Steinhoff International Shareholder Class Action
BarentsKrans, one of Europe’s leading mass litigation law firms, is commencing legal proceedings on behalf of aggrieved shareholders of Steinhoff International Holdings N.V. (Steinhoff). The claim will be funded by Claims Funding Europe, a joint venture between Maurice Blackburn Lawyers (Australia’s most successful plaintiff class action law firm) and the Singapore-based funding firm International Litigation Funding Partners.
In addition to being directed at Steinhoff, based on BarentsKrans’ current investigations there are also grounds for including as defendants in the case directors of Steinhoff and also Deloitte, which was responsible for auditing the financial statements of Steinhoff and its predecessor entity during the relevant period.
Steinhoff is the top holding company of the Steinhoff group, which is a global retailer. Steinhoff is incorporated under Dutch law and is listed on both the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (FSE) (primary listing) and the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) (secondary listing). Prior to the dual listing of Steinhoff on 7 December 2015, Steinhoff International Holdings Limited (SIHL) was the holding company of the Steinhoff group and was listed on the JSE. At the date of the dual listing, shares in SIHL were exchanged one for one with shares in Steinhoff.
In an announcement dated 5 December 2017, Steinhoff confirmed that its CEO had tendered his resignation with immediate effect and that information concerning ‘accounting irregularities requiring further investigation’ had come to the attention of the Supervisory Board. Read the announcement here.
In an announcement dated 6 December 2017, Steinhoff informed the market that the Supervisory Board had given further consideration “to the validity and recoverability of certain non-South African assets of the Company which amount to circa €6bn”. Subsequently, on 13 December 2017 Steinhoff announced that its 2016 accounts will need to be restated. Then on 2 January 2018 Steinhoff confirmed that the 2015 and 2016 accounts of SIHL will also need to be restated and that “the restatement of the financial statements of [SIHL] for years prior to 2015 is likely to be required”. Read the announcement here.
Following the announcement dated 5 December 2017 and subsequent announcements, the share price of Steinhoff plummeted. Shareholders who acquired the shares in Steinhoff (or its predecessor entity SIHL) on the JSE or FSE between 26 June 2013 and 6 December 2017 who wish to claim damages for their losses are encouraged to contact Martin Hyde or Luke Atkins at Claims Funding Europe.
The start date of the relevant period for the BarentsKrans claim is 26 June 2013. The directors of SIHL announced to the JSE on 26 June 2013 that agreements had been concluded for the acquisition of the kika-Leiner group. Based on its current investigations, the BarentsKrans case will claim that the information released to investors regarding the kika-Leiner transaction and also a number of other later transactions was misleading and incomplete and that the financial position of SIHL and Steinhoff was incorrectly presented in their accounts.
Criminal, regulatory and parliamentary investigations into Steinhoff are ongoing in a number of jurisdictions. Subject to the outcome of these investigations and further information being released by Steinhoff, the relevant period for the case may be extended or modified.
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