File image: IOL.

JOHANNESBURG - Investment group VEB/European Investors and troubled global retailer Steinhoff have agreed to extend the suspension of the collective action between them in The Netherlands for a further six-weeks until 15 May, the latter said on Tuesday.

VEB/European Investors, as a collective representative, has sued Steinhoff in the Dutch court for certain financial statements, prospectuses and press releases, which according to VEB are incorrect and misleading.

The suspension will grant Steinhoff time to continue the ongoing restructuring of its business, make further progress with internal investigations and finalise its 2017 and 2018 financial statements in the aftermath of accounting irregularities which toppled former chief executive Markus Jooste.

After the suspension, VEB/European Investors and Steinhoff are both free to continue the legal proceedings or to reach a settlement for affected shareholders through negotiations.

VEB/European Investors said it had agreed to the extension because it further supports the stabilisation of the company, which is in the interest of both current and former shareholders of Steinhoff.

Last year Steinhoff asked investors for a three-year extension of most of its €9.6 billion of debt with no cash interest paid for the period in a bid to avoid insolvency proceedings.

Steinhoff shares were trading stable at R1.85 on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange on Tuesday.

- African News Agency (ANA)