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Steinhoff to meet with lenders to discuss debt

May 03 2018 16:41
Janice Kew of Bloomberg, with Fin24

Steinhoff International Holdings [JSE: SNH] will face up to lenders in London next week to discuss a plan to reorganise $12.5bn (almost R160bn) of debt, a meeting that could prove critical to the future of the retailer weighed down by an accounting crisis.

The owner of Conforama in France and Mattress Firm in the US will hold the meeting in private on May 18, a spokesperson said in an emailed response to questions Thursday.

While Steinhoff has sold off assets to shore up its balance sheet and buy time from creditors, that strategy is unsustainable with debt levels so high, the company told investors last month.

Steinhoff shares have plunged more than 95% since reporting a hole in its accounts in December, valuing the business at about $699m (R8.85bn).

Last week former chair Christo Wiese announced his intentions to sue Steinhoff for R59bn through his trading group Titan Group of Companies.

When asked if he thinks Steinhoff would be able to pay him back given that the company’s market cap is at R8.9bn, Wiese said he could not speculate.

“I can’t forecast that, there are a lot of other claimants as well. Some who have written to the company as a matter of public record, placing their claims on the table. So it is very difficult to forecast what is going to happen,” he told Fin24.

So far Steinhoff has sold part of its stake in KAP Industrial Holdings to help settle its debt.

The global retailer managed to raise R3.75bn through the sale of 5.8% of its shares in Steinhoff Africa Retail (STAR) in April.

On Thursday Steinhoff’s share price opened at R2.18, and by 16:23 on the JSE it was trading at R2.11.

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steinhoff  |  christo wiese  |  retail  |  debt
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