Steinhoff cuts estimated value of major European property portfolio

Cape Town - Embattled retailer Steinhoff has announced that the true value of real estate interests owned by one of its European subsidiaries may be €1.1bn (about R16bn) less than previously calculated. 

The Stellenbosch-headquartered conglomerate said in a market announcement on Tuesday evening that commercial real estate advisory group CBRE had valued the real estate portfolio of its subsidiary Hemisphere International Properties at "approximately €1.1bn".

This is half the company's previous estimate of €2.2bn.

"The company will consider CBRE’s valuations in detail and will work with its auditors to determine the consolidated net book value of the Hemisphere portfolio for the purposes of publication of the company’s consolidated financial statements for 2017," it said. 

The Hemisphere portfolio comprises approximately 140 properties - including stores, warehouses, offices, production sites and vacant land - across Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, the UK and Eastern Europe, said Steinhoff. 

Plunge 

Steinhoff's shares closed at R3.32 on the JSE on Tuesday, up marginally on the day. Two years ago, on April 4 2016, shares in the group sometimes at the time referred to in the press as "the Ikea of Africa" were changing hands at around R94 a share. 

The group's share price plunged following an announcement in early December last year that its CEO Markus Jooste was abruptly stepping down amid an accounting scandal. 

Jooste is under investigation by priority crime investigating unit the Hawks.

A joint parliamentary committee has agreed to follow a process to subpoena him to give testimony after he declined an invitation to appear before Parliament.

Steinhoff's 2017 financial results, meanwhile, have been delayed while PwC conducts a forensic audit of its books. This investigation may continue until the end of 2018.

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