Steinhoff proposes R16.5 billion settlement to resolve 90 claims against it

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Steinhoff says it has developed a settlement proposal to resolve the "complex, multi-jurisdictional claims" that run into billions of rands against it. 

The 90 separate claims stem from the precipitous plunge in the group's share price in the wake of the abrupt resignation of its former CEO Markus Jooste at the start of an accounting scandal in late 2017. 

In a statement on Monday morning, the Stellenbosch-headquartered retailer said that, if the settlement proceeds, it will result in:

  • up to EUR266 million (R5.1bn at current exchange rates) being paid in settlement of market purchase claims against Steinhoff International Holdings N.V and Steinhoff International Holdings Proprietary Limited.
  • approximately EUR104 million (R2 billion at current exchange rates) being paid in settlement of claims of contractual counterparties against Steinhoff International Holdings N.V; and 
  • approximately ZAR9.4 billion being paid in settlement of contractual counterparties against Steinhoff International Holdings Proprietary Limited.  

The conglomerate said the proposed settlement terms would not constitute an admission of liability by any member of the group or employees. The proposal will need the backing of regulators, creditors and claimants. 

"The proposed settlement terms being announced today are the culmination of 12 months of intensive effort," said Steinhoff's CEO, Louis du Preez, in a statement. 

"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. We urge all claimants to engage positively with us and support our proposal to resolve the outstanding legacy claims."

Steinhoff said the settlement consideration will be paid in cash and delivery of shares its subsidiary Pepkor Holdings at a deemed price of R15 per share.

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