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Steinhoff share-price collapse blindsides optimistic analysts

Dec 06 2017 16:13
Richard Weiss, Bloomberg News

Frankfurt - Investors shocked at the money they’re losing on positions in Steinhoff International have a lot of company in the analyst community.

The shares fell as much as 62% on Wednesday after CEO Markus Jooste resigned amid a probe of accounting irregularities.

The market value of the furniture retailer, which is based in South Africa but listed in Germany, has dropped to €4.5bn from about €20bn in June. Still, through Tuesday, Steinhoff was among the stocks on which equity analysts were most bullish.

Among the 50 stocks in Germany’s midcap MDAX index with the highest aggregate recommendations, Steinhoff is the only one to decline this year. The others handed investors returns between 30% and 50%.

Even the experts were caught off guard by the Steinhoff probe, which had been brewing since 2015 but took a new dimension on Wednesday.

As of Tuesday, 10 analysts rated Steinhoff shares at buy and eight rated them hold. The company had no sell recommendations. Some analysts have placed their ratings under review. The average share-price target by 11 analysts on Wednesday is €4.82, which the shares would have to more than quadruple to reach.

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