Steinhoff’s board survived a bruising annual meeting in Amsterdam on Friday though a protest vote against two directors by the Public Investment Corporation (PIC) nearly torpedoed its plan to put a "restructuring plan" to lenders in May.

The meeting, the first since revelations of widespread fraud in December caused the share price to plunge 94%, was seen as a pivotal test of whether the board still had the confidence of investors. It came after chairwoman Heather Sonn held weeks of meetings with the company’s largest investors to maintain their support.

Yet the vote for some resolutions was still close — far closer than at most AGMs.

Steve Booysen, the former CEO of Absa who is now chairman of Steinhoff’s audit and risk committee, received only 56% approval, while Angela Kruger-Steinhoff, daughter of founder Bruno Steinhoff, got only 59.3%. Sonn herself saw 19.9% of investors vote against her.

It is understood that the PIC, which owns 8.4% of Steinhoff, supported Sonn, but voted against Booysen and Kruger-Steinhoff.

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