Steinhoff International Shareholder Class Action
Claims Funding Europe is funding litigation in the Netherlands on behalf of investors in Steinhoff International Holdings NV (“Steinhoff”). Steinhoff is a household goods conglomerate with dual-listings on the Johannesburg and Frankfurt stock exchanges.
In December 2017 Steinhoff simultaneously announced an investigation into “accounting irregularities” at the Company and the resignation of its then-CEO Markus Jooste. In subsequent announcements, Steinhoff stated that the Company’s 2017 audited results would be delayed pending further investigation, and that it’s 2016 consolidated financial statements would be restated. Later revelations made clear that the restatement of earlier years would also be required.
A subsequent investigation into Steinhoff revealed, among other things, that:
- for years, Steinhoff executives had structured and implemented transactions that had the result of substantially inflating the profit and asset values of the Company;
- Steinhoff entered into fictitious and/or irregular transactions with third parties that it falsely claimed were independent; and
- Steinhoff created fictitious and/or irregular income in its holding companies and allocated that income to its underperforming operating companies.
The market’s reaction to the news was immediate and severe, and the value of the Company’s shares plummeted. Steinhoff’s share value has never recovered.
In the aftermath of Steinhoff’s collapse, Claims Funding Europe retained BarentsKrans to pursue claims on behalf of the Company’s shareholders. BarentsKrans is one of Europe’s leading mass litigation law firms.
The investors’ claim is being prosecuted in the Netherlands against Steinhoff and certain related entities, including its former executives, and includes investors who acquired shares in Steinhoff (or its predecessor entity SIHL) on the Johannesburg or Frankfurt stock exchanges between 26 June 2013 and 6 December 2017. Many of South Africa’s largest institutional shareholders—which together held approximately 20% of the Company’s shares prior to the revelations of December 2017—are participating in the Claims Funding Europe claim.
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