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Report: Steinhoff mulls sale of Pepco

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Report: Steinhoff mulls sale of Pepco

Steinhoff International Holdings NV is evaluating takeover interest in its businesses, including its clothing retailer Pepco, as the troubled South African retailer prepares for the next phase of its €9.6 billion debt restructuring plan. Bloomberg reported July 3, citing two people familiar with the matter.

The company reportedly had been made aware of potential buyers for Pepco, including private equity firms. Pepco, which operates over 1,300 stores in Poland, Romania and other Eastern Europe countries, recorded a 40% revenue increase in the half year through March, the report said.

Steinhoff acquired the unit as part of its purchase of a 92.34% stake in Pepkor Holdings Ltd. from entities, including former Steinhoff Chairman Christo Wiese, in 2015. Pepco and U.K.-based discount retailer Poundland, another Steinhoff unit, are now grouped together by the company as Pepkor Europe, Bloomberg said.

According to the report, a formal auction of Pepco could proceed if Steinhoff agrees to the debt restructuring deal with bondholders and other lenders. The company recently sought to extend the deadline for talks with its creditors to allow it more time to find an agreement.

Steinhoff Africa Retail Ltd., or STAR, which was spun off by Steinhoff before its accounting irregularities scandal came to light, reportedly also made an expression of interest for both Pepco and Poundland. The approach was rejected but STAR remains interested in the Steinhoff businesses, Bloomberg said.

STAR is in the process of changing its name back to Pepkor to distance itself from its parent.

The report comes less than two weeks after Steinhoff reached an agreement with SIGNA Holding GmbH to sell its Kika/Leiner property holding companies to the Austrian real estate investment firm.