Steinhoff Casts Doubt on Future as Writedowns Hit $17 Billion

Steinhoff International Holdings NV is living on the edge. The global retailer at the center of South Africa’s biggest corporate scandal cut the value of its assets by 15.3 billion euros ($17 billion) because of accounting irregularities, Bloomberg News reported. The company also warned it won’t be able to keep going longer than 12 months unless its debt is reorganized and it skirts mounting lawsuits and possible regulatory fines. At risk is a business with 120,000 employees across chains including Mattress Firm in the U.S., Conforama in France, Poundland in the U.K. and European clothing retailer Pepco. “It’s hard to believe it’s so big,” Peter Armitage, the chief executive officer of brokerage and money manager Anchor Group Ltd., said in reference to the magnitude of the writedowns. The impact is “staggering” and “sadly, in my opinion, there is no value left.” The Stellenbosch, South Africa-based company released its 2017 annual report minutes before a self-imposed deadline on Tuesday. Read more