NEW YORK, Feb. 12, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Bragar Eagel & Squire, P.C., a nationally recognized shareholder rights law firm, reminds investors that class action lawsuits have been commenced on behalf of stockholders of Westpac Banking Corporation (WBK), Sasol Limited (SSL), and Spirit AeroSystems Holdings, Inc. (SPR). Stockholders have until the deadlines below to petition the court to serve as lead plaintiff. Additional information about each case can be found at the link provided.
Westpac Banking Corporation (WBK)
Class Period: November 11, 2015 to November 19, 2019
Lead Plaintiff Deadline: March 30, 2020
On November 20, 2019, the Australian Transaction Reports and Analysis Centre (“AUSTRAC”) charged Westpac with over 23 million violations of the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act (the “AML-CTF Act”). Further, Westpac’s senior management failed to distinguish money laundering or risky payments to and from Southeast Asia indicative of child sexual exploitation.
On this news, Westpac’s stock price fell $0.80 per share, or over 4%, to close at $17.15 per share on November 20, 2019.
The Complaint, filed on January 30, 2020, alleges that defendants throughout the Class Period made false and/or misleading statements and/or failed to disclose that: (1) contrary to Australian law, the Company failed to report over 19.5 million international funds transfer instructions to AUSTRAC, Australia's anti money-laundering and terrorism financing regulator; (2) the Company did not appropriately monitor and assess the ongoing money laundering and terrorism financing risks associated with movement of money into and out of Australia; (3) the Company did not pass on requisite information about the source of funds to other banks in the transfer chain; (4) despite being aware of the heightened risks, the Company did not carry out appropriate due diligence on transactions in South East Asia and the Philippines that had known financial indicators relating to child exploitation risks; (5) the Company's AML/CTF Program was inadequate to identify, mitigate and manage money laundering and terrorism financing risks; and (6) as a result, defendants' statements about its business, operations, and prospects, were materially false and misleading and/or lacked a reasonable basis at all relevant times.
For more information on the Westpac class action go to: https://bespc.com/wbk
Sasol Limited (SSL)
Class Period: March 10, 2015 to January 13, 2020
Lead Plaintiff Deadline: April 6, 2020
On October 27, 2014, Sasol announced the construction of a of an $8.1 billion ethane cracker and derivatives complex in Lake Charles, Louisiana, dubbed the Lake Charles Chemicals Project (“LCCP”). According to the Company, the LCCP includes seven manufacturing units, some of which are in continued development, including the low-density polyethylene (“LDPE”) facility and Ziegler alcohol, ethoxylates and Guerbet alcohol facilities, among others.
On June 6, 2016, Sasol reported “that the expected total capital expenditure for the [LCCP] could increase up to US$11 billion, including site infrastructure and utility improvements”; a slower rate of capital “resulted in an extended project schedule and contributed to further project cost increases”; “[t]he expected returns for the project have reduced due to changes in long-term price assumptions and the higher capital estimates”; and “[t]he increase in the estimated LCCP capital cost and extended schedule will reduce the expected project returns by approximately the same amount as the Company’s lower long-term price assumptions.”
Following these disclosures, Sasol’s share price fell $3.53 per share, or 10.99%, to close at $28.60 per share on June 6, 2016.
On May 22, 2019, Sasol disclosed that “the cost estimate for the LCCP has been revised to a range of $12,6 to $12,9 billion which includes a contingency of $300 million.” Sasol cited a $530 million change in the project’s cost forecast because of a “[c]orrection for duplication of investment allowances of approximately $230 million”; a “[c]orrection for certain contracts and variation orders managed by Sasol, outside the primary engineering, procurement and construction contract, of approximately $180 million”; and forecast improvements that were “not expected to be realised and adjustments for potential insurance claims and procurement back-charges of approximately $120 million.”
Following these disclosures, Sasol’s share price fell $4.50 per share, or 14.93%, to close at $25.64 per share on May 22, 2019.
Later, on August 16, 2019, Sasol issued a press release disclosing that it was delaying the announcement of its 2019 financial results because of “possible LCCP control weaknesses.”
On this news, Sasol’s share price fell $0.74 per share, or 4.02%, to close at $17.67 per share on August 16, 2019.
Then, on October 28, 2019, Sasol disclosed that its review of the LCCP control weaknesses had brought to light “errors, omissions, and inaccuracies in the [LCCP] cost estimate,” and a number of unethical and improper reporting activities that took place at the highest level of management. Sasol also announced the resignation of, inter alia, its Joint Presidents and Chief Executive Officers (“CEOs”), effective November 1, 2019, and Senior Vice Presidents and others previously in charge of the LCCP.
Finally, on January 14, 2020, Sasol issued a press release confirming that on January 13, 2020, the Company “experienced an explosion and fire at its LCCP low-density polyethylene (LDPE) unit.” Sasol stated that “[t]he unit was in the final stages of commissioning and startup when the incident occurred” and “has been shut down and an investigation is underway to determine the cause of the incident, the extent of the damage and resulting impact on the LDPE unit’s [beneficial operation] schedule.”
Following these disclosures, Sasol’s share price fell $1.70 per share, or 7.84%, over the following two trading days, to close at $19.99 per share on January 15, 2020.
The Complaint, filed on February 5, 2020, alleges that throughout the Class Period defendants made materially false and misleading statements regarding the Company’s business, operational and compliance policies. Specifically, defendants made false and/or misleading statements and/or failed to disclose that: (i) Sasol had conducted insufficient due diligence into, and failed to account for multiple issues with, the LCCP, as well as the true cost of the project; (ii) construction and operation of the LCCP was consequently plagued by control weaknesses, delays, rising costs, and technical issues; (iii) these issues were exacerbated by Sasol’s top-level management, who engaged in improper and unethical behavior with respect to financial reporting for the LCCP and the project’s oversight; (iv) all the foregoing was reasonably likely to render the LCCP significantly more expensive than disclosed and negatively impact the Company’s financial results; and (v) as a result, the Company’s public statements were materially false and misleading at all relevant times.
For more information on the Sasol class action go to: https://bespc.com/ssl
Spirit AeroSystems Holdings, Inc. (SPR)
Class Period: October 31, 2019 to January 29, 2020
Lead Plaintiff Deadline: April 10, 2020
On January 30, 2020, Spirit issued a press release announcing executive officer changes. Therein, Spirit stated that it “did not comply with its established accounting processes related to certain potential contingent liabilities that were received by Spirit after the end of third quarter 2019.” Moreover, the Company stated that, “[i]n light of these findings,” Spirit's Chief Financial Officer, Jose Garcia, and Principal Accounting Officer, John Gilson, resigned from their positions.
On this news, the Company’s share price fell $2.56, or nearly 4%, to close at $65.08 per share on January 30, 2020.
The complaint, filed on February 10, 2020, alleges that throughout the Class Period defendants made false and/or misleading statements and/or failed to disclose that: (1) the Company lacked effective internal controls over financial reporting; (2) the Company did not comply with its established accounting principles related to potential contingent liabilities; and (3) as a result, defendants’ statements about its business, operations, and prospects, were materially false and misleading and/or lacked a reasonable basis at all relevant times.
For more information on the Spirit AeroSystems class action go to: https://bespc.com/spr
About Bragar Eagel & Squire, P.C.:
Bragar Eagel & Squire, P.C. is a nationally recognized law firm with offices in New York and California. The firm represents individual and institutional investors in commercial, securities, derivative, and other complex litigation in state and federal courts across the country. For more information about the firm, please visit www.bespc.com. Attorney advertising. Prior results do not guarantee similar outcomes.