Johannesburg bourse fines Pepkor R5 million over disclosure failures

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Johannesburg - The Johannesburg Stock Exchange said on Monday it had censured Pepkor Holdings Limited, formerly known as Steinhoff Africa Retail Limited, and fined it R5 million for failing to make disclosures in breach of listing requirements.

The company, which owns South African retail brands such as PEP, Ackermans and Hi-Fi Corporation said in May it had decided to change its name back to Pepkor Holdings in a bid to reaffirm its independence of Steinhoff International in the wake of an accounting irregularity scandal.

It listed on the JSE in September 2017.

The JSE said at listing, Pepkor’s wholly owned subsidiary formed part of a group of companies which guaranteed the Steinhoff Services Limited R15 billion Domestic Medium Term Note Programme and also, through its subsidiaries, provided loans to directors/key management personnel through an entity called Business Ventures Investments (BVI) which amounted to R9 million as at September 30, 2017.

Through its subsidiaries, Pepkor was party to a guarantee of third party debt related to BVI and exposure equated to R440 million as at March 31 this year.

“The relevant IFRS (International Financial Reporting Standards) applicable to these arrangements which are required in terms of ... the listings requirements were not included in the report of historical financial information contained in the PLS (pre-listing statement) or in the company’s results for the year ended 30 September 2017,” the JSE said.

“As a result of an investigation conducted by the JSE, the company was found to be in breach of ... listings requirements in respect of the various arrangements.”

It said Pepkor had fully cooperated with the JSE during its investigation and provided the bourse with sufficient assurance that steps had been taken to address these breaches.

“Notwithstanding this fact, the JSE has decided to impose this public censure against the company with a fine in the amount of R5 million of which R1 million is suspended for a period of two years,” it added. - Nampa/ANA

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