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Ford: Business as usual

Ex-Good Guys chief Michael Ford says its business as usual for local operations

Recently appointed Steinhoff Asia Pacific Group CEO Michael Ford says it’s “business as usual” for the retailer while its parent’s accounting troubles continue.

Steinhoff Asia Pacific operates a number of retail brands in Australia and New Zealand including Freedom, Fantastic Furniture, Best & Less, Snooze, Harris Scarfe, Plush, OMF, Postie and Bay Leather Republic.

Parent company Steinhoff International recently appointed PwC to undertake an investigation relating to accounting irregularities, which has thus far seen the resignations of its long serving CEO Markus Jooste and chairman Christo Wiese

In a statement, Steinhoff Asia Pacific said the business had not been asked to provide any information in respect to the international investigation, and there is no suggestion of any accounting irregularities affecting the financial results of the Steinhoff Asia Pacific businesses.

“The Steinhoff Asia Pacific business is an independent, profitable and financially strong business delivering positive cash flows,” said Ford.

“The business, has its own banking facilities here in Australia. Steinhoff Asia Pacific is not party to any of the banking facilities of its parent company Steinhoff International Holdings N.V.”

“For all our brands in the Steinhoff Asia Pacific business and our 10,000 employees, it is business as usual and we are approaching the peak trading period with great anticipation and confidence.”

Shares in the retailer have plunged almost 80 per cent after the company’s recent announcements.

Steinhoff has appointed chief operating officer Danie van der Merwe as its third CEO in a month, as the conglomerate battles its accounting crisis.

Alexandre Nodale has been installed as deputy CEO and Louis Du Preez as commercial director in a raft of rapid changes for the company, who’s “accounting irregularities” and postponement of its financial results have raised questions over whether the South African-headquartered, Frankfurt-listed retailer will look to sell off its assets in a fire sale.

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