Steinhoff. Picture: SUPPLIED
Steinhoff. Picture: SUPPLIED

Steinhoff says it is open to negotiated settlements with stakeholders who lodged claims against the embattled retailer after it uncovered “accounting irregularities” in late 2017.

In December 2017, the company said it had identified problems with its financial accounts and that its CEO at the time, Markus Jooste, had quit. That caused the group’s shares to plunge 63% in a single day, and the stock has not recovered.

Steinhoff now faces class-action lawsuits from shareholder groups, including from European shareholder association VEB.

PODCAST: Hear from the Steinhoff whistleblowers 

“The disclosure of accounting irregularities at Steinhoff has sparked a number of litigation and claims solutions initiatives with respect to the company and other parties,” the retailer said on Tuesday.

The company said it would defend against claims but “in principle” it “would always consider whether there may be alternative approaches to concluding claims, such as negotiated settlements”.

Steinhoff said it had asked that representatives of claimants identify their members and the size of their shareholdings.

“The company wishes to emphasise that the fact that such requests have been made does not mean that negotiated settlements will eventually be agreed or are imminent,” it said.

hedleyn@businesslive.co.za