THE FORMER chief executive of Steinhoff, Markus Jooste. Reuters
DURBAN – Troubled retailer Steinhoff International’s woes continue to pile up as one of the creditors, LSW, is challenging the company's financial restructuring plans. Steinhoff said on Friday that its subsidiary Steinhoff Europe (Seag) had on Friday been notified of an application issued by LSW, a company claiming to be a creditor of Seag, challenging the company voluntary arrangement (CVA) proposed in relation to Seag announced on December 14.

As a result of this challenge, Steinhoff said, and in accordance with the terms of the Seag CVA, implementation of the Seag CVA would not occur until the challenge to the Seag CVA had been resolved.

The company's voluntary arrangement entails giving Steinhoff an opportunity to restructure its three series of equity-linked bonds due in 2021, 2022 and 2023 into new secured loans.

“Under the terms of the company voluntary arrangement proposed in relation to Steinhoff Finance Holding GmbH (SFHG CVA) announced on December 14, 2018, implementation of the SFHG CVA will likewise not occur until the challenge to the Seag CVA has been resolved,” Steinhoff said.

The group added that the relevant terms of the Seag CVA and the SFHG CVA, including the interim moratoria, continued to apply.

“The company continues to work towards the implementation of the financial restructuring of the group and management continues to support and focus on the ongoing operations,” the group said.

Steinhoff was plunged into financial crisis in December 2017 when it admitted to accounting irregularities which led to a 95percent decline in its share price. It also shed more than R200billion in market capitalisation with former chief executive Markus Jooste resigning from his post.

The group is yet to release its financial results for 2017 and 2018. It informed the investors in December last year that the results would be released in mid-April 2019.

This happened after it missed an earlier deadline of December 2018 that it had set itself at the beginning of last year as PricewaterhouseCoopers continues with the independent forensic investigation.

The group's share price was not negatively impacted by the latest reports, although it was flat at R1.69 a share on the JSE during most of Friday.

The group resorted to its creditors in an attempt to seek extension for the payment of its debt last year.

In August last year Steinhoff International property portfolio, Hemisphere International Properties, also announced that 100percent in value of the third-party creditors under Hemisphere’s 750million (R11.86billion) revolving credit facility have now entered into the Hemisphere lock-up agreement. Under the lock-up agreement, Steinhoff was seeking a three-year extension to payments due to lenders and bondholders.

The deal struck with the lenders might just provide the company with a breathing space and solve some liquidity crisis as it restructures its balance sheet.

Steinhoff shares rose 0.59percent to close at R1.70 on Friday.