South Africa: Steinhoff's Future Remains Bleak After 2017 Results Highlight Scale of Its Losses

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Scandal-plagued South African retailer Steinhoff published its long-delayed 2017 results at the witching hour on Tuesday night. The hocus-pocus that triggered the biggest corporate accounting rip-off in SA history seems to be a thing of the past. But if the group hopes to be a viable entity in the future, it may have to rely on magic.

If your company was mired in scandal on such a scale that it was scheduled to publish 2017 results on Tuesday 7 May 2019, you might make an effort to get them out at a civilised hour.

Inexplicably, Steinhoff could not even get that routine task right. Late on Tuesday, it told the market that it still "aimed" to get its results out that evening -- giving the distinct impression that it was still scrambling to make sense of the mess that has wiped about 95% off its share price since December 2017.

That was when auditors from Deloitte announced they could not sign off the accounts because the books had been cooked more thoroughly than a potjiekos. That sparked the resignation of former CEO Markus Jooste and a forensic probe by PwC, which uncovered a scheme whereby inter-company dealings were masked as...

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