Steinhoff is well on its way to settling hundreds of investor claims, which will free the company to focus on vital operational issues. But the Tekkie Town liquidation hearing remains a risk that has spooked investors.
Over the past year, the Steinhoff share price has risen by more than 250%, from 8c a share to R3.05 as the supervisory board makes headway in resolving the many legacy issues that dog the company, not least of which is net debt worth R165-billion and R135-billion worth of investor claims.
In recent weeks the Supervision Board, supported by CEO Louis du Preez, has come closer to reaching a settlement with the many groups of shareholders that were left holding worthless paper when the share collapsed in December 2017, after it emerged that there may be a hole in the accounts.
A subsequent investigation carried out by PwC confirmed that the firm recorded fictitious or irregular transactions totalling €6.5-billion over a period spanning the 2009 and 2017 financial years. This opened the floodgates to litigation as shareholders argued that they had invested in the company — or sold their businesses into the company — based on fictitious accounts.
The board, supported by a small…