In a surprise move at its annual general meeting held in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Steinhoff told shareholders it would replace Deloitte with Mazars. It said it planned to invite shareholders to an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) where they could put the appointment of Mazars to a vote. Dutch investor group VEB said the proposal had come as a shock to shareholders. It questioned why Mazars had been appointed and also asked for the names of companies that had been shortlisted.
“This is a surprise announcement, and we are disconcerted,” said VEB, which launched a lawsuit against Steinhoff last year after the share price declined by more than 95 percent following the admission to accounting irregularities in December 2017.
Steinhoff chairperson Heather Sonn said the move to appoint Mazars would be good for the company and would see it fulfilling its responsibility to its shareholders. “We have 42 days to give investors notice of an EGM, where investors have the right to vote to approve the Mazars nomination. Time is ticking, and we have to get the process moving,” said Sonn.
Steinhoff, the owner of Pepkor Europe and Pepkor Africa, said on Friday that it would not disclose the full contents of the forensic investigation by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) into fraud.