Christo Wiese suing Steinhoff for R59bn
Companies in dollar billionaire and former Steinhoff chairperson Christo Wiese’s Titan Group are suing Steinhoff for R59-billion.
Titan Group served summons on Steinhoff International Holdings (Pty) Ltd‚ which is registered in South Africa‚ and Steinhoff International Holdings NV‚ which is registered in the Netherlands.
They claim an agreement they entered into with Steinhoff International Holdings (Pty) Limited in 2015 was cancelled. In line with the agreement‚ the Titan Group subscribed for shares in Steinhoff after it acquired Pepkor Limited.
“They now claim repayment of the subscription amount‚” a statement from the Titan Group issued on Thursday read.
The second claim is for the capital injection into Steinhoff in 2016 to meet its debt obligations when it bought Mattress Firm in the United States.
Wiese’s attorney said in a letter that accompanied the summons that Wiese believes Steinhoff should be restructured on “fair and equitable terms”.
Wiese added that the Steinhoff group owns “some excellent businesses”.
“In a restructured Steinhoff‚ these businesses have every potential of continuing to create value for all shareholders and claimants‚” he said.
Wiese said Titan is “prepared to hold further steps in abeyance by agreement if discussions with a reasonable prospect of success could be arranged forthwith”.
Wiese added that Titan wanted to ensure that Steinhoff remains a sustainable company.
“This would require inter alia a restructuring of its current debt. This prospect is based on the continued excellent performance of the STAR group (containing most of the original Pepkor businesses) of which Steinhoff is currently the controlling shareholder‚” he said. Wiese added: “Many of the other business in the Steinhoff group offer good prospects and I strongly believe every attempt possible should be made to restructure the group as expeditiously as possible.”
Steinhoff shares have slumped almost 95% since accounting irregularities emerged in December that wiped off more than R182-billion of its market value.
Wiese resigned as the Steinhoff board chairperson in December.