Steinhoff quits Hungary Retailer in latest disposal
CAPE TOWN - Steinhoff International Holdings NV sold out of Hungarian electronics retailer Extreme Digital after its partners moved to cut ties with the South African company embroiled in an accounting scandal.
Hungary’s Competition Authority approved the disposal of a 50.4 percent shareholding to the company’s two founders for an undisclosed sum, Extreme Digital said in a statement Wednesday. Steinhoff bought the controlling stake in 2015 as part of an aggressive expansion through Europe, the U.S. and Australia. Separately on Wednesday, Steinhoff agreed with former business partner Andreas Seifert him to sell half of German furniture company POCO after a court hearing in Dortmund.
While not initiated by Steinhoff, the exits mark the latest disposals by the embattled retailer as it works to shore up its balance sheet and appease creditors. Shares in the owner of Conforama in France and Mattress Firm in the U.S. have plunged 95% since the company reported a hole in its accounts in December, and an investigation into the financial wrongdoing is ongoing.
The stock declined 0.2% as of 12:53 p.m. in Frankfurt, where Steinhoff moved its primary listing from Johannesburg in 2015.
Steinhoff’s earlier disposals include the sale of shares in its spun-off African operation, South Africa’s KAP Industrial Holdings Ltd. and investment holdings company PSG Group Ltd. In Europe, it’s sold a 17% stake in French online retailer Showroomprive and a flagship store in Vienna.
The Hungary deal was first reported by Forbes. A spokeswoman for Steinhoff didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
- BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE