Christo Wiese

Local billionaire Christo Wiese set to sell Shoprite shares for almost R4bn

Imagine being able to sell something worth R4 billion…

Christo Wiese

SA businessman and billionaire, Christo Wiese, is set to reduce his stake in Shoprite by around R3.8 billion. Why does he need some extra cash? Well, the Steinhoff saga has left him looking all kinds of dodgy. On top of that, the scandal was a big financial setback.

Fin24 reports that an emailed statement after market closure on Tuesday indicated that Shoprite will place shares representing 2.9% of its issued stock with institutional investors. The placement will be on behalf of Titan Premier Investments, an investment group that Wiese is a part of.

According to Bloomberg’s data, Wiese will still remain the company’s biggest shareholder.

In December 2017, Steinhoff admitted to “accounting irregularities” Since then, Wiese has been selling assets to raise more funds.  Following the scandal, Wiese has sold a total of R4.2 billion in Shoprite shares over three different deals.

Over that period, Steinhoff stock has crashed by almost 100%. The crash saw Wiese’s net worth plummet from $5 billion to about $2.2billion.

Wiese is also involved in another hectic legal battle to get more money, the South African is suing the owner of Conforama, yes that is a Mattress Firm, for an incredible R59 billion.

Wiese will sell the 17 million Shoprite shares through an accelerated bookbuild. Before the sale, Titan owned 79% of Shoprite, the largest retail group in South Africa.

Wiese’s arrival at Steinhoff in 2015 appears to have coincided with some of the “dogy” business. He bought into the company after selling Pepkor Holdings, Africa’s largest clothing chain. That deal earned him a cool R77 billion.

Up to 130,000 employees work for the Steinhoff network, and the instability at the top is jeopardising those lower down the chain. What is more, the government department responsible for civil servants’ pensions (PIC) has an 8.5% stake invested in the fallen giant, sparking fears that retirement funds could soon take a hit.

Wiese resigned from the Steinhoff board in December.