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Shareholders tell Steinhoff to go ahead with restructuring plans

The AGM, the first since the scandal broke just over four months ago, took place in Amsterdam in the Netherlands and was live-streamed to Cape Town.

Steinhoff's offices in Stellenbosch. Picture: Supplied

CAPE TOWN – Beleaguered global retailer Steinhoff International now has a mandate from shareholders to press ahead with restructuring plans to dig itself out of massive debt and ensure its many entities continue to operate.

Despite tough questions from shareholders and their representatives, shareholders on Friday backed the company’s rescue strategy and also voted in all the nominees put forward for its supervisory and management boards.

Directors told investors at its annual general meeting yesterday that while there’s been progress in easing the liquidity crisis triggered CEO Markus Jooste’s resignation amid an accounting scandal and the collapse of its share price, the company is not yet out of the woods.

The AGM, the first since the scandal broke just over four months ago, took place in Amsterdam in the Netherlands and was live-streamed to Cape Town.

No shareholder revolt, but lots of questions for Steinhoff directors and not was everyone happy with the answers.

Deon Botha, head of corporate affairs at the Public Investment Corporation, was in Cape Town for the live-stream:

“The information was useful that we got today but we’re worried about the process, it seems to be taking very long before the PwC process is concluded we won’t get audited financial statements, and it seems that will only be at the end of the year.”

The PIC invests assets on behalf of the government, including state employees’ pensions.

PwC’s massive probe into what went wrong has so far uncovered a pattern of transactions that indicate the books were cooked over a number of years. The audit firm is trawling through more than four million records and over 300 000 documents.

Gary Cundill is an ordinary South African whose pension savings shrank after Steinhoff’s share price collapsed:

“I thought it was a well-managed meeting, they disclosed as much as they can I think the issue is really going to be how quickly we get some information out of PwC.”

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