CAPE TOWN – Shareholders in Steinhoff International can breathe a sigh of relief after the embattled retailer was ordered to pay a reduced fine of R53 million by the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) for accounting regularities at the company in December 2017.
By 1pm on the JSE, the share price was up by 1.89 percent to R1.08 on the JSE as the market welcomed the reprieve.
The company on Thursday was slapped with a record R1.5 billion fine, but due to mitigating factors and the "financial reality of the group" granted the company a reprieve from paying the full amount.
"Noting Steinhoff’s current financial position; to avoid penalising innocent Steinhoff shareholders further; in recognition of the fraud perpetrated on the Steinhoff Group by former employees and officers of the company; and in acknowledgement of the co-operation of management to date and Steinhoff’s commitment to continue co-operating fully with the FSCA in all future actions taken against any persons allegedly responsible for the wrongdoing, the FSCA has resolved, under Section 173 of the Financial Regulation Act No. 9 of 2017, to remit a portion of the administrative penalty resulting in Steinhoff paying a penalty of R53m," it said.
The FSCA said that events subsequent to December 2017 had highlighted the gap that existed between the Steinhoff Group’s prior public statements and the financial reality. The size of the headline penalty reflects the scale and severity of the regulatory breach. While, in light of Steinhoff’s current financial position, we have made the decision to remit a substantial proportion of the penalty, even after this reduction it remains the largest single fine ever imposed by the FSCA." The FSCA thanked the current Steinhoff management team for their co-operation and constructive engagement through "this difficult and complex process."