This is a securities fraud class action filed on behalf of all purchasers of Sasol ADRs (NYSE: SSL) securities between Mar. 10, 2015 and Jan. 13, 2020, inclusive (the “Class Period”), alleging claims against Sasol Limited (SSL), a South Africa-based energy and chemical company, and certain of its most senior officers.
According to the Complaint, Defendants misled investors by misrepresenting and failing to disclose that: (1) Sasol conducted insufficient due diligence into, and did not account for multiple issues with, Sasol’s Lake Charles chemical plant (“LCCP”), as well as its true cost; (2) construction and operation of the LCCP was plagued by control weaknesses, delays, rising costs, and technical issues; and (3) Sasol’s top-level management exacerbated these issues by engaging in improper and unethical behavior concerning financial reporting for, and oversight of, the LCCP.
Investors began to learn the truth through a series of disclosures, including on May 22, 2019, when Sasol abruptly raised the project’s cost estimate by $1 billion and disclosed an internal review into the project’s costs and construction schedule. The company admitted to weaknesses in the project’s integrated controls, as well as significant additional concerns related to the project’s forecasting process.
Then, on Oct. 27, 2019, Sasol terminated its co-CEOs following an internal probe showing that the Lake Charles project management team acted inappropriately, lacked experience, and was overly focused on maintaining cost and schedule estimates instead of providing accurate information.
Finally, on Jan. 13, 2020, Sasol disclosed an explosion and fire at its Lake Charles project’s low-density polyethylene unit, requiring the company to shut down the unit.
Each of these disclosures caused the price of Sasol ADRs to decline sharply.