Poundland: Rumours rife of company in trouble

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Financial Mail Reporter

Budget retailer Poundland is under growing pressure from a scandal engulfing South African parent company Steinhoff.

Insurer Atradius, which helps suppliers get paid if a firm goes bust, has reportedly reduced its cover on Poundland stock.

The move could unnerve suppliers in the run-up to Christmas, although Poundland stressed it was ‘firing on all cylinders’.

Poundland: There are concerns the company is in financial trouble after accounting scandal

Poundland: There are concerns the company is in financial trouble after accounting scandal

Two weeks ago, Steinhoff shares fell more than 80 per cent when it delayed its results, revealed an accounts probe and warned it may restate previous financial statements. Chief executive Markus Jooste, 56, stepped down, followed last week by chairman Christo Wiese, the 76-year-old retail tycoon who owns 23 per cent of the firm.

Steinhoff, which also owns UK furniture stores Harveys and Bensons For Beds, is due to meet creditors and insurers this week in an effort to reassure them.

It comes amid reports that Wall Street banks face potential losses of more than £800 million on £1.4 billion loaned to Wiese secured against his shares. The plunge in share price means his collateral is now worth less than the debt.

Wiese lost more than £2.2 billion on paper as the share price fell – stripping him of his billionaire status, with his fortune shrinking to an estimated £552 million.

 





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