Steinhoff grounded as it battles to boost liquidity

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Steinhoff grounded as it battles to boost liquidity

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Published Date: 2018-01-08 | Source: Stephen Gunnion | Author: Stephen Gunnion

Steinhoff grounded as it battles to boost liquidity

Bloomberg says the group's Gulfstream is up for sale as it scrambles to gather cash

Steinhoff needs cash - fast! The stricken retail giant said late Thursday that some of its businesses need significant liquidity in the short term as it announced measures to get it books back in order. Bloomberg reported on Friday that it was selling some of its assets to help boost its cash position, including a $25 million Gulfstream jet. Last month, it also sold part of its holding in investment group PSG to boost liquidity.

Chief financial officer Ben la Grange is also stepping down from his role to focus on "the preservation and procurement of liquidity in the group" as it tries to plug a €2.4-billion hold in its finances. He's been replaced by Philip Dieperink, CFO of Steinhoff UK, who has occupied various CFO positions since 2001 and will maintain his UK position as well. La Grange will also be responsible for the finalisation of the company's audited 2017 consolidated financial statements and comparative statements. Last week, it said that its 2015 accounts were no longer reliable and would have to be restated, along with its 2016 numbers. Steinhoff also plans to appoint an external debt restructuring expert to assist and has hired former Absa executive Johan Geldenhuys as head of its treasury.

In the meantime, the company says discussions with its lenders are continuing following meetings with its global banking partners in London on 19 December and its South African financiers on 21 December.

Related article: Steinhoff rises on hope of damage limitation

The group has been in turmoil since CEO Markus Jooste quit a month ago when the group was forced to postpone the release of its 2017 results after fresh evidence of accounting irregularities was discovered.

Steinhoff's shares closed 2.3% higher at R8.80 on Friday. They have recovered 89% this year after slumping 93% last year.



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