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Steinhoff says court ruling delayed in dispute with former partner

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Steinhoff says court ruling delayed in dispute with former partner

Steinhoff International Holdings NV said Dec. 21 that a ruling had been delayed in a court case brought by a former joint venture partner that raised questions over its accounting.

The embattled furniture, household goods and general merchandise retailer, which operates more than 12,000 stores in the U.S., Europe and Africa, said in a statement that the Enterprise Chamber of the Amsterdam Court of Appeal will issue its decision no later than Jan. 22, 2018. Steinhoff, which is based in Stellenbosch, South Africa, and incorporated in the Netherlands, announced in November that a ruling was expected by Dec. 22.

A petition was filed against Steinhoff by OM Handels GmbH and MW Handels GmbH, which are owned by a former joint venture partner. The petition relates to Steinhoff's accounts of Sept. 30, 2016.

On Dec. 6, Steinhoff disclosed that it was hiring an independent auditor to probe possible accounting irregularities and that its CEO had resigned with immediate effect. At the same time, it postponed reporting its fiscal 2017 results.

The company, which owns the Sleepy's brand in the U.S., Poundland in the U.K. and Conforama in continental Europe, later said its accounts for the year ended Sept. 30, 2016, would need to be restated.

Steinhoff's share price has cratered more than 90% since the Dec. 6 disclosure, erasing almost €12 billion in market value. In midmorning trading in Frankfurt, its shares were down 3 cents to 28 cents.