March 27, 2019 / 7:43 AM / 2 months ago

South Africa's Steinhoff raises $332 million from KAP Industrial stake sale

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Troubled South African retailer Steinhoff said on Wednesday it had raised 4.8 billion rand ($332 million) from the sale of its 26 percent stake in KAP Industrial (KAPJ.J) to pay off debt and shore up its finances, sending its shares higher.

Steinhoff admitted “accounting irregularities” in December 2017, shocking investors who had backed its reinvention from a small South African business to a multinational retailer at the vanguard of the European discount furniture retail industry.

This wiped about 85 percent off its market value and threw the company into a liquidity crisis.

Steinhoff said in a statement it sold 694 million KAP shares at 6.85 rand per share, a 9.4 percent discount to Tuesday’s closing price. The book of demand was oversubscribed, it added.

Steinhoff said on Tuesday the placement would be offered to institutional investors only and will result in the company no longer holding an interest in KAP.

Steinhoff shares jumped in early trade on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, and were up more than 6 percent by 0725 GMT.

Shares in KAP, a diversified industrial group selling everything from chemicals and auto components to mattresses, were down more than 7 percent.

In South Africa’s biggest corporate scandal, an investigation carried out by PwC found that Steinhoff recorded fictitious or irregular transactions totaling 6.5 billion euros ($7.3 billion) over a period covering the 2009 and 2017 financial years.

Steinhoff sold down its stake in KAP in March 2018 after placing 450 million shares, or a 17 percent stake, also via an accelerated bookbuild in a bid to plug a liquidity gap.

Steinhoff has also raised cash from the sale of stakes in South African investment firm PSG Group, French online retailer Showroomprive.com, as well a property in Austria.

Reporting by Olivia Kumwenda-Mtambo; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Louise Heavens

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