Steinhoff again delays release of financial statements sending its shares down

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – South African retailer Steinhoff has again delayed release of its 2017 and 2018 financial statements, saying that complexities in the process were slowing the work of external auditor Deloitte, sending its shares down more than 4 percent.

The retailer said it had made “significant efforts” but its 2017 group financial statements would not be released until May 7 and its 2018 statements would be delayed until June 18. Both had been expected in mid-April.

“We sincerely regret this further delay,” Chief Financial Officer Philip Dieperink said in a statement to the stock exchange, adding that the company and Deloitte believe that the new timeline is achievable.

Steinhoff has repeatedly delayed publication of its accounts after a $7.4 billion accounting fraud that stunned investors in the multinational retailer that had been at the vanguard of the European discount furniture retail industry.

While a summary of an investigation by auditor PwC released last month has shed some light on what happened, shareholders are still hungry for more information on the scandal and an indication of how much Steinhoff’s remaining assets are worth.

Steinhoff added that said the revised timetable would be likely to affect the timing of its 2019 interim results, currently scheduled for late June, and that a new date would be given in due course.

The 2017 and 2018 results for its wholly owned subsidiary, Steinhoff Investment Holdings, will be released on June 28, the company said.

Reporting by Emma Rumney; Editing by David Goodman

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