Christo Wiese, the former chairman of Steinhoff ­Holdings. Picture: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg
JOHANNESBURG - Steinhoff's share price dropped more than 34% to R4.62, its lowest level on the JSE in 17 years, despite attempts by the retail giant to arrest the two-week slide in its shares. 

Steinhoff senior executives met its major lenders on Tuesday, seeking to convince the bankers that it was still a viable company in which to invest. 

The group presented a document putting its total debt at 10.7 billion (R161bn), but admitted it could not provide details on the magnitude of the accounting irregularities that have dogged the company since it failed to release its financial results two weeks ago. 

The group has debt of 8.5bn in Europe; debt of 1.99m, including redeemable preference shares, in South Africa; and debt of 169m in the US. 

The accounting irregularities, which date back to December, led to the sudden resignation of the long-serving chief executive, Markus Jooste, and has wiped off about R190bn of the group’s market capitalisation, which dropped by more than 85% in two weeks. 

Despite this, the group said during the presentation that it was still a viable business and was a market leader in most of its categories.