Crisis-hit Steinhoff’s quarterly sales up 3%

A strong performance at Pepkor compensated for weak results in France, the US and Asia Pacific.
The business is still however suffering from the effects of an accounting fraud dating back to 2017. Picture: Waldo Swiegers, Bloomberg

South African retailer Steinhoff reported a slight rise in quarterly sales on Thursday and said its business was still suffering from the effects of an accounting fraud.

Steinhoff was thrown a lifeline last July when its creditors agreed to delay debt claims for three years after the multinational retailer revealed a more than $12 billion hole in its accounts.

The owner of the Mattress Firm chain in the US and Conforama outlets in France said sales rose 3% to 4.7 billion euros ($5.4 billion) in the three months to December, with a strong performance at separately listed Africa unit Pepkor compensating for weak results in France, the United States and Asia Pacific.

“The liquidity constraints and loss of confidence resulting from the discovery of the alleged accounting irregularities continued to have an impact on operations,” chief executive Louis du Preez said.

Steinhoff has already written down the value of its assets by more than $12 billion following the initial findings of an independent investigation into the company’s past bookkeeping practices.

The full findings of the forensic investigation, being carried out by accounting firm PwC, would be delivered to the board in mid-March before being made public in the middle of the following month.

Shares in Steinhoff fell 3.7% to R2.08 as of 0947 GMT, valuing the company at around R9 billion, down from more than R200 billion 15 months ago.

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As mentioned, “A strong performance at Pepkor compensated for weak results in France, the US and Asia Pacific”.

The concern remains that the CEO of Pepkor is an “issue” which will need to be confronted and addressed rather sooner than later as reputational damage to Pepkor.

The individual has pending criminal charges against himself refers ex founders of Tekkie Town legal matters. This brings into question if the individual is “fit to remain in office”.

The poor share price has nothing to do with the performance of the businesses but largely due to the panicking behaviour of shareholders. They have destroyed the share value but the businesses are making money…. How stupid can the shareholders act at times. The current leadership tried all they could in restoring shareholder confidence but to no avail. Christo Wiese is losing big time because his wealth is married to the share price. Institutional investors including pension funds are bleeding because of a panic ploy played by Viceroy…

“The great share price has nothing to do with the performance of the businesses but largely due to the irrational behaviour of shareholders.”

My concern is that Heather Sonn is listed as a independent non exec of Pepkor and she is also on the board of Steinhoff – surely this is a conflict of interests par excellence

Weak results at Mattress Firm? Awful reporting. There was c. 23% store closures in the period. Of course revenue will decline!

Same Store Sales actually up 3.6%. Just bought some more. Was skeptical, but the trend is slowly changing and this share could easily reach ZAR6.00 by year-end.

I optimistically predict R25 – R30…
Viceroy did a good job to correct the hype, but Steinhoff’s businesses have shown the will to turn around… People have lost money and performance is showing hope or else creditors, who know more than investors would not have given them a lifeline.

End of comments.

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