Steinhoff seeks settlement to solve legal disputes

US$1 bn proposal

28 July 2020 | Sakenuus
JOHANNESBURG - South African retailer Steinhoff International said on Monday it had proposed a settlement worth up to around US$1 billion to settle a stream of legal claims against it following a massive accounting fraud.

Lawsuits worth billions of US dollars are now the biggest challenge facing Steinhoff, which is battling to recover from the impact of the US$7 billion scandal after first revealing holes in its accounts in December 2017.

CEO Louis du Preez said the settlement being proposed was the result of 12 months of "intensive effort" and urged all claimants to support it.

‘No certainty yet’

"Although there is no certainty yet that we will be able to conclude this settlement, in our view these terms are firmly in the best interests of all stakeholders," he said in a statement.

The settlement splits claimants into two groups: those with claims related to market purchases and those with contractual claims. Steinhoff said not all claims against it are covered in the settlement.

It offers 266 million euro (US$311.35 million) for market purchase claims, with contractual claimants to be offered around 104 million euro and a further R9.4 billion (US$568 million) for claims against a subsidiary - just over US$1 billion in total.

The value would be paid in both cash and shares in retailer Pepkor, a Steinhoff subsidiary, if the settlement is given the consent of creditors, regulators and eligible claimants, Steinhoff said. – Nampa/Reuters

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