Steinhoff. Picture: BLOOMBERG/DWAYNE SENIOR
Steinhoff. Picture: BLOOMBERG/DWAYNE SENIOR

Embattled retailer Steinhoff International has proposed settling some of the dozens of lawsuits against the group through payment in cash and Pepkor shares.

About 90 separate lawsuits have been filed against Steinhoff, with combined claims of more than R136bn, after the group uncovered a €6.5bn (about R120bn) hole in its accounts in 2017.

The group said on Monday that settlement would help cover as much as €266m of market-purchase claims, €104m of contractual-party claims and about R9.4bn of claims against Steinhoff International Holdings.

The settlements would be paid through cash and Pepkor shares, at a deemed price of R15 per share.

“The proposed settlement terms being announced today are the culmination of 12 months of intensive effort,” said CEO Louis du Preez. “Though there is no certainty yet that we will be able to conclude this settlement, in our view, these terms are firmly in the best interests of all stakeholders,” Du Preez said.

The group said if all claims were ultimately established in the amounts asserted, it is clear that the net asset value of the group would fall far short of the amount required to satisfy them in full, Steinhoff said.

“In such circumstances, liquidation proceedings would ensue which would, in the company’s view, materially impair the value of assets available for distribution and adversely affect the timing and amount of the claimants’ recoveries relative to the proposed settlement,” the statement read.

In afternoon trade on Monday, Steinhoff’s share was up 7.45% to R1.01, putting it on track for its best one-day performance in three weeks. The group’s share has lost about 98% of its value over the past three years.

Update: July 27 2020

This article has been updated with additional information.

gernetzkyk@businesslive.co.za

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