GIPF's Steinhoff suit still pending

15 August 2019 | Business

The Government Institutions Pension Fund of Namibia is not backing down from a bid to sue Steinhoff for losses stemming from investments made in the company.

The pension fund administrator reportedly lost N$700 million in investments in the retail holding company, which owns shares in Pep, Tekkie Town, Hifi Corporation and Incredible Connection, among others.

GIPF CEO David Nuyoma had earlier indicated intent to participate in a class action suit against Steinhoff.

Asked about the progress of this action, Nuyoma said the GIPF was still assessing its losses. Once that process had been completed, it would institute a civil suit against Steinhoff to recover the losses.

“At this stage we do not have a timeline on when this legal case will be completed. Even though the GIPF has already provided for the full exposure of the Steinhoff loss in its 2017/18 annual financial year, the full extent of the loss will only be determined once the legal process against Steinhoff has been completed,” he said when approached for comment.

Nuyoma previously said GIPF was teaming up with other affected companies to sue Steinhoff to recover a portion of their losses.

“GIPF is participating in the class action (which implies collectively suing Steinhoff for any losses that may be realised) known as the BarentsKrans by various creditors. Any recovery will only be determined once the process has run its course,” he said.

Nuyoma has also been previously quoted as saying that Steinhoff's impact on GIPF would be minimal, constituting less than 1% of its total assets under management. He added that Steinhoff had shares in many retail companies that still held value and once the information had been crystallised, there would be value to be realised.

Steinhoff posted a loss of €1.19 billion (N$20 billion) for the year ended September 2018, FIN24 reported in June this year.

The €1.19bn loss compares to a restated loss of €3.99 billion (roughly N$65 billion at current exchange rates) for the 12 months ended September 2017.