Belfast Telegraph

UK furniture shops seal new finance deal after parent firm's woes halt investment

By Ravender Sembhy

Harveys and Bensons for Beds have secured a loan to replace investment that was supposed to come from the retailers' scandal-hit parent firm, South Africa's Steinhoff.

The duo said in a statement that a "two-year independent finance facility" will support the future growth of both businesses as well as a manufacturing division with factories in Bridgend, Huntingdon and Taunton.

It will replace Steinhoff's unspecified planned investment "in full", the pair said.

It comes amid mounting speculation that Steinhoff's British assets, which also include Poundland, could be sold. Ratings agency Moody's warned that Steinhoff may not have sufficient funds to "sustain its European operations".

Steinhoff was plunged into crisis last month after revelations of accounting irregularities linked to its 2016 accounts, although on Tuesday the group said the issues could run even further back.

The initial disclosure triggered a share price collapse, a management overhaul and lenders deserting the firm.

Stuart Machin, group chief executive of Harveys and Bensons for Beds, said: "Harveys, Bensons for Beds and our manufacturing businesses have always been run independently and for British customers.

"This new finance facility will allow us to continue to build on the progress we've made in the last few months."

Belfast Telegraph

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