July 26, 2018 / 11:46 AM / in 5 months

Steinhoff unit Hemisphere gets creditor support for debt lock-up

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South African retailer Steinhoff said on Thursday that lenders to its subsidiary Hemisphere had agreed to hold off their debt claims and the firm will now move to restructure the company, sending Steinhoff shares 9 percent up.

Around 90 percent of creditors signed the lock-up agreement, giving Hemisphere International Properties B.V, the group’s real estate arm, a three-year breathing space from debt repayments.

Steinhoff was seeking to extend a 750 million euro ($878.25 million) loan maturing in August and issued out of Hemisphere.

The parties will now seek to implement the restructuring of Hemisphere by Aug. 3, Steinhoff said in a statement. Steinhoff’s Johannesburg-listed shares were up 6.53 percent at 2.61 rand at 1241 GMT, having risen as much as 9 percent earlier.

Steinhoff is fighting for survival after revealing multi-billion euro holes in its balance sheet that wiped away more than 90 percent of its market value and forced it to sell assets to raise working capital.

The Hemisphere portfolio-which holds about 140 property assets-includes stores, warehouses and offices across Austria, Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Britain and eastern Europe.

In April, investment firm and real estate specialist CBRE cut the valuation of the property portfolio to 1.1 billion euros from Steinhoff’s value of 2.2 billion euros.

Steinhof and its creditors have already signed lock-up agreements pertaining to Steinhoff Europe AG, Steinhoff Finance Holding GmbH and Stripes U.S. Holding Inc. It had said the restructuring of those units would be done within three months.

Reporting by Nqobile Dludla; editing by Jason Neely and Emelia Sithole-Matarise

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