Steinhoff sells South African auto showrooms unit to France’s CFAO


JOHANNESBURG – Steinhoff has sold a majority stake in its South African auto dealerships unit, it said on Thursday, days after selling its stake in a local industrial group to shore up its finances following a devastating accounting fraud.

Steinhoff revealed details earlier this month of the 6.5 billion euros ($7.3 billion) fraud that has shocked investors and left the retail group scrambling for working capital.

The company said it had reached an agreement to sell a 75 percent stake in Unitrans, which runs one of South Africa’s largest auto showrooms and a network of trucks dealerships with annual sales of more than 23 billion rand ($1.6 billion).

Unitrans is being sold to French distribution company CFAO, part of Japanese conglomerate Toyota Tsusho Corp, Steinhoff said, without giving financial details of the deal.

Steinhoff raised 4.8 billion rand from the sale of its 26 percent stake in KAP Industrial to pay off debt and bolster its finances. It has also sold stakes in South African investment firm PSG Group, French online retailer, and a property in Austria.

($1 = 0.8898 euros)

$1 = 14.6596 rand Reporting by Tiisetso Motsoeneng; Editing by Mark Potter