PRETORIA – In March 2020, the chief executive and president of Sasol Fleetwood Grobler and myself engaged in a conversation about how the company continues to flounder and also fails to provide a clear explanation about the circumstances pertaining to the Lake Charles Chemical Project in the United States.
It does not look like the company will be out of the woods in the near future due to its operations in the US.
At the time, Sasol’s stock had badly crashed by up to 47 percent and its market cap fell from R200 billion to just R30bn. My article on IOL titled “The making of a huge corporate scandal: Is Sasol’s imminent fall engineered?” postulated that the company engineered an unending crisis with the US project in order “to take the company out of South Africa, its assets abroad could have been long sold or earmarked to be sold to pre-identified individuals”.
The cost overruns for the project placed the company in serious financial hardship. Today Lake Charles has an estimated cost of $14bn (R221bn), up from $8.1bn in 2014.
In a light response to my article on Fleetwood dismissed the claims about possible economic shenanigans in the US project as nonsensical. He said my disquiet was “based on loosely referenced media reports, unsubstantiated conjecture.” He added that: “Furthermore, the notion that any company, including Sasol, would deliberately seek investment opportunities to willingly destroy shareholder value, is preposterous.”