. Our support for local communities helped mitigate the impact of the pandemic and the ensuing socio-economic consequences on them.

Looking ahead, we are confident that we can accelerate our momentum to navigate forward: We have the mass in the form of wide-ranging expertise, extensive infrastructure, strong foundation of research and development, together with our range of sustainable solutions produced from renewable woodfibre. And we have the velocity in the form of our ambitious but achievable Thrive25 strategy, which allows us to take advantage of the changing dynamics between the environment, consumers and the products they require. Above all, our passionate, committed people provide the impetus to power us forward.

Share statistics as at September 2020


Ordinary shares in issue Number of shareholders % Number of   
% of shares
in issue
1 – 5,000 7,512 85.8 3,607,542    0.7
5,001 – 10,000 250 2.9 1,852,531    0.3
10,001 – 50,000 395 4.5 9,590,328    1.8
50,001 – 100,000 162 1.9 11,478,259    2.1
100,001 – 1,000,000 346 4.0 107,339,644    19.7
Over 1,000,000 78 0.9 412,230,707    75.4
  8,743 100.0 546,099,011    100.0
(1) The number of shares excludes 1,761,527 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
   Shareowners 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 2020 was 8,732) 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, No 71 of 2008, as amended 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 2020, the following are beneficial holders of more than 5% of the issued share capital of Sappi Limited:

Beneficial holder Shares %
Public Investment Corporation 109,237,995 20.0
Allan Gray Balanced Fund 35,321,140 6.5
Alexander Forbes Investments 27,399,324 5.0

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 2020, the following fund managers were responsible for managing 5% or more of the share capital of Sappi Limited:

Fund manager Shares %
Allan Gray Pty Limited 101,437,748 18.6
Public Investment Corporation 90,211,054 16.5
Prudential Investment Managers 65,214,855 11.9
Ninety One Plc 58,132,747 10.6
Share statistics 2020   2019 2018 2017 2016
Ordinary shares in issue (millions)(1) 546.1   542.8 539.3 535.0 530.6
Net asset value per share (US cents) 299   359 361 327 260
Number of shares traded (millions)            
   JSE 736.3   537.1 557.4 630.7 544.7
   New York 2.0   0.3 0.4 3.1 0.9
Value of shares traded            
   JSE (ZAR million) 24,509.3   33,141.3 49,837.1 54,760.0 35,428.6
   New York (US$ million) 4.0   1.5 2.9 20.3 4.2
Percentage of issued shares traded 135.2   99.0 103.4 118.5 102.8
Market price per share            
– year end           JSE (South African cents) 2,377   3,629 8,875 9,206 7,226
                           New York (US cents) 151   251 639 681 522
– highest             JSE (South African cents) 4,799   9,059 10,579 10,438 7,942
                           New York (US cents) 345   640 749 797 522
– lowest              JSE (South African cents) 1,720   3,542 7,180 6,953 3,982
                           New York (US cents) 107   241 613 509 282
Earnings yield (%)(2) negative   16.29 9.56 9.28 11.39
Price/earnings ratio (times)(2) negative   6.14 10.46 10.78 8.78
Total market capitalisation (US$ million)(2) 758   1,300 3,383 3,633 2,796
(1) The number of shares excludes 1,761,527 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.