June 9, 2020 / 8:24 AM / 2 months ago

UPDATE 1-Steinhoff flags pandemic hit, scraps Conforama Iberia sale

(Adds detail on Conforama France, background)

June 9 (Reuters) - South African retailer Steinhoff on Tuesday warned of a “material” hit to revenue in 2020 and said its planned disposal of home furnishings chain Conforama Iberia had lapsed due to the coronavirus crisis.

The company, which has deferred the publication of its interim results to July, also said South African authorities have engaged PwC to assist with a criminal investigation into accounting fraud at Steinhoff.

Steinhoff also said the position of its Conforama business in France remained uncertain, having failed to secure state funding in the country.

The company signed a deal to sell its Iberian business in February, but the completion of the deal was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Litigation remains a significant challenge,” said Steinhoff, which has been reeling under pressure from an accounting scandal dating back about two years.

“The essential actions to reduce costs and optimise liquidity in response to COVID-19 are also placing additional demands on the various finance teams ... and this has also had a direct impact on the financial reporting timelines,” it said.

Reporting by Yadarisa Shabong in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni

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