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Creditors give Steinhoff another lifeline

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'Lenders are between a rock and a hard place here. If they don’t grant the extension, they risk a long, drawn-out liquidation.'

Steinhoff International creditors have once again agreed to grant the troubled retailer yet another extension. Picture: Dwayne Senior Bloomberg

Steinhoff International creditors have once again agreed to grant the troubled retailer yet another extension in a move to complete its financial restructuring of its European businesses.

Steinhoff asked for the extension from the creditors towards the end of last month to postpone the June 30 deadline to August 9.

The group confirmed yesterday that the company voluntary agreement (CVA) consent request number 4 was approved by the requisite majorities of Steinhoff Europe AG (SEAG) and Steinhoff Finance Holding GmbH (SFHG) creditors on June 28.

However, the group added that in relation to the CVA consent request number 4 certain members of the SEAG Creditors Group and the SFHG Creditors Group requested for future extension fee arrangements to be agreed as part of the consents to the CVA consent request number 4.

Nesan Nair, a senior portfolio
manager at Sasfin Securities, said that the lenders had little room to manoeuvre, but to grant Steinhoff the extension.

“Lenders are between a rock and a hard place here. If they don’t grant the extension, they risk a long, drawn-out liquidation,” Nair said.

Steinhoff said it remained its objective to complete the restructuring as soon as possible and ahead of the new CVA Long-Stop Date.

Steinhoff also confirmed that it had launched proceedings to recover some of the money paid to its former chief executive Markus Jooste after the group saw its price shed more than 95 percent following the accounting scandal in December 2017.

“On June 19, the company launched proceedings against former chief executive Markus Jooste and former chief financial officer (CFO) Ben la Grange in the Cape Town High Court to recover certain salary and bonus payments paid to the former chief executive and CFO prior to 2017,” the group said.

It was reported last week that Steinhoff was suing Jooste for R850 million, while La Grange was sued for R271m.

The move comes after PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) completed its forensic investigation in March.

Jooste, La Grange, Dirk Schreiber and Stehan Grobler, as well as four other people, were cited in the PwC report as having been involved in fictitious and/or irregular transactions between the 2009 financial year and 2017.

The report indicated that income and asset values were overstated by about e6.5 billion (R103.81bn).

Steinhoff’s share price remained flat on the JSE yesterday at R1.27.

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