Steinhoff avoids collapse, saving 120 000 jobs

(Also read: Former Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste OKs a 'circumscribed' grilling in Parliament)

It was quite a performance by Ben [La Grange]… He did say that he, essentially, has been deceived by Markus Jooste… and that Jooste and the auditors were the bad guys.

Rob Rose, Financial Mail

Steinhoff has avoided the threat of collapse, thereby securing 120 000 jobs – 50 000 of them in South Africa.

That’s what a delegation from the disgraced company told Parliament on Wednesday.

The lifeline that saved the company, for now, is an agreement between the company and its creditors.

As per the agreement, Steinhoff will restructure its debt and try to rebuild value.

It also agreed to find those responsible for the scandal, and hold them to account.

Steinhoff’s former chief financial officer Ben la Grange on Wednesday told Parliament he’s sorry about the money lost through the collapse of the company’s share price.

He says he doesn’t think he deliberately did anything wrong.

La Grange painted a picture of a complex, global group with hundreds of subsidiary companies and multiple layers of reporting.

He says there was no single audit firm responsible for checking out the entire group.

La Grange says many seemingly valid transactions were done by third parties under the influence of former Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste.

The Money Show’s Bruce Whitfield interviewed Financial Mail Editor Rob Rose.

Listen to the interview in the audio below (and/or scroll down for more quotes from it).

I think there was a chronic overstatement of assets… The value inherent in Steinhoff will be a lot less… There are some good assets, even if they weren’t as good as Markus said they were…

Rob Rose, Financial Mail

A small auditing company audited the European entities… Markus Jooste lobbied against it [having one auditor for the whole group]…

Rob Rose, Financial Mail

The guy [Markus Jooste] is sitting in Hermanus…

Rob Rose, Financial Mail

It’s a story that’ll keep unfolding… it’s going to be a gift that keeps on giving for journalists…

Rob Rose, Financial Mail

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