NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP, a leading national securities law firm, reminds investors in Sasol Limited (“Sasol” or the “Company”) (NYSE:SSL) of the April 6, 2020 deadline to seek the role of lead plaintiff in a federal securities class action that has been filed against the Company.
If you invested in Sasol stock or options between March 10, 2015 and January 13, 2020 and would like to discuss your legal rights, click here: www.faruqilaw.com/SSL. There is no cost or obligation to you.
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The lawsuit has been filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf of all those who purchased Sasol securities between March 10, 2015 and January 13, 2020 (the “Class Period”). The case, Moshell v. Sasol Limited et al., No. 20-cv-01008 was filed on February 5, 2020, and has been assigned to Judge Jed S. Rakoff.
The lawsuit focuses on whether the Company and its executives violated federal securities laws by making false and/or misleading statements and/or failing to disclose that: (1) 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; (2) construction and operation of the LCCP was consequently plagued by control weaknesses, delays, rising costs, and technical issues; (3) 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; (4) all the foregoing was reasonably likely to render the LCCP significantly more expensive than disclosed and negatively impact the Company’s financial results; and (5) as a result, the Company’s public statements were materially false and misleading at all relevant times.
Specifically, 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.”
On this news, Sasol’s American depositary receipt (“ADR”) price fell from a closing price of $32.13 per share on June 3, 2016 to $28.60 per share on June 6, 2016—a $3.43 or 10.99% drop.
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 realized and adjustments for potential insurance claims and procurement back-charges of approximately $120 million.”
On this news, Sasol’s ADR price fell from a closing price of $30.14 per share on May 21, 2019 to $25.64 per share on May 22, 2019—a $4.50 or 14.93% drop.
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 from a closing price of $18.41 per share on August 15, 2019 to $17.67 per share on August 16, 2019—a $0.74 or 4.02% drop.
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 court-appointed lead plaintiff is the investor with the largest financial interest in the relief sought by the class who is adequate and typical of class members who directs and oversees the litigation on behalf of the putative class. Any member of the putative class may move the Court to serve as lead plaintiff through counsel of their choice, or may choose to do nothing and remain an absent class member. Your ability to share in any recovery is not affected by the decision to serve as a lead plaintiff or not.
Faruqi & Faruqi, LLP also encourages anyone with information regarding Sasol’s conduct to contact the firm, including whistleblowers, former employees, shareholders and others.
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