Steinhoff investors to extend suspension of lawsuit

Giving the embattled retailer more breathing room to focus on its stabilisation.

Embattled retailer Steinhoff International said on Tuesday that investors who were suing the company in the Netherlands have agreed to extend the suspension of litigation by six weeks.

The decision by European shareholder association VEB to extend the suspension of its lawsuit until May 15, gives Steinhoff some breathing room to focus on its stabilisation efforts.

“After the suspension, VEB/European Investors and Steinhoff are both free to continue the legal proceedings or to reach a settlement for affected shareholders through negotiations,’’ the company said in a statement.

VEB/European Investors, as a collective representative, has sued Steinhoff in the Dutch court for certain financial statements, prospectuses and press releases, which according to VEB are incorrect and misleading. This was after Steinhoff admitted to accounting irregularities and fraud in December 2017, wiping about 85 percent off its market value and recording losses for investors.

VEB wants compensation for losses incurred by the retailer’s shareholders.

In March, the overview of PwC’s forensic investigation into Steinhoff revealed that an estimated €6.5 billion worth of fictitious transactions between 2009 and 2017 had inflated the group’s profits and asset value.

‘’The suspension will grant Steinhoff time to continue the ongoing restructuring of its business, make further progress with the internal investigations and finalise its 2017 and 2018 financial statements.’’