European Investors-VEB has taken note of the global settlement proposal as communicated by global retailer Steinhoff International Holdings N.V. (“Steinhoff”) in its press release dated 27 July 2020. Steinhoff’s proposal sets out, amongst others, that, without any admission of wrongdoing, an amount of 266 million euro will be made available by Steinhoff to investors that suffered damages arising out of purchasing or acquiring Steinhoff shares in the market prior to 6 December 2015 c.o.b. (in the case of Steinhoff’s predecessor, Steinhoff International Holdings Proprietary Limited) or prior to 5 December 2017 c.o.b. (in the case of Steinhoff) and continued to hold Steinhoff shares on 5 December 2017 c.o.b. (and separate to an amount that will be made available for those who acquired shares directly from Steinhoff or its predecessor rather than in the market).
European Investors-VEB’s CEO Paul Koster said in respect of the proposal offered by Steinhoff:
“We have thoroughly reviewed the key terms of Steinhoff’s global settlement proposal from a claimant perspective. European Investors-VEB considers this proposal and its successful implementation will bring a conclusion to Steinhoff’s legacy issues for claimants and will be in the best interest of all parties involved. It is a positive proposal for injured shareholders which shows Steinhoff’s commitment to resolve those issues in very challenging circumstances. Implementation will allow Steinhoff to focus on the future, which is also in the best interest of Steinhoff’s current shareholders. European Investors-VEB recommends that all its partners, members and other constituents support the proposal and its implementation.”
Steinhoff has confirmed to European Investors-VEB that its constituency will be entitled to participate in the final Global Settlement on a basis fully equivalent to the constituencies of other active claimant groups. European Investors-VEB has decided to waive its 9% success fee under its “no cure-no pay” arrangement with its constituents.
Steinhoff and European Investors-VEB have agreed the terms under which European Investors-VEB will cooperate to support the Steinhoff Global Settlement. On that basis, European Investors-VEB has agreed to withdraw its collective action against Steinhoff in the Netherlands with immediate effect. European Investors-VEB, as a collective representative organization under article 3:305a Dutch Civil Code, started this collective action against Steinhoff in 2018 in the Dutch court on behalf of all investors who bought or held shares from the start of the accounting irregularities at Steinhoff until 7 December 2017.
Steinhoff’s CEO Louis du Preez said:
“Steinhoff welcomes the constructive contribution and support of European Investors-VEB, in its capacity of representative organization, for our global settlement proposal. The withdrawal of European Investors-VEB’s collective action is, furthermore, a key step in reducing Steinhoff’s litigation risk in relation to the legacy issues.”