CAPE TOWN - International retail holding company, Steinhoff has allegedly agreed to make their financials dating back as far as 2002, accessible to the Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) and the Public Servants Association (PSA).
This is according to deputy general managers of the PSA, Tahir Maepa who on Friday notified the media of Steinhoff’s latest decision.
A meeting transpired between Steinhoff’s attorneys and PSA general manager Ivan Fredericks and Fedusa general secretary Dennis George, along with their legal team.
The meeting was a held in order to thoroughly inspect the financial records before making a decision on laying criminal charges against the retail group.
"After some discussion with lawyers and some persuasion, they decided they would give us all the information, including financial records of Steinhoff dating back to at least 2002”, said Maepa.
"Obviously the process will take some time - they will probably put it in memory sticks because it is voluminous information”.
Their latest decision comes at the backdrop of their initial refusal to impart financial information to the unions, as they are not direct shareholders.
However, Maepa believes that the unions are entitled to the financial information in terms of the Companies Act.
Now that Steinhoff has agreed to hand over the information,there is no need to seek legal action from the courts.
On Markus Jooste, Maepa said that the police will have to “hunt him down” if the unions lay charges against him.
"All the billionaires - we are taking them on - all of them”, said Maepe.
In addition to the action against Jooste, Maepe said that the unions are calling for a boycott of the Sun Met next week.
“Because the SA racehorse association, including Sun International, refused our request that they must stop any of Markus Jooste’s horses participating in the event," said Maepe.
“Even though he has relinquished his colours, his horses are still running through associates and friends. We believe Sun International in particular cannot want to be associated with such an individual after what has happened”.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Steinhoff added yet another lender to its list of U.S lenders who are suffering multimillion-dollar burns on their dealings linked to the holdings group.
Fourth-quarter earnings were crimped by a R3.5 billion charge, the Charlotte, North Carolina-based company said Wednesday in a statement announcing results. The costs were incurred in two divisions: global markets and global banking.
The company reportedly got stung providing a margin loan that used Steinhoff’s stock as collateral. Shares of the embattled South African retailer lost about 90 percent of their value last month after it announced Dec. 5 that it had uncovered accounting irregularities.
Banks and other creditors had almost 18 billion euros (R238 million) of exposure to Steinhoff at the end of March. The company, criticized for being opaque about its finances, owns retail chains around the globe -- including Conforama in France, Poundland in the U.K. and Mattress Firm in the U.S., which encompasses stores formerly known as Sleepy’s.
JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Financial Officer Marianne Lake acknowledged last week that Steinhoff was the cause of a R1.7 billion mark-to-market loss in the bank’s stock-trading unit during the fourth quarter as well as R1.5 billion million of credit costs.
On Tuesday, Citigroup Inc. CFO John Gerspach refused to identify which client was behind a “single client event” that triggered a derivatives loss of R1.5 million in its equities-trading unit. He told journalists the same client issue was responsible for roughly 90 percent of its institutional clients group credit loss of R3.2 billion. That client was also Steinhoff, according to a person briefed on the results.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. will likely disclose a quarterly loss connected to Steinhoff when the bank reports results later Wednesday, people briefed on the firm’s financial results said last week.
- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE