South Africa: Steinhoff and Tongaat Hulett Fraudsters Firmly in Financial Sector Conduct Authority's Sights

(file photo).

As new management teams at Steinhoff and Tongaat slowly but steadily repair the damage done to these companies, the law may yet catch up with the perpetrators.

Steinhoff International has announced the sale of Conforama France for a "nominal" sum, as well as the sale of 18 real estate properties currently occupied by the business for about €70-million.

This "nominal" sum will be a far cry from the R11-billion spent on the French retailer in 2011, a deal that kickstarted a breathtaking six-year acquisition spree.

Just how ill-judged the acquisitions were was covered up by management in an elaborate R100-billion fraud that spanned four continents and came crashing down in December 2017.

Since then a new management team, backed by the Supervisory Board, has been trying to restore the company to some semblance of stability.

This sale, the 15th in as many months, will be welcomed by shareholders and creditors as management tries to shore up the woeful balance sheet.

The most recent report, for the 12 months to March 2020, puts total assets at €14.6-billion, total debt at €9.24-billion and legal claims at €10-billion.

Shareholders also cheered at the news last week that Steinhoff management is close to reaching...

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