Business / Business News

Ina Opperman
Business Journalist
2 minute read
13 May 2021
2:46 pm

Former Tekkie Town owners want Steinhoff liquidated

Ina Opperman

Former Tekkie Town owners have launched another bid to get back money that they lost in a Steinhoff transaction just before the company collapsed.

The former owners of Tekkie Town, including founder Braam van Huyssteen, want Steinhoff liquidated.

They have lodged an urgent application with the Western Cape High Court as the knives come out to recoup losses they incurred when Steinhoff collapsed.

The Tekkie Town group has tried in several court cases before to get R1.86 billion back from Steinhoff they lost in 2016 when they sold their Tekkie Town shares to Steinhoff for R3.2 billion. The shares in Steinhoff they received as payment became worthless when the company collapsed due to accounting irregularities and the subsequent resignation of CEO Markus Jooste.

ALSO READ: Steinhoff loses in court bid to consolidate cases

Steinhoff is planning a vote in June on its scheme to settle about 100 legal claims against it that will offer claimants a share of R17 billion as settlement in one process instead of single court cases. This would mean Tekkie Town would only receive about R100 million.

According to court documents, the group of former Tekkie Town owners argue the new scheme will only offer a “meagre dividend” and was “calculated” to strip them of their claims. They also claim that financial creditors will be first in the queue and they will thus not receive fair compensation.

They are convinced that Steinhoff’s liquidation will ensure they are fairly compensated. In court documents they claim that Steinhoff cannot pay its debts and the company’s liabilities exceed its assets.

The Supreme Court of Appeal ruled in October last year that Pepkor could “deal with Tekkie Town as it wishes”. This latest attempt for compensation will be heard on 24 May.

ALSO READ: Sharing out the Steinhoff crumbs

Steinhoff reaction

Steinhoff International Holdings said in a statement it will oppose the Tekkie Town application and will “vigorously defend” any attempt to disrupt the proposed global settlement and the company’s ongoing Dutch suspension of payments and the proper forum of the Dutch courts.

“The global settlement proposal under consideration by the Dutch court incorporates provisions to address the disputed claims of the Tekkie Town claimants against the company regarding transactions in 2016,” it said.

Steinhoff said it is a public limited liability company incorporated under the laws of the Netherlands and registered with the Trade Register in the Netherlands under number 63570173, with tax residency in South Africa.

The press release points out that Steinhoff announced on 15 February this year it had resolved to lodge an application for a Dutch “suspension of payments” procedure with the Amsterdam District Court to implement its proposal to settle the multi-jurisdictional legacy claims against it.

The Amsterdam District Court approved the application the same day and appointed two administrators, F Verhoeven and CR Zijderveld.