Embattled retailer Steinhoff International has sold Blue Group, owner of Bensons for Beds and Harveys Furniture, to Alteri Investors. Supplied
DURBAN - Embattled retailer Steinhoff International has sold Blue Group, owner of Bensons for Beds and Harveys Furniture, to Alteri Investors for an undisclosed amount. 

Alteri Investors is set to acquire Bensons for Beds, Harveys Furniture and associated group of manufacturing companies. 

Steinhoff has been grappling to pay down the debt caused by the December 2017 accounting scandal, worth an estimated $7billion (R103bn), which led to a more than 95percent decline in its share price. 

The acquisition will be the first deal from Alteri Investors’ second fund, launched in August 2019. Alteri Investors founder and chief executive Gavin George said on Friday that this was exactly the type of investment opportunity its second fund was launched to find - trusted retail brands with strong management and the potential for profitable growth. “We are really excited to support Mark (Jackson) and the team on a successful turnaround of the business and are confident that our operational capabilities, alongside the injection of fresh capital, can help to build a market-leading, vertically integrated business with a strong omni channel presence,” George said. 

The new owners are expected to back management to return the group to profitability. Harveys and Bensons for Beds, which have been owned by Steinhoff since 2005, trade from 269 stores. The group, which also has four manufacturing sites, as well as five distribution centres in the UK, has an annual turnover of over £500million (R9.48billion). Bensons for Beds has an almost 70-year heritage and is the largest bed retailer in the UK by store number and the third-largest by revenue.  

Steinhoff Group chief executive Louis du Preez said the sale of Blue Group was the latest in a series of planned divestments by Steinhoff as it continues with its announced strategy of simplifying the group’s portfolio and deleveraging its balance sheet. “We have enjoyed a long association with the Blue Group. The acquisition is still subject to regulatory approval and Alteri Investors is an operationally-driven, specialist investor, focused exclusively on the European retail sector," Du Preez said.

BUSINESS REPORT