Steinhoff was dealt a major blow when the Enterprise Chamber of the Amsterdam Court of Appeal ordered that it amend its 2016 financial statements to say it owned half, not all, of Poco. Photo: David Harrison

DURBAN – Troubled retailer Steinhoff International has agreed to sell its 50 percent stake in Poco furniture for €270.69 million (R4.65 billion) to Seifert Entities to settle a legal dispute. 

The group had initially agreed in principle on April 26 to sell to its former business partner Dr Andreas Seifert of the Seifert Entities. 

In February, Steinhoff was dealt a major blow when the Enterprise Chamber of the Amsterdam Court of Appeal ordered that it must amend its 2016 financial statements to say it owned only half, not all, of Poco, and that Seifert owned the other half. This was after Steinhoff’s 2016 accounts were prepared on the basis that the group owned 100 percent of Poco.

Now, almost six months after that ruling, the two parties have found a way forward to resolve the outstanding matter by agreeing on the sale of Poco.  

“The group’s subsidiary LiVest holds the group’s shares in Poco and has today entered into a sale agreement with the Seifert Entities by which the Seifert Entities will acquire LiVest’s shares in Poco and certain related properties for a total consideration of €270.69m. In addition, the Poco business will retain debt of approximately €140m, with no recourse to the group,” Steinhoff said in a statement yesterday. 

It added that the closing of the Poco sale was subject to typical conditions precedent, including German and Austrian competition and merger control provisions. 

“Closing of the Poco sale will bring the German litigation proceedings with the Seifert Entities to an end,” the group added. Steinhoff said the proceeds of the sale by LiVest of its 50 percent stake would be held in escrow pending the outcome of a dispute with the Pohlmann family, which founded the Poco business.

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- BUSINESS REPORT