July 11, 2018 / 3:21 PM / 12 days ago

Steinhoff in talks with creditors over deal to delay debt claims

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - Steinhoff (SNHJ.J), (SNHG.DE) is in talks with creditors over an agreement to hold off debt claims for three years while the troubled South African retailer restructures 9 billion euros ($10.55 billion) of debt, it said on Wednesday.

“The launch of the LUA (lock-up agreement) marks the culmination of several weeks of discussions with the ad hoc committees of third party creditors,” Steinhoff said in a statement.

“(It) represents an important step in the restructuring process.”

Steinhoff shares jumped following the announcement and were up more than 20 percent at 2.26 rand per share by 1517 GMT.

Creditors have until July 16 to sign the lock-up agreement, the owner of Mattress Firm in the United States and Poundland in Britain said.

Steinhoff hopes the deal will provide period of stability while the complex restructuring process is completed.

Steinhoff has been fighting to stay afloat since it revealed holes in its accounts last December that wiped $15 billion off its market value.

Cut off from credit lines, Steinhoff has been surviving on cash injections from asset sales.

In June it said it had agreed the main terms of a restructuring deal, under which all its debt would be restated at par and be given a common maturity date of three years from the completion of the restructuring agreement.

The lock-up agreement has been signed by the company, Steinhoff Finance Holding, Steinhoff Europe AG (SEAG), SUSHI and Steinhoff International Holdings Proprietary Limited.

Reporting by Nqobile Dludla; Editing by Joe Brock

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