Another earnings delay as Steinhoff’s auditing problems deepen

By Janice Kew

(Bloomberg) – Steinhoff International Holdings NV pushed back the dates for the publication of audited earnings for 2017 and 2018 after the findings of a forensic probe by PwC made the process more time consuming and complex.

The South African retailer, which almost collapsed amid an accounting scandal in late 2017, is working toward ensuring that all appropriate adjustments are made to valuations and profitability at various subsidiaries, the company said in a statement on Friday. That has slowed down the process considerably.

“We sincerely regret this further delay,” Chief Financial Officer Philip Dieperink said in the statement. “While substantial progress has been made, the volume and complexity of the accounting and audit work required to address the numerous transactions identified in the PwC report” have significantly increased the workload.

Steinhoff last month said PwC found that a small group of former executives – with the help of some outsiders – structured dubious deals that substantially inflated earnings and asset values. The owner of Conforama in France and Mattress Firm in the US has been battling to stay afloat, with asset sales and a debt restructuring at the forefront of its survival plan.

Full-year results for the year through September 2017 are now due to be published in May 7, while the following year’s financials will be released on June 18.