Sasol is the South African company that converts coal to gasoline and diesel. Its stock is traded on the NYSE as SSL. Its market cap is $17 billion and its book value is $15 billion. It is suffering now that oil prices are low and that coal to gasoline/diesel is a large CO2 emitter. Gasoline from Sasol has twice the carbon footprint well to wheels than gasoline from crude oil.
Elon Musk also comes from South Africa and he is the great Green Hope of the future based on his company Tesla. TSLA trades on the NASDAQ and has a market cap of almost $32 billion which is nearly twice as valuable as Sasol. TSLA’s book value is only $1.3 billion and less than one tenth that of Sasol.
Investors in the stock market base their valuations by discounting future cash flows they expect the companies to enjoy. Investors are euphoric and irrationally exuberant about TSLA and are pessimistic and disdainful of Sasol’s future. I think TSLA is overvalued and Sasol is undervalued as markets are not 100% rational. Sasol also has a chemicals business and has positions in North America in shale and petrochemicals.
My guess of the market caps at the end of 2016 for SSL and TSLA are as follows: SSL will equal $22 billion and TSLA will equal $25 billion. I estimated these values on my prognostication of oil prices at the end of 2016 being at least $50 a barrel and that Tesla will see stiff competition in the EV market from other auto companies.
Interestingly 9 years ago when Alan Greenspan as Chairman of the Fed opined that the US was running out of natural gas, Coal was King and Elon Musk was an unknown. For sure in 9 years’ time Wall Street will have a new guru and it won’t be Elon Musk. In 9 years’ time the laws of thermodynamics will still hold 100% true and 2014 will be the bicentennial anniversary of Carnot’s law that Carnot understood was back in 1824. Carnot will always be remembered for pointing out that entropy happens to 100% of the people 100% of the time. Musk will be remembered for producing cars for the 1%. In my view of the world as The Thermonator Carnot’s market cap is worth 100 times Musk.
Sadly most people have never heard of Carnot. People have heard of the Car Dash Ians and most people are simply oblivious of science and want the cheap entertainment of fools.