Unions barred from Steinhoff AGM, picket outside CTICC

Lawrence Kim
April 21, 2018

Steinhoff, which runs chains such as Britain's Poundland, Mattress Firm in the US and Conforama in France, is fighting for its survival after discovering holes in its accounts.

Once one of the largest firms on the JSE, Steinhoff risks falling out of the top 100 companies on the local bourse by valuation if its share price declines any further.

Liquidity has been assured for now after €750 million was raised, partly through asset sales, though Ms Sonn said this strategy is not sustainable and debt needs to be restructured.

An investigation into the scandal is making "good progress", the acting chairman told investors, and is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

The AGM was held at the Sheraton Amsterdam Airport Hotel and Conference Centre in the Netherlands, but it was live-streamed at the Cape Town International Convention Centre, where the group picketed.

The Public Servants Association (PSA) and the Federation of Unions of South Africa say they represent workers whose pension funds lost billions of rand when Steinhoff's shares crashed more than 90% in December.

South Africa's Public Investment Corporation, which manages around 1 trillion rand in government employee pensions and was Steinhoff's second-largest shareholder, said it was anxious about the time it would take to complete the investigation. Jooste was an instrumental figure in the company's rapid growth into a multinational vying with the likes of IKEA. Steinhoff has since said it will have to restate financials going back to 2015, while ex-CEO Markus Jooste has been referred to an anti-corruption police unit. "Some stayed. We are happy some stayed in the burning building to help".

We want the public to be aware of the importance of corporate governance.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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