Steinhoff to front hearing as dispute drags on

SteinhoffFurniture conglomerate, Steinhoff International, will front a hearing before the Enterprise Chamber of the Amsterdam Court of Appeal, after receiving a petition from two companies in the course of a dispute with a former joint venture partner.

Steinhoff confirmed that in the course of the dispute, it has received a petition by two German companies for an annual accounts proceeding.

The parent company of brands including Fantastic Furniture and Freedom, informed shareholders on Monday, after OM Handels GmbH and MW Handels issued the petition relating to September 2016 accounts. Both are owned by the previous joint venture partner.

Steinhoff´s CEO Markus Jooste said he is confident that the petition will be dismissed.

“The annual accounts of Steinhoff International were established according to all applicable rules and to our best knowledge,” he said.

“The 2016 annual accounts are correct and received an unqualified opinion by our financial auditors. The allegations brought in against Steinhoff are unfounded and rejected by Steinhoff.”

The dispute relates to a European retail venture which is currently awaiting a hearing in Germany.

Steinhoff said it has appointed legal and external audit firms in Germany to investigate the matter independently and rejected allegations that it had received qualified audit reports from its auditors on any of its subsidiaries.

“Therefore, Steinhoff sees itself in a strong position and welcomes the opportunity to formally disprove these allegations,” said the company.

The petition covers the treatment of a joint investment, which was consolidated by the investment. In order to strengthen their case, said Steinhoff, the opposing party is questioning the consolidation.

In its latest trading update, Steinhoff said its Australasian business increased organic (excluding acquisition) sales by 9 per cent to EUR761 million, which Steinhoff said was supported by a 6 per cent strengthening in the Australian dollar.

The Fantastic Furniture group reported a strong set of results and added EUR189 million revenue, contributing to the EUR950 million of total sales generated in APAC.

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