South Africa’s Steinhoff pays its $2.3 billion African debt

South African retailer Steinhoff has repaid $2.34 billion of its debt in Africa since the beginning of this year. This follows the repayment of $1.26 billion in shareholder loans by its local unit, which was obtained from the proceeds of a fundraising.

“Save for working capital facilities of the automotive business and the African properties division, the group has no remaining African debt,” it said in a statement on Wednesday.

Funds raised by its local unit Steinhoff Africa Retail (STAR) from South African financial institutions was used to repay the loan which was provided by Steinhoff as part of STAR’s listing in September 2017.

An additional 2 billion rand, which was raised by STAR, will be used for its operations, the group noted. But Steinhoff still has about 8.7 billion euros of debt attributable to Europe and 25 million euros to the U.S. operations.

The group, however, hopes to have a restructuring plan in place shortly to put to creditors that would include measures such as fixing the maturity for all loans at three years from the restructuring date, report says.

Since it discovered accounting irregularities in December 2017, the retailer has been fighting for its survival. The accounting scandal sparked a sell-off in its shares, wiping more than $10 billion off its stock market value and opened its door to multiple investigations globally.

South African tycoon and owner of Shoprite Christo Wiese in April, launched a $4.8 billion lawsuit against Steinhoff Holdings over investments he made prior to the accounting scandal that rocked the company in recent times. The billionaire is looking to obtain the value of the investments he made before the share price crashed amid the accounting scandal, his investment company Titan Group informed Blomberg.

Following news that Wiese intended to sue Steinhoff, Mail & Guardian reported that the company’s share price fell by more than 13% to trade at R1.92 at market close. This is the first time the group’s shares have traded below R2.00.