Ten facts you probably didn’t know about Steinhoff’s former boss Markus Jooste

On Wednesday Steinhoff’s former CEO Markus Jooste will give his side of the story as to what led to the demise of one of the world’s largest furniture retailers when he appears in front of parliament, see below. It will be the first time the man who has been described as a megalomaniac and was allegedly responsible for the accounting irregularities at the group will give public testimony since resigning on 5th December 2017. Events that precipitated the wiping out of billions of dollars of Steinhoff’s market capitalisation. Here are ten facts about Jooste you probably didn’t know revealed in Steinhoff: Inside SA’s Biggest Corporate Crash by James-Brent Styan, which was published this year:

  • Jooste did not own Steinhoff shares in his own name when he resigned on the 5 December 2017. His wife Ingrid and son Michael, did.
  • The 68.9 million shares he owned in his name on the 30 September 2016 were transferred into other companies including Mayfair Speculators, his horse racing business, which is part of a holding company named Mayfair Holdings. The entities’ two directors are Jooste and his son-in-law, Stefan Potgieter. The holdings business is owned by Jooste’s personal trust.
  • In August 2017, just over three months before the collapse in Steinhoff’s share price, notes Brent Styan’s Steinhoff: Inside SA’s Biggest Corporate Crash Jooste and Potgieter declared a dividend in specie from Mayfair Speculators to Mayfair Holdings comprising houses, property developments, shares in other companies and about R200 million cash. The total value of the assets transferred was R1.5 billion.  After Jooste and Potgieter stripped Mayfair Speculators of the majority of its assets, mainly debt and Steinhoff shares remained in the company, that were practically worthless by December 2017. The debt was more than R1 billion and owed to various financial institutions including Investec, Absa and Sanlam Capital Markets. According to Steinhoff: Inside SA’s Biggest Corporate Crash, “At the end of November, just days before the Steinhoff collapse, Potgieter asked Investec for an increase in Mayfair Speculators’ credit facility. Investec extended an amount of R93.4 million and paid it to Mayfair Speculators in late November. This brought the total loan amount to R250 million. The collateral for the additional debt was Steinhoff shares”.
  • Jooste remains one of the major racehorse owners in the country through his stakes in Mayfair and the Klawervlei Stud farm.
  • Jooste is still a major shareholder in JSE-listed company, Phumelela. At the end of July 2017 he and Investec’s co-founder Bernard Kantor’s Kalamojo Trading & Investments owned 9.19% of the horseracing company.
  • A consortium of which Jooste was part of purchased retail tycoon Christo Wiese’s historic farm Lanzerac in the Jonkershoek Valley.
  • For several years, Jooste worked for the South African Revenue Service specialising in taxation.
  • In 2011, Jooste received the Vice-Chancellor’s Gold Award from Stellenbosch University. According to Steinhoff: Inside SA’s Biggest Corporate Crash, the award is given to individuals or institutions who have donated more than R5 million to the university.” Only one other individual besides Jooste has been honoured with a Gold Award”, FirstRand’s co-founder GT Ferreira.
  • Jooste co-owned the farm formerly known as Bengale opposite PSG founder Jannie Mouton’s farm Klein Gustrouw in the Jonkershoek Valley.
  • Whilst studying at Stellenbosch University, Jooste stayed at the male residence Wilgenhof to which he later donated a black Jaguar.

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