Steinhoff raises R7.1bn from sale of PSG shares

Johannesburg - Steinhoff International raised R7.1bn billion of shares in South African financial services firm PSG, the latest in a line of disposals aimed at shoring up the retailer’s battered balance sheet.

The owner of Mattress Firm in the U.S. and Poundland in the UK placed almost 29.5 million shares in Stellenbosch, South Africa-based PSG with institutional investors, Steinhoff said in a statement Monday. That’s on top of the 20.6 million PSG shares sold late last year at the start of an accounting scandal that’s wiped out most of its market value.

“This is positive for Steinhoff as it will secure a decent bit of liquidity out of a fairly well-priced asset,” Alec Abraham, an analyst at Johannesburg-based Sasfin Securities, said by phone. “By selling out of a non-core asset, the company is better able to support its core, furniture businesses.”

The shares rose 3.7% as of 4:41 p.m. in Frankfurt, where Steinhoff moved its primary listing from Johannesburg in December 2015. PSG rose 0.2% by the close in the South African city to R254 rand, about 5.5% higher than the R240 price Steinhoff received for its stock. The retailer holds a 2.5% after the placement.

Steinhoff has been identifying non-core assets to sell while holding talks with lenders about providing financial support. The company said December 5 it had uncovered accounting irregularities and later announced it would have to restate accounts going back to 2015. Chief executive officer Markus Jooste and chairman and biggest shareholder Christo Wiese have both resigned.

The company earlier this year sold a luxury Gulfstream 550 private jet that had once been valued at $25m, while French unit Conforama has disposed of a 17% stake in online retailer Showroomprive for  €79 million euros. That’s about half what it paid for the shares in May last year.

The PSG placing was carried out by PSG itself and the South African unit of Standard Bank.

Separately, Amsterdam Court’s Enterprise Chamber delayed a verdict on a case brought against Steinhoff by a former joint-venture partner until no later than February 19. It had been due to make a decision on the case Monday.

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