STAR overpowers minorities’ pushback at first annual meeting

Steinhoff Africa Retail’s (Star’s) annual general meeting was remarkable for a variety of reasons. Not only was it the first, with Star having listed in September 2017, but it is not often that a 77%-held subsidiary goes to such public lengths to distance itself from its parent. In addition, there was not only the physical presence of institutional shareholders but also their active involvement.

It was always going to be an interesting affair but the vigour with which the board told shareholders attending Star’s maiden AGM of its determination to distance itself from Steinhoff International was unprecedented.

Given that Steinhoff owns 77% of Star, its efforts to claim independence were not entirely persuasive. The reality is that Star can only be independent if Steinhoff allows it. That Star is even listed was a contrivance orchestrated to suit Steinhoff’s purposes.

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