• Steinhoff may want back bonuses paid to senior executives, it said on Thursday.
  • That could put its former executives on the line for a combined R176 million.
  • Not that it will make much difference, relatively speaking.

The three former executive directors of Steinhoff may have to pay back up to R176 million, if the company holds to its threats.

The Steinhoff Group is "giving consideration to reclaiming bonuses paid in the past to certain senior executives" it said in an update to shareholders on Thursday afternoon.

That could be rather a large amount of money – just not in the context of the hole in Steinhoff's books.

See also: Steinhoff’s latest shareholder note show a company ‘heading towards liquidation’ says one analyst

Disgraced former CEO Markus Jooste received an annual bonus of €1.98 million in the fifteen months to the end of September 2016 – on top of a "strategic" bonus of €476,000 and a "deferred" bonus of €416,000. In total, Jooste received a bonus of almost €2,9 million, or more than R42 million at today's currency rates. And that's on top of his salary of R40 million.
 
In the previous year, his bonus came to more than €3,2 million.
 
If Steinhoff only demands a bonus payback for two years (and the fraud and mismanagement probably stretched back much longer), Jooste alone will have to pay back almost R90 million, at current exchange rate.
 
The company's former head of finance, Ben la Grange, received a bonus of €1.3 million in the period to the end of September 2016, and more than €1.2 million in the previous year, for around R38 million in today's money.
 
Former chief operating officer Danie van der Merwe got almost €1.5 million in bonus payments in 2016, and in the previous year almost €1.8 million, making for more than R48 million in total.
 

In total, the three directors received bonuses worth almost €12 million in two years – or R176 million at today's exchange rates.

Although that is not small change, it would not do much to plug the many holes in Steinhoff's books.

The company on Thursday said it is "reviewing the validity and recoverability of certain "non-South African assets" initially thought to be worth €6 billion – more than R88 billion.

It also said it had received "demands" from Firstrand co-founder GT Ferreira and the entities that sold it retailer Tekkie Town, worth a combined €220 million, currently around R3.2 billion. 

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