Retail

Steinhoff Urged To Halt 'Unseemly' Director Bonuses

By Publications Checkout
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Steinhoff International, which wants to pay its directors bonuses because of the extra work they’ve had to do since an accounting scandal erupted, has been asked by South African lawmakers to shelve those plans.

This means that Steve Booysen, who has been a Steinhoff director since 2009, may not soon receive an extra €200,000 euros. His colleagues Heather Sonn and Johan van Zyl may also have to wait for their proposed €200,000 and €100,000 bonuses respectively.

Shareholders of the retailer, which has lost more than $12 billion in value since December, are scheduled to vote on the Frankfurt- and Johannesburg-listed company’s plans on April 20.

“We appeal to the board to not pay bonuses, or at least halt them until a future date,” Joanmariae Fubbs, a lawmaker, said in parliament in Cape Town on Wednesday. “As usual it is the individuals who lose out and the board who gets the bonuses.”

Three parliamentary committees called the hearings in Cape Town in order to deepen their understanding of the events and the subsequent inquiries by the company and regulators.

Johannesburg’s stock exchange, the Financial Services Board, the Independent Regulatory Board for Auditors and a police unit are among those scheduled to present progress reports.

‘Unseemly’ Pay

“While we can’t stop the paying of bonuses, and some people have come onto the board after the fact, the paying of bonuses would be unseemly,” Yunus Carrim, finance committee chairman, said in the same hearings.

Markus Jooste, former chief executive officer of Steinhoff, has been subpoenaed to speak to South African lawmakers after he failed to attend previous hearings.

Ben La Grange, the retailer’s ex-chief financial officer, will be given 10 days to decide whether he will appear before the committees at their next Steinhoff briefing in August. He will be subpoenaed if he decides not to appear or fails to reply to requests, the committees said in an emailed statement on Wednesday.

Steinhoff, which has plummeted more than 90% since the accounting scandal began, rose 0.3% to €0.23  as of 1:31 pm in Frankfurt yesterday.

News by Bloomberg, edited by ESM. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.

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