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Report: Steinhoff considers lowering stake in STAR unit

Steinhoff International Holdings NV is looking into selling a portion of its 77% stake, valued at $4.8 billion, in subsidiary Steinhoff Africa Retail Ltd., or STAR, Bloomberg News reported March 20, citing "two people familiar with the matter."

The sale, which would be done through an accelerated bookbuild, will need to be approved by South Africa's financial regulator but it can also be abandoned, the sources told the newswire.

Steinhoff is engulfed in an accounting scandal that led its shares to plunge more than 60% late last year. A company spokesperson reportedly told Bloomberg via email that the company is considering possible options related to its plans of refinancing or redeeming debt financing in its South African operations.

The move can bolster the home furnishing producer's liquidity, the report said, and add to the 3.67 billion South African rand it raised March 13 from the sale of about 17% of its stake in KAP Industrial Holdings Ltd. Steinhoff has also sold its shares in PSG Group Ltd. to raise money.

STAR, which was spun off in September 2017, has committed to refinancing its long-term liabilities to its parent, freeing up more funds for Steinhoff.

As of March 20, US$1 was equivalent to 11.97 South African rand.