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Steinhoff legal claims grow as German mass investor case opened

The retailer has called for potential claimants to come forward.

Steinhoff International’s legal woes deepened as a Frankfurt court received 10 suits to be included in a mass German investor case against the embattled global retailer.

That’s on top of 6.2 billion euros ($6.9 billion) of claims highlighted by Steinhoff in its annual report earlier this month. The owner of Conforama in France and Mattress Firm in the US has called for potential claimants to come forward, seemingly opening the door for negotiated settlements with those who lost money from the company’s late 2017 share-price crash.

The stock fell as much as 8.9% in Frankfurt on Thursday and is down about 98% since Steinhoff first reported accounting irregularities in December 2017.

Read: Retailer’s ability to operate as a going concern under threat.

Steinhoff has said legal action threatens its ability to continue operating as a going concern, even after the retailer concludes a protracted debt-restructuring deal with creditors. The company has cut the value of its assets by 15.3 billion euros and may have to dispose of more parts of the business to raise funds.

The suits in the Frankfurt Regional Court ruling will now be sent to an appeals court, which will appoint a lead plaintiff in the case.

© 2019 Bloomberg L.P
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