Steinhoff delays results as PwC investigation drags on

By Janice Kew

(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.

The headquarters of Steinhoff International Holdings NV stand in Stellenbosch. Photographer: Waldo Swiegers/Bloomberg
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 jeopardised.”
  • 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% to R1.40 shortly after the market opened in Johannesburg Thursday. The stock has slumped 97% since Steinhoff’s announcement a year ago that it had uncovered accounting irregularities and its CEO had resigned.