October 17, 2018 / 4:40 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Steinhoff's investors to suspend legal battle as firm recovers

(Adds quotes, detail)

JOHANNESBURG, Oct 17 (Reuters) - Steinhoff said on Wednesday investors who are suing the crisis-hit firm had agreed to suspend litigation until next year, allowing the retailer time to focus on its recovery.

The lawsuit brought in the Netherlands was aimed at compensating investors for the more than 14 billion euros ($16 billion) wiped off Steinhoff’s market value since the retailer uncovered accounting irregularities last year.

Steinhoff said the suspension of legal proceedings would be until April 3, 2019.

“This agreement allows us time to focus on completing these tasks in the interests of all stakeholders,” said Steinhoff’s acting CEO Danie van der Merwe in a statement.

Steinhoff has been working on a deal to restructure the debt of some subsidiaries with its creditors after revealing multi-billion euro holes in its balance sheet in December that wiped more than 90 percent off its market value and forced it to sell assets to fund working capital.

The lawsuit was brought by a collective group known as VEB/European Investors, Steinhoff said. It claimed that certain financial statements, prospectuses and press releases issued by the company were incorrect and misleading, the retailer said. (Reporting by Tanisha Heiberg Editing by James Macharia)

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