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Steinhoff considers further divestments to ensure stability

Steinhoff International Holdings NV is considering disposing more assets as the embattled retailer continues to seek stability, CEO Louis Du Preez said Aug. 13.

Du Preez disclosed the plan at Steinhoff's first presentation to investors since the company became engulfed in an accounting scandal in 2017.

"We believe the only way for Steinhoff to survive is for it to become a pure investment holding company with a footprint predominantly focused on retail and retail-related assets," he said.

Du Preez noted that the group's total debt stood at around €9 billion, as of March 31.

He added that the group is also carrying out a remediation plan, which will aim to ensure good governance, transparent reporting and cooperation with regulators and enforcement agencies.

For the six-month period ended March 31, Steinhoff posted a loss of €356 million from continuing operations, slightly lower than the €392 million loss recorded in the prior-year period.

In March, the company raised 4.8 billion South African rand from the sale of its 25.67% stake in its unit KAP Industrial Holdings Ltd. Steinhoff has raised about €316 million in new financing for the financial restructuring of its home furnishing unit Conforama Holding S.A. The company has also agreed to sell its 74.9% stake in auto retailer Unitrans Motors (Proprietary) Ltd.

Steinhoff, which has been restructuring its finances to fix its balance sheets, previously secured approval from creditors for the company voluntary arrangements it proposed for Steinhoff Europe AG and Steinhoff Finance Holding GmbH.