As it happened - Gigaba gives update on govt's response to Steinhoff scandal

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15 Dec 2017

The briefing has ended. 

15 Dec 2017

National Treasury director general Dondo Mogajane notes that SARS will collect less revenue when major companies like Steinhoff are under pressure. 

In SA some major brands that fall under the Steinhoff umbrella include Ackermans, Pep, Tekkie Town, Russells and HiFi Corp.

It also trades in some 30 other countries, and receives most of its revenue from its European operations. 

15 Dec 2017

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba , speaking to the media after a crisis Steinhoff meeting, has said outcomes of various investigations into the Amsterdam-registered global furniture retailer will reveal if criminal prosecution must take place. 

At least six separate investigations by different entities are taking place into the firm. 

This number does not include charges that were laid by a Johannesburg fund manager on Tuesday with police against former Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste. 

Benguela Global Fund Manager's chief investment officer Zwelakhe Mnguni told Fin24 by phone on Thursday that he lodged the criminal complaint with police in Sandton on Tuesday. 

In response to a request for comment about the criminal complaint, a spokesperson for Steinhoff on Thursday afternoon in a short statement said the company could not comment on the criminal complaint lodged against Jooste, as he was no longer an employee of the company and "we cannot comment on his personal affairs".

15 Dec 2017

The Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors will be investigating Steinhoff's auditors Deloitte for auditing done for Steinhoff between 2014 and 2016, says its CEO Bernard Agulhas. 

On Thursday Steinhoff stated that its financials for 2016 will also need to be restated.

"The Company, on the advice of the independent committee of the Supervisory Board, together with their advisers, is taking all necessary steps to address the audit issues and will keep the market informed of any material developments," Steinhoff said on Thursday. 

15 Dec 2017

The JSE's Newton-King says suspension of trade on the JSE would be the "extreme last thing to do" as it is prejudicial to the company's shareholders who cannot trade their shares. 

She notes that Steinhoff has been collaborative and cooperative with the JSE's request for information, "responding at any hour in the morning or night".

The Frankfurt Stock Exchange, where Steinhoff has its primary listing, told Fin24 last week that it was not considering halting the trade in Steinhoff's shares. 

The Steinhoff share price was, on Friday at 12:15, trading at R8.40. 

15 Dec 2017

PIC board chairman Sfiso Buthelezi says government asset manager the PIC was "shocked" to learn none of the board members of Steinhoff were from the PIC.

The PIC, which manages a total of R1.928trn in assets, said earlier this week that it and the government employees pension fund would insist on the appointment of at least two independent non-executive directors on Steinhoff’s board following its dramatic share price collapse.

15 Dec 2017

The JSE'S Nicky Newton-King says it's important that Minister Gigaba has raised the necessity of sound corporate governance and shareholder activism. 

The stock exchange is one of the bodies investigating Steinhoff. 

It previously said its investigation would include “any breaches in relation to previous financial disclosures made to the public by Steinhoff International”.

15 Dec 2017

Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba says a task team is being set up to protect the pensions of South Africans, following the major decline in the value of Steinhoff shares. 

The government employee’s pension fund (GEPF), via its asset manager the Public Investment Corporation (PIC), is the second largest investor in the furniture conglomerate, and owns about 10% of its 4.32 billion shares. 

Gigaba says government pensioners must not panic, as their assets are in good hands and the state will continue to protect them. 

In a previous joint statement, the GEPF and the PIC said they recorded a loss of 0.6% of the total GEPF portfolio on December 6, 2017 when Steinhoff shares went into freefall.

"Despite the fall in Steinhoff shares, the total GEPF equity portfolio had created a value of approximately R140bn over the preceding 12 month period, and had performed better than the equity benchmark," read the joint statement. 

“It is important to note that notwithstanding the collapse in the Steinhoff share, the GEPF portfolio remains financially healthy, because of its diversified nature. It is also important to note that GEPF members’ benefits will not be changed by these developments, given that the GEPF is a defined benefit pension fund." 

15 Dec 2017

Gigaba meeting with stakeholders in Johannesburg (Lameez Omarjee, Fin24) 
Gigaba meeting with stakeholders in Johannesburg (Lameez Omarjee, Fin24) 

15 Dec 2017

The Stellenbosch-headquartered global furniture and household goods conglomerate already is being investigated by a number of different entities, including the JSE, the Financial Service Board and PricewaterhouseCoopers. 
A quick guide to who's probing Steinhoff

15 Dec 2017

Nine days after its share price went into freefall following the announcement that its CEO Markus Jooste was resigning "with immediate effect", and that PwC was investigating "accounting irregularities requiring further investigation", Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba will meet with a number of stakeholders to discuss the Steinhoff matter.

The meeting is taking place at the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, where Steinhoff has its secondary listing. 

Gigaba said Wednesday that he had invited representatives of the JSE, the Government Employees Pension Fund, the Public Investment Corporation, the SA Revenue Service, the Financial Service Board, the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors and business bodies to attend the meeting. 

Steinhoff has not been invited.  

The Stellenbosch-headquartered company's stock, which was trading at just over R46 a share on Tuesday December 5, was trading at R8.61 on Friday at 09:15, wiping billions off its market capitalisation. 

On Thursday evening news broke that its interim chief and board chairperson Christo Wiese was resigning. 

"Wiese made this offer in order to reinforce the independent governance of the company of which he is a major shareholder. The supervisory board, on the advice of the independent committee of the supervisory board, has accepted his resignation to address any possible conflict of interest that may exist," said Steinhoff in a statement. "Dr Wiese has offered to provide any ongoing assistance that may be required by the company."

READ: Christo Wiese quits board as Steinhoff scandal deepens
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