STEINHOFF INT’L: Faces More Than EUR9 Billion in Legal Claims

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Emma Rumney at Reuters reports that Steinhoff International, battling the fallout from a massive accounting fraud, faces legal claims amounting to more than EUR9 billion (US$10.10 billion), the South African retailer’s annual report showed on July 1.

According to Reuters, the report for the year ended September 2019 listed numerous court cases with claimants seeking more than EUR9 billion in payments or damages. It also included Steinhoff’s annual results, with the retailer’s full-year loss widening to EUR1.8 billion from a EUR1.2 billion loss a year earlier, Reuters notes.

Steinhoff’s problems began in December 2017 when the company revealed holes in its accounts, shocking investors in the international retail group, which were the initial signs of an accounting fraud since estimated to total US$7 billion, Reuters recounts.

After a debt restructuring last year, the company said that managing its litigation risks — the second phase of its plan to return to normality — was now its focus, with these presenting a “significant challenge”, Reuters relays.

The company, as cited by Reuters, said its debt, which it restructured last year, stood at EUR9.6 billion during the period.

Steinhoff International is a South African international retail holding company that is dual listed in Germany. Steinhoff deals mainly in furniture and household goods, and operates in Europe, Africa, Asia, the United States, Australia and New Zealand.

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