(Corrects story date to July 18)
JOHANNESBURG, July 18 (Reuters) - Steinhoff extended its “early bird fee” deadline for the second time on Wednesday for creditors to sign a three-year agreement to hold off their debt claims, as the scandal-hit South African retailer battles to stay afloat.
Steinhoff wants to restructure its roughly nine billion euros debt after disclosing holes in its balance sheet that wiped more than 90 percent off its market value and forced it into asset sales to fund working capital.
The initial deadline was set for July 16, which was extended by 24 hours before that was pushed back by the same timeline to 2200 GMT on Wednesday.
Creditors who sign up the so-called lock-up agreement (LUA) within this time frame would qualify for an early bird fee.
“Positive progress is being made and the group is aiming to obtain, as soon as possible, the requisite support levels under the LUA,” Steinhoff said in a statement.
Steinhoff needs at least 75 percent of creditors to sign up by the final deadline of the lock-up agreement on Friday. Once enough creditors are locked in the three-year deal, Steinhoff would begin restructuring its debt within three months.
The company has already agreed the main terms of a restructuring deal, under which all its debt would be restated at par and be given a common maturity date of three years from the completion of the restructuring agreement.
Shares in Steinhoff were down one percent and 4.2 percent in Johannesburg and Frankfurt, respectively. (Reporting by Tiisetso Motsoeneng, Editing by William Maclean)