Cyprus Mail

Holding company’s woes not affecting malls in Cyprus

A spokesman for the parent company operating the Mall of Cyprus and the Mall of Engomi said that the problems affecting its holding company are unlikely to affect its Cypriot units.

South Africa’s Steinhoff International, the holding company for Atterbury Europe, which in 2015 acquired the two malls, saw the value of its share plunge by as much as 50 per cent on Friday after accounting irregularities were exposed earlier this week, Reuters reported.

According to Reuters, Steinhoff, which owns more than 40 retail brands, saw more than $12 billion of its market value wiped out over the past two days. The company announced an independent probe into its accounts and said that its chief executive owner was leaving.

Atterbury’s operations in Cyprus are liquid as its units operate as separate entities and are financed separately, said Raul de Villiers, in charge of development and new business at Netherlands-based Atterbury Europe, in a telephone interview on Friday.

Steinhoff’s ‘financial results have not been released, so everything else would be speculation’, de Villiers said.

The South African retail holding company’s shares fell almost to a 14-year low of 5 rand (€0.31), according to Reuters. The Financial Times reported on Thursday that the European Central Bank had inverted €800 million in Steinhoff corporate bonds, which were trading at €0.59 to the euro.

Moody’s Investors Service downgraded Steinhoff from B1 to Baa3, the lowest grade in the non-speculative area.

“The downgrade of Steinhoff’s ratings and review for further downgrade reflect the uncertainties and implications for the company’s liquidity and debt capital structure arising from an announcement by Steinhoff’s supervisory board on December 6, 2017,” Moody’s said. “The supervisory board advised that new information has come to light which relates to accounting irregularities requiring further investigation with the possibility of restatement of prior years’ financial statements.”

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