In the nick of time the Cape High Court granted the application sought by some current Mr Tekkie shareholders to prevent Pepkor/Steinhoff from dealing in or disposing of any Tekkie Town shares or assets. After Steinhoff published their amended FY 2017 financial results at midnight as voting day dawned, the precarious finances of the once world-leading retail chain became apparent … and it does not require a crystal ball to deduce that they would be looking at profitable assets to keep the unwieldy company afloat.

“Steinhoff is R140-bn in debt – how can they survive?” asked author of Steinheist, Rob Rose, pointing out that the company has things it can sell, like a 71% stake in Pepkor – where Tekkie Town is currently housed. Rose was interviewed on the Classic Business show on Fine Music Radio.

“The company’s current liabilities are more than the current assets and there is massive doubt as to whether it can remain a going concern,” agrees financial analyst Peter Armitage, founder of Anchor Capital. “Unknown potential tax liabilities and huge claims against the company are also highlighted. Sadly, in my opinion, there is no value left.”

Among the lawsuits is a claim for R2-bn in damages from Pepkor executives and shareholders, including former chairman Christo Wiese. Pepkor is still 71% owned by Steinhoff.

“The extent of the frauds and consequent impact on the financials is finally quantified – a staggering total balance sheet reduction of R246 billion or R57 per share,” continues Armitage. “That is R140-bn to Sept 2016 and another R64-bn write-down to Sept 2017.”

The financial results also clarified why Braam van Huyssteen is so confident that Tekkie Town would be returned to him because the share-swap agreement concluded in October 2016 was fraudulent – probably the politest way of describing this transaction in which Markus Jooste/Steinhoff acquired R3.3-bn worth of Tekkie Town shares to gain 100% ownership of the successful chain … for an effective R86-m (43-m shares effectively now worth R2 each) of  loss-making Steinhoff. And claiming it was an equal trade.

It is also highly unlikely that Van Huyssteen would have sold Tekkie Town to the debt-ridden retail chain Steinhoff now emerges to have been at the end of 2016 – instead of the world’s 72th biggest retailer and the 6th fastest growing retailer worth $25-bn, as recorded in Deloitte’s The Global Powers of Retailing 2017 report.

Apart from painting a far more dismal picture of the extent of the falsified profits, manipulated accounts and irregular transactions than anticipated, Steinhoff’s financial results also raise new avenues of enquiry. For example, how can chairman Christo Wiese claim complete ignorance of the shenanigans at Steinhoff when Markus Jooste awarded himself a R32-m irregular bonus under his watch? And then the focus will, no doubt, shift to intra-company transactions involving Capfin and Fulcrum, in which Wiese has interests.

Maybe these issues will further be discussed when PwC publishes Steinhoff’s results for the year ending September 2018 … which analysts believe will be even worse than those already published.

Pepkor’s 6-monthly results will be published around the same time.