20 March 2019

South Africa: Steinhoff's Share Bounce Fizzles Out

After gaining 10% earlier in the week, shares in Steinhoff International Holdings [JSE:SNH] have returned to where they were trading before the multinational retailer released an overview of the PwC forensic report into its books.

The Stellenbosch-headquartered household goods and furniture conglomerate published an 11-page overview of a long-awaited forensic on Friday after the close of markets.

The group's shares shot up by 10% in early trade on Monday morning when markets opened, but have been trending downwards since then.

By the end of Wednesday, Steinhoff shares were trading at R1.83, marginally below their Monday opening value of R1.84.

The overview of the forensic investigation stated that "small group" of former Steinhoff executives, working with executives at other companies, inflated the profit and asset values of the group for years.

Steinhoff has said the full 15 000-page PwC report is legally privileged and confidential.

On Tuesday Steinhoff executives presented an overview of the report to a joint sitting of four Parliamentary committees, at a meeting that also included presentations by the JSE, the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission, the Hawks and the National Prosecuting Authority.

The committee instructed Steinhoff CEO Louis du Preez to name the people implicated in the report. Their names had not been given in the 11-page overview, or documents submitted for the meeting.

Du Preez said the "small group" of executives mentioned in the PwC report are: Markus Jooste; Dirk Schreiber; Ben la Grange and Stehan Grobler.

He named the other non Steinhoff executives as Siegmar Schmidt; Alan Evans; Jean-Noel Pasquier and "Mr Ramano".

Asked on Tuesday who has access to the full PwC report, Du Preez said he was the only person at Steinhoff to have a physical copy of it. Other people at the company have electronic copies that "cannot be printed".

Deloitte - the group's auditors - Werksmans Attorneys and PwC also have copies.

Yunus Carrim, the chair of Parliament's standing committee on finance, meanwhile, said that the Hawks and NPA must report back to the four committee chairpersons every Friday on the progress of their investigations until May, when the current term of Parliament ends.

Source: <b>Fin24</b>

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