Heather Sonn, chair of Steinhoff, wasn’t exactly gushing with optimism after the company’s meeting with more than 50 financiers at a hotel in Kensington, London, last Friday. Unlike thousands of others who celebrated after flocking to Heathrow to gawk at the royal wedding, Sonn’s team experienced a less than jubilant few days in the British capital. But then, the tourists didn’t owe €9.6bn in debt that they’re battling to service. "Look, it’s a tough time. There are different clusters of lenders with different requirements and different concerns. Proposals were made and there were some discussions, so now we have to see what we can come up with," Sonn says. Steinhoff’s brains trust will now meet, and probably come up with the final restructuring framework in the next two weeks that it hopes will appease everyone. But from the warts-and-all presentation given to its funders — of which more than half are hedge funds — it’s clear that deciding which assets to sell to stay afloat is no ...

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