Steinhoff's Unitrans is said to be worth up to R4 billion

Steinhoff's [JSE:SNH] Unitrans Motor Group, which the embattled retailer is in talks to sell, may be valued at as much as $280m (R4bn at current exchange rates), according to people familiar with the matter.

The lower end of the valuation range may be about $204 million (R2.9bn), said two of the people, who asked not to be identified because the negotiations are private.

Steinhoff on Thursday said it plans to sell 75% of South Africa’s largest car dealership to the local unit of Toyota Tsusho Corp.’s CFAO Holdings as it exits businesses that don’t complement existing retail franchises.

The companies still need to agree terms for the sale, Steinhoff said in a statement. Steinhoff declined to comment on Unitrans Motor’s value, while CFAO wouldn’t say what price it may pay.

Steinhoff raised about $332m (R4.8bn) earlier this week as it sold its remaining shares in South Africa’s KAP Industrial Holdings Ltd. That followed similar disposals of stock in Pepkor, Steinhoff’s African retail operations and investment-holdings company PSG.

Steinhoff is also seeking to sell properties in Europe valued at about 400 million euros, people familiar with the matter said earlier this month. Steinhoff first began buying shares in Unitrans in 2000.

It continued increasing its stake to just more than 60% until acquiring all of the outstanding stock for the equivalent of $233m in 2007.“We’ve been looking to enter South Africa for many years,” CFAO Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Richard Bielle said by phone.

“It is a significant acquisition for the group. We would like to expand these types of services in Unitrans to our other operations in Africa.” Bielle said CFAO is financing the deal through a combination of debt and equity.

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