// Bensons for Beds and Harveys’ parent company sold by owner Steinhoff to Alteri Investors
// Sale of Blue Group also includes manufacturers Relyon, Steinhoff UK Beds & Formation Furniture
// Blue Group is separate from Pepco – owner of Poundland – which will continue to be owned by Steinhoff
Bensons for Beds and Harveys have had a change of hands after its parent company Blue Group was sold by Steinhoff to Alteri Investors for an undisclosed sum.
The deals pertains the whole of Blue Group, which includes manufacturers Relyon, Steinhoff UK Beds and Formation Furniture alongside two furniture retailers.
Steinhoff – which is still reeling from the fallout of an accounting scandal worth an estimated $7.4 billion (£6.1 billion) – said in August its only way to survive was to slim down and sell assets.
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“The sale of Blue Group is the latest in a series of planned divestments by Steinhoff as we continue with our announced strategy of simplifying the group’s portfolio and deleveraging our balance sheet,” Steinhoff chief executive Louis du Preez said.
Blue Group is separate from Pepco, the parent company of Poundland, which continues to be owned by Steinhoff.
Blue Group was a minor part of Steinhoff’s operation, contributing just under five per cent of revenues in the six months ended March 31.
Alteri said it would work with Blue Group’s management team “to develop the strategy to transform the group’s profitability”.
“This is exactly the type of investment opportunity our second fund was launched to find – trusted retail brands with strong management and the potential for profitable growth,” Alteri chief executive Gavin George said.
“We are confident that our operational capabilities, alongside the injection of fresh capital, can help to build a market-leading, vertically integrated business with a strong omnichannel presence.”
Blue Group chief executive Mark Jackson said: “We are delighted to be teaming up with Alteri.
“Throughout the sale process, they have demonstrated an in-depth understanding of our business and their expertise, not least in digital, will help turbo-charge our plans to drive the performance of the group.”
Steinhoff first admitted to the accounting irregularities in December 2017, which prompted a huge scandal and saw the sudden resignations of chief executive Markus Jooste and chairman Christo Weise.
The scandal also saw shares in Steinhoff – which is listed in both the Johanesburg and Frankfurt stock markets – nosedive by more than 90 per cent.
Du Preez, who was appointed chief executive in January this year, told investors in August that the retail conglomerate’s debt of over $10 bilion was “too high”.
In July, Steinhoff reported a €356 million (£315 million) half-year loss from continuing operations.
However, net sales from continuing operations increased three per cent year-on-year to €6.8 billion (£6 billion).
Steinhoff said its Pepco arm was one of the driving forces behind the sales rise.