Steinhoff African unit prices IPO at 20.50 rand


JOHANNESBURG  – South Africa’s Steinhoff priced the initial public offering (IPO) of its African unit at 20.50 rand on Friday, the middle of the marketed range and valuing the business at about 71 billion rand ($5.40 billion).

Steinhoff, the world’s second biggest furniture retailer after IKEA, is spinning off its Africa-focused chains into an entity called Steinhoff Africa Retail (STAR), with a controlling stake in Africa’s biggest grocer Shoprite.

The company, which also has operations stretching from the United States and Britain to Australia, said the split between emerging and developed market retail businesses would allow investors keen on exposure to Africa to invest directly in STAR.

The Johannesburg stock market flotation, planned for Sept. 20, comes weeks after reports that German prosecutors were investigating Steinhoff Chief Executive Markus Jooste and other senior managers for suspected accounting fraud.

The senior Steinhoff managers are alleged to have inflated revenue figures by selling assets to purportedly external parties, which were in fact associated with Steinhoff.

Steinhoff has denied the allegations against its employees and any wrongdoing.

The company, which counts retail tycoon Christo Wiese as a top shareholder and board member, will sell 750 million, or about 22 percent of STAR, in the flotation. Steinhoff will retain about 78 percent of the listed entity.

The offering, in private placement to invited investors, had been marketed at between 18 and 23 rand per share

STAR, mainly made up of clothing, shoe and textile operations, would be an African retail giant with annual sales of about 53 billion rand and holding more than half the voting rights in Shoprite.

($1 = 13.1409 rand)

Reporting by Tiisetso Motsoeneng; Editing by Jason Neely and Edmund Blair (Reuters)

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