Steinhoff sells all of Conforama France to Mobilux for a nominal sum
DURBAN – Steinhoff International said on Wednesday that it had agreed to sell its 100 percent of the share capital and voting rights of Conforama France to Mobilux Sàrl (Mobilux) for a nominal sum to ease its financial woes.
Steinhoff said the disposal would secure the future of Conforama France, release the group from its liabilities in respect of that business and generate cash to reduce the current debt held by Conforama France.
The Conforama France disposal comes after the group reported a loss of €1.84 billion (R35.48bn) last week for the year to end September 2019 and a net debt of €9.6bn.
Steinhoff has been forced to sell some of its assets following the 2017 accounting scandal which led to more than 95 percent decline in its share price.
The retailer has already sold the Kika/Leiner business in Austria and stakes in listed companies like KAP Industrial Holdings and the PSG Group to raise liquidity.
The group said the disposal of Conforama France also included certain related trademarks and domain names to Mobilux, a parent company of BUT, a leading French retailer of furniture, appliances and consumer electronics.
Steinhoff said following the Covid-19 outbreak in early 2020, the position of Conforama France was uncertain and that the group had been unable to secure the state-guaranteed loan, for which it was eligible, to support the business through this difficult period.
“Following a thorough process, Steinhoff, through Conforama Holding, has agreed to dispose of its shares in Conforama France, and certain related trademarks and domain names, to Mobilux for a nominal sum,” the group said.
Steinhoff will also sell 18 real estate properties currently occupied by Conforama France for €70 million.
The troubled retailer acquired the Conforama Group in 2011 for €1.2bn and Conforama operates an extensive network across Europe, with more than 280 stores in France, Italy, Switzerland, Croatia and Serbia.
Steinhoff said Conforama France would receive new funding in two tranches as part of the transaction.
“After the date of signature, €150m of new funds, comprising a state-guaranteed loan of €100m and a financing of €50m by Mobilux.
"This new funding will enable Conforama France to finalise its restructuring project and support an ambitious post Covid-19 recovery plan, while honouring its commitments to suppliers and partners,” the group said.
Steinhoff said at the closing date, Conforama France would also benefit from a second state-guaranteed loan of €200m and a €200m capital increase subscribed by Mobilux, which included the €50m received at signature.
The group said the disposal was supported by its creditors, but it remained subject to other regulatory approvals. The transaction was expected to be finalised by the end of September.
Steinhoff shares closed 2.02 percent lower at R0.97 on the JSE on Wednesday.