Steinhoff says French retail unit has raised new money to stabilise firm

Steinhoff International Holdings said its French furniture retail unit Conforama Holdings SA has raised a total of about $356 million to ensure the stability of its capital structure and operations after debt rose and revenue fell.

As at the end of December, Conforama’s net financial debt was 1.72 billion euros, outstripping its equity, Frankfurt-listed Steinhoff said in a presentation on its website on Thursday. The market value of Conforama’s real estate was valued at 1.02 billion euros, according to Steinhoff.

“Conforama’s revenue has eroded between full-year 2016 and full-year 2018, while operating expenses have increased, driven by store opening plans, new marketing campaigns and numerous projects” that were started before Steinhoff disclosed accounting irregularities in December 2017, according to the statement.

Revenue “significantly deteriorated” between 2017 and 2018, it said.

In a separate statement, Steinhoff said Alexandre Nodale, deputy chief executive officer and member of the management board, has stepped down from both roles.

He will remain CEO of Conforama until the unit’s long-term financing is finalised and then Helen Lee Bouygues will become chairwoman with Cedric Dugardin as CEO.

Steinhoff rose 3.5% in Johannesburg to close at R1.76 per share.

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