File image: IOL.
CAPE TOWN – Shares in Steinhoff International, the troubled retail giant, made slight gains on the JSE yesterday as it continued to divest assets, with its stake in the transport business, Unitrans, the latest disposal.

Steinhoff closed 1.65percent higher at R1.85 a share yesterday after saying it would exit its 74.9percent stake in Unitrans, the Cape Town headquartered supply chain company, and the 100percent of the loan claims against Unitrans held by Steinhoff Africa.

The announcement comes a day after Steinhoff announced that it had raised R4.8billion by selling its remaining 26percent stake in KAP Holdings, which sent KAP shares tumbling nearly 10percent in early trade on the JSE on Wednesday.

Unitrans is being sold to French distribution company CFAO, part of Japanese conglomerate Toyota Tsusho, Steinhoff said. The financial details were not disclosed.

The company said key terms of the transaction had been approved by its board of directors, directors of multinational automotive company CFAO Group and the Toyota Tsusho Group, while legal agreements were yet to be negotiated.

“Following a strategic review of its operations Steinhoff resolved to dispose of some of its non-core assets, including its shareholding in KAP Industrial Holdings and Unitrans, which has very different business characteristics and growth drivers from the rest of Steinhoff’s retail portfolio,” the company said.

It said negotiations for the disposal of Unitrans, one of the country’s largest automotive dealer networks, had commenced in 2018. Unitrans operates 99 dealerships countrywide, a trucking division which represents Isuzu, Hino, MAN and Fuso, as well as the Hertz car rental franchise in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe. Unitrans recorded revenue of R23.43bn in the financial year ended September 30, 2018.

Steinhoff, which is at the centre of South Africa’s biggest corporate scandal, also said it planned to dispose of its remaining 25.1percent interest in Unitrans at a later date, as part of a broad-based black economic empowerment transaction.

Meanwhile, the Financial Sector Conduct Authority (FSCA) met with Steinhoff representatives who had agreed, without “waiving the confidentiality and privilege in the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) forensic report”, to furnish all relevant documents to enable the regulator to investigate alleged transgressions of Sections 78, 80 and 81 of the Financial Markets Act, it said.

Steinhoff was summoned to provide the FSCA with the full report it had received from audit firm PwC on the fraud and corruption that led to the company’s shares going into a downward spiral a year and a half ago.