THE STRUGGLING group ‘is surviving with its doors still open’.     Supplied
THE STRUGGLING group ‘is surviving with its doors still open’. Supplied
THE STRUGGLING group ‘is surviving with its doors still open’.     Supplied
THE STRUGGLING group ‘is surviving with its doors still open’. Supplied
Steinhoff International rose more than 14 percent on the JSE on Friday after the troubled retailer reduced its losses for the six months to the end of March.

During the period, Steinhoff reported a loss of e356 million (R5.58 billion) from continuing operations, down from e392m compared with last year.

However, the overall loss for both continuing operations and discounting operations amounted to e571m, also declining compared with last year’s loss of e609m.

In the restated financial results for the two years to the end of September 2017 and 2018, the group reported losses of e3.99bn and e1.19bn respectively for a total loss of e5.18bn for both years.

The losses were accumulated after the group admitted to accounting irregularities in December 2017, leading to a decline of more than 90 percent in the group’s share price.

However, the stock rallied after the results presentation, with the share price climbing to its highest level in more than two weeks to R1.46 a share, up from Thursday’s closing price of R1.27, closing the day at R1.44.

Despite the improvement in its latest results, the group is still faced with a debt burden, with a combined debt of e7.9bn for its European businesses.

Steinhoff has been engaging in a substantial and complex debt restructuring process since December 2017 through company voluntary arrangements (CVAs) for both Steinhoff Europe AG (Seag) and Steinhoff Finance Holding GmbH (SFHG), with its creditors to allow the group time to complete its financial restructuring.

“The principal amount of external European debt instruments under both the CVAs is approximately e7.9bn, being approximately e5.2bn of external Seag debt and approximately e2.7bn of external SFHG debt,” the group said.

In the results, revenue increased by 3 percent to e6.86bn, up from e6.67bn, with strong contributions from Pepkor Europe, which was up by 13 percent while Pepkor Africa increased sales by 2 percent.

Basic and diluted loss a share from continuing operations also improved to 9.7euro cents a share, down from 10.1euro cents compared to last year.

Segmental earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation, from continuing operations increased by 71 percent to e393m, up from e230m compared with last year.

Steinhoff said it continued to address its difficulties after the accounting scandal, which led to the hasty resignation of former chief executive Markus Jooste.

“We remain on a journey to address past deficiencies, to restore trust in the group and to build a recovery in value for our stakeholders,” Steinhoff said.

“While every effort is made to limit costs, we expect this to remain our reality for some time. We are also clear that, at the operating company level, the group retains significant strengths as a well-diversified global retail business with a number of strong local brands and leading positions in attractive growth markets,” the group said.

“Profits are up, turnover is up, they’ve still got the doors open, they’re still surviving and I suppose that’s good news,” FNB Wealth and Investments portfolio manager Wayne McCurrie said.

McCurrie also added that risk buyers were also pushing the volatile share price up.

“If you’re a trader, you go in there, the share goes up 20 percent, you’re out of there. So I don’t think anyone is buying this for the long term, they’re just buying it for the potential trade."

BUSINESS REPORT