NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Bragar Eagel & Squire, P.C., a nationally recognized shareholder rights law firm, announces that a class action lawsuit has been filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf of investors that purchased Sasol Limited (NYSE: SSL) securities between March 10, 2015 and January 13, 2020 (the “Class Period”). Investors have until April 6, 2020 to apply to the Court to be appointed as lead plaintiff in the lawsuit.
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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.
If you purchased Sasol securities during the Class Period, have information, would like to learn more about these claims, or have any questions concerning this announcement or your rights or interests with respect to these matters, please contact Melissa Fortunato or Marion Passmore by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, telephone at (646) 860-9156, or by filling out this contact form. There is no cost or obligation to you.
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