Steinhoff Delays Earnings as Forensic Investigation Drags On

(Bloomberg) -- Steinhoff International Holdings NV’s efforts to allay investors’ fears and publish audited earnings by the end of the year were dashed after auditor PwC’s long-awaited probe into the retailer’s books was postponed until the end of February.

Key Insights

  • With about 100 people at PwC taking more than a year to investigate Steinhoff’s accounting irregularities, the probe promises deeper insight into what misconduct occurred and who was responsible.
  • Don’t expect the company to tell all - it’s been said that the overview of the PwC report that Steinhoff finally releases will make sure “the legally privileged nature of the report is not undermined and its position in the various pending legal and other proceedings is not jeopardized.”
  • Payment delays with bondholders and lenders have been negotiated and Steinhoff says these plans are not affected by the PwC extensions.

Market Reaction

  • The shares slumped 21 percent to 1.40 rand shortly after the market opened in Johannesburg Thursday. The stock has slumped 97 percent since Steinhoff’s announcement a year ago that it had uncovered accounting irregularities and its CEO had resigned.

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