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Biggest Steinhoff shareholder is said to oppose two directors

Apr 24 2018 06:15
Janice Kew, Bloomberg

Johannesburg - Steinhoff International’s biggest shareholder opposed the reappointment of Steve Booysen and Angela Kruger-Steinhoff to the crisis-hit retailer’s supervisory board, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Booysen, who’s been on the board since 2015 and heads Steinhoff’s audit and risk committee, was retained at the company’s annual general meeting on Friday for a further four-year term with 56% of the vote. Kruger-Steinhoff, the founder Bruno’s daughter, got 59% support. These were the lowest acceptance rates of any of the proposals put to shareholders on the day.

The Public Investment Corporation, Africa’s biggest money manager, voted against both reappointments, said the person, who asked not to be identified as the company’s position is private. The administrator of South African government pension funds holds 7.2% of Steinhoff, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The owner of Conforama in France and Mattress Firm in the US on Friday faced investors for the first time since reporting a hole in its accounts in December, which caused the stock to crash by 95%.

Senior management gave an update on the state of the retailer’s finances and took questions on everything from how they failed to spot the malpractice to the reappointment of auditor Deloitte.

Chairperson Heather Sonn appealed for shareholder support ahead of a debt restructuring plan that will be put to lenders in May. She pledged to reinstate trust in the retailer and said all board members have agreed to quit immediately if they are implicated in any wrongdoing.

A PIC spokesman didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. 

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