South Africa: PIC, Steinhoff Enter Into Settlement Agreement

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6 September 2021

The Public Investment Corporation, Steinhoff International Holdings N.V. (SIHNV) and Steinhoff International Holdings Proprietary Limited (SIHPL) -together referred to as Steinhoff - have entered into a settlement agreement to support the implementation of the Steinhoff global settlement.

In a statement, the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) said the proposed settlement forms part of the global settlement first announced by Steinhoff in 2019 and the ongoing, related settlement processes in the Netherlands (in respect of SIHNV) and South Africa (in respect of SIHPL).

"This settlement agreement is subject to court approval which has started in the Netherlands.

"The PIC, on behalf of its clients, owned 8.56% of Steinhoff shares (as at 31 August 2021), which was acquired over time," reads the statement on Monday.

In 2018, the PIC joined a group of approximately 40 institutional investors who brought damages claims against SIHNV before the Dutch court. A process of mediation ensued thereafter.

The PIC said it believes the proposed settlement was in the best interests of its clients, given the alternative cost of protracted litigation and related uncertainties, and the prospect of further diminishing share value.

"It attempts to provide certainty and will allow Steinhoff the opportunity to recover as a company, to continue trading as a going concern and to avoid further job losses.

"Details of the proposed settlement agreement can only be disclosed once due legal process has been concluded," said the corporation.

The settlement agreement does not preclude the PIC from pursuing further litigation against former Steinhoff directors and employees, if found responsible for the accounting irregularities and ultimate destruction of value at Steinhoff. The PIC will continue to cooperate fully and assist law enforcement agencies in respect of any criminal proceedings.

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