Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL
Picture: FINANCIAL MAIL

Fund managers rushed to reassure investors at the weekend and on Monday that their funds were not unduly hit by exposure to Steinhoff, scrambling to justify why they had held the stock, which has seemingly gone from market darling to investment pariah in just a week.

Nedgroup Investments, which has sold down Steinhoff in a number of its funds, said these positions were held "following significant fundamental research into the company over many years" by a number of investment professionals. It urged investors to exercise patience when following a long-term investment approach.

Investec Asset Management said it had been a Steinhoff shareholder across many of its strategies for many years. "At all times, our investment views were driven by rigorous fundamental analysis based on existing information available, as well as regular interaction with management," it said.

"While we do believe a realistic downside scenario
still indicates value, there is currently insufficient information available to make any definitive decisions."

Steinhoff’s market value was all but reduced to zero last week when it delayed the release of its full-year financial results on "accounting irregularities" that saw long-time CEO Markus Jooste resign.

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