Steinhoff claimants may have to wait 3 more months for court to hear R25bn sanction bid

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Claimants who lost out in Steinhoff's share price fall may have to wait until late January next year to hear if a court will approve a R25 billion settlement proposal.
Claimants who lost out in Steinhoff's share price fall may have to wait until late January next year to hear if a court will approve a R25 billion settlement proposal.
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The Western Cape High Court is expected to only hear an application by retailer Steinhoff to approve its €1.4 billion (~R25 billion) settlement plan in January next year.

Steinhoff had asked the court in early September to sanction its proposal after it was overwhelmingly backed by all claimant classes in a series of votes.

Under the terms of the settlement, the retailer will pay out billions of rands to litigants for the financial damage they suffered from the dramatic drop in its share price in late 2017. In return, litigants would drop all current and future legal challenges against the retailer. The group has said it may need to be liquidated if the settlement proposal falls through. 

While voting ended in early September, courts in South African and the Netherlands need to approve the proposal before it becomes binding.

A Dutch court already sanctioned the proceedings in late September, according to Steinhoff. 

But the Western Cape High Court will only hear the retailer's sanction bid between 24 and 28 January next year, Steinhoff said in an update to shareholders on Thursday. 

Steinhoff had hoped for an earlier hearing. Its CEO Louis du Preez previously said it was time to to bring the "interminable" legal challenges the retailer has been facing to an end.

Meanwhile, a separate bid to liquidate the retailer is expected to continue in the Western Cape High Court later this month. The winding-up application is being brought by the former owners of shoe retailer Tekkie Town, who say Steinhoff's former CEO Markus Jooste "duped" them into selling their business.

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