Embattled Steinhoff set to appoint new external auditors to replace Deloitte
DURBAN – Embattled retailer Steinhoff International is set to appoint Mazars Accountants as its new external auditors after the completion of its extraordinary general meeting to be held in Amsterdam next month to replace Deloitte. The resolution to appoint Mazars is the only item on the agenda for the extraordinary meeting.
The group said the proposed resolution by the supervisory board to appoint the audit firm for the year to end September 2019 would require a simple majority of more than 50 percent of votes cast to be passed. Steinhoff initially informed its shareholders at the end of August that Mazars has accepted an offer to replace Deloitte as the auditors during the group’s annual general meeting held in Amsterdam.
The outgoing auditors, Deloitte, were thrust into the spotlight after they refused to sign off the embattled retailer’s financial results before the December 2017 accounting scandal that shocked the markets and led to a more than 90 percent decline in the share price and wiping off more than R200 billion in market capitalisation.
Steinhoff said on Tuesday that, in its statutory audit firm tender and selection process, the audit and risk committee of the supervisory board invited representatives of Dutch audit firms that were allowed to perform statutory audits of annual accounts of local companies whose securities were admitted to trading on a regulated market. It said other requirements were that the securities had to be eligible and willing to participate in the tender and selection process.
“As part of the tender and selection process, the audit and risk committee evaluated the responses submitted and interviewed the respondents. The audit and risk committee subsequently concluded that the company has, or recently has had, as the case may be, formal engagements with all of the audit firms who were willing to participate in the tender and selection process except one, being Mazars Accountants,” the group said.
After the engagements the audit and risk committee recommended to the supervisory board to nominate Mazars Accountants as the company’s statutory audit firm as they have no material formal relationship with the company and can act independently.
“In addition, the audit and risk committee considers Mazars Accountants to have the appropriate expertise and resources available to enable them to provide the audit services required,” the group said. Steinhoff said the Mazars audit team will work closely with their colleagues in the UK, South Africa and France.
Steinhoff shares gained 7.14 percent on the JSE on Tuesday to close at R1.05.