NEW YORK, March 09, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Pomerantz LLP announces that a class action lawsuit has been filed against Sasol Limited (“Sasol” or the “Company”) (SSL) and certain of its officers. The class action, filed in United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, and indexed under 20-cv-01008, is on behalf of a class consisting of all persons and entities other than Defendants who purchased or otherwise acquired Sasol securities between March 10, 2015 and January 13, 2020, both dates inclusive (the “Class Period”), seeking to recover damages caused by Defendants’ violations of the federal securities laws and to pursue remedies under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”) and Rule 10b-5 promulgated thereunder, against the Company and certain of its top officials.
If you are a shareholder who purchased Sasol securities during the class period, you have until April 6, 2020 to ask the Court to appoint you as Lead Plaintiff for the class. A copy of the Complaint can be obtained at www.pomerantzlaw.com. To discuss this action, contact Robert S. Willoughby at firstname.lastname@example.org or 888.476.6529 (or 888.4-POMLAW), toll-free, Ext. 9980. Those who inquire by e-mail are encouraged to include their mailing address, telephone number, and the number of shares purchased.
Sasol was founded in 1950 and is headquartered in Johannesburg, South Africa. Sasol operates as an integrated chemical and energy company in South Africa. The Company operates through Mining, Exploration and Production International, Energy, Base Chemicals, and Performance Chemicals segments.
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.
The Complaint 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.
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 American depositary receipt (“ADR”) price fell $3.53 per share, or 10.99%, to close at $28.60 per share on June 6, 2016.
On May 22, 2019, during pre-market hours, 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 ADR 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, during pre-market hours, 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 ADR 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 ADR price fell $1.70 per share, or 7.84%, over the following two trading days, closing at $19.99 per share on January 15, 2020.
The Pomerantz Firm, with offices in New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Paris, is acknowledged as one of the premier firms in the areas of corporate, securities, and antitrust class litigation. Founded by the late Abraham L. Pomerantz, known as the dean of the class action bar, the Pomerantz Firm pioneered the field of securities class actions. Today, more than 80 years later, the Pomerantz Firm continues in the tradition he established, fighting for the rights of the victims of securities fraud, breaches of fiduciary duty, and corporate misconduct. The Firm has recovered numerous multimillion-dollar damages awards on behalf of class members. See www.pomerantzlaw.com
Robert S. Willoughby