Steinhoff says European unit IPO could raise $2 bln

JOHANNESBURG Thu Feb 23, 2012 9:43am EST

Stacks of U.S. 100 dollar notes at the Korea Exchange Bank in Seoul August 2, 2011. REUTERS/Jo Yong-Hak

Stacks of U.S. 100 dollar notes at the Korea Exchange Bank in Seoul August 2, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Jo Yong-Hak

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa's Steinhoff International could raise at least $2 billion when it eventually floats its European unit, the furniture maker's head of investor relations said on Thursday.

Steinhoff, Africa's top furniture maker and one of Europe's biggest furniture retailers, could list the European business in London, Paris or Frankfurt, said Mariza Nel, Steinhoff's head of investors relations.

"The European unit is listable. It's big enough but we're not in a hurry," she said, adding the listing could raise a minimum of 1.5 billion euros depending on the free float requirements of the bourse it floats in.

Nel said there was no clear date as to when the company would list the unit.

The company said after the close of trade on Thursday that first-half results likely rose by as much as 50 percent, helped by the inclusion of earnings from unit Conforama Holdings, which it acquired in March 2011, and a more favourable euro-rand exchange rate.

Shares of Steinhoff jumped 5.1 percent to 26.56 rand by 1423 GMT, putting it on track for its biggest one-day gain since May 2010.

An initial public offering of the business would complete Steinhoff's restructuring drive aimed at creating three listed separate businesses focused on manufacturing, selling furniture in Europe and sales in emerging markets.

Steinhoff sells furniture in Britain under the Harveys and Sleepmasters brands and in the rest of Europe under the Conforama brand.

The company also wants to increase its stake in South African retailer JD Group in share-swap deal that would reduce its holding in manufacturing firm Kap International to about 62 percent.