Relyon bosses are confident that the financial scandal engulfing their parent company in South Africa does not threaten the future of the Wellington factory or other UK sites. Finance director Alan Chapman has been heavily involved in securing a multi-million pound two-year loan to insulate the business from the firestorm.
Meanwhile in Johannesburg both the company’s chairman and CEO have quit after “accounting irregularities” and the share price has gone into freefall. Steinhoff shares have lost more than 80 per cent since early December, wiping more than $10bn off its market value. Bosses have put a Gulfstream corporate jet air craft up for sale and even a director’s racehorses have been sold.
Alan Chapman said: “The trading strength of the UK businesses and Pepkor Europe has meant that we have been able to quickly develop new financing arrangements which mean we are not now dependent on working capital support from our ultimate parent company Steinhoff International NV.”
Pepkor Europe, also owned by Steinhoff International, has arranged the two-year loan which will allow planned investment into the manufacturing and retail side of Steinhoff’s UK businesses to be maintained.
Relyon and Pritex, which around 500 people at Station Mills, Wellington, are confident that the businesses are able to survive the turmoil at the parent company. “We’re profitable businesses that are healthy and are making money. That is what’s let us secure our future finances,” said a source in Wellington.