Steinhoff said to seek about R6.5bn for properties in Europe

Steinhoff International Holdings [JSE:SNH] is seeking to sell properties in Europe worth about $450m (R6.5bn) to raise cash as it restructures its debt, according to people familiar with the matter.

The retailer, which almost collapsed amid an accounting scandal in late 2017, has hired Eastdil Secured LLC to advise on the sale of office buildings, warehouses and production sites in countries including the UK, Germany, Poland, and Hungary, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the matter is private.

Representatives of Steinhoff and Eastdil declined to comment.

Steinhoff’s accounting scandal wiped out most of its equity and forced the company to review and restate its accounts. PwC is due to release a forensic report on the matter, enabling Steinhoff to publish an audited financial report next month.

The company is trying to dispose of real estate assets after reaching an agreement with its creditors to postpone debt payments. In October, the retailer started to look for a buyer for real estate assets owned by its French furniture chain Conforama, people familiar with the matter said at the time.

In the same month, it closed a deal to sell Austrian retailer Kika-Leiner, including properties held by its Hemisphere subsidiary. After the sale, Hemisphere was valued at €324m (R5.3bn).