South African Billionaire Christo Wiese Gets Back on Africa's Richest List After Successful Suing Steinhoff

South African Billionaire Christo Wiese Gets Back on Africa's Richest List After Successful Suing Steinhoff

  • South African billionaire Christoffel "Christo" Wiese fought his way back onto Africa's Richest List after being off the list for over four years
  • The Shoprite mogul's wealth plummeted after the Steinhoff corruption scandal hit the news, and shares dropped by 90%
  • Wiese fought his way back onto the list after successfully suing Steinhoff and acquiring a 5% stake in Pepkor

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Billionaire Shoprite mogul Christoffel "Christo" Wiese is back on Forbes Africa's Richest List after being knocked off following the accounting scandal of the decade at Steinhoff.

Briefly News takes a look at Weise's life and how he managed to fight his way back onto the billionaires' list after four years of not making it.

South African Billionaire Christo Wiese makes it on the Africa's richest list
Billionaire Christo Wiese made the comeback of the year after making it onto the Forbes Africa's Richest List. Images: Waldo Swiegers & Nadine Hutton
Source: Getty Images

1. How Christo Wiese's wealth was affected by the Steinhoff International corruption scandal

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In December 2007, businessman Christo Wiese received news that shook his world. Auditing firm Price Water Coopers (PwC) revealed that the German-South Africa firm Steinhoff International had been involved in accounting fraud worth $7.4 billion (R135 billion).

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According to Forbes, then-76-year-old Wiese was chairman and a significant company shareholder at the time. The scandal affected the company's shares, which dropped by around 90%.

The Steinhoff corruption had been going on for years before Weise took over as chairman. The drop in the Steinhoff share price impacted Wiese's net worth, which went from an estimated $5.6 billion (R101 billion) to $1.1 billion (R19 billion).

Wiese joined the Steinhoff International family after the company acquired a large stake in Pepkor Holdings, a company founded by his parents. According to IOL, Wiese acquired shares in Steinhoff after selling his Lanzerac Wine Estate to disgraced CEO Markus Jooste.

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Christo Wiese has 5% stake in Pepkor
Steinhoff International gave Christo Wiese a 5% stake in Pepkor after the accounting fraud scandal. Image: Nadine Hutton
Source: Getty Images

The exchange turned out to be a bad business deal for Wiese since a few years later, the Steinhoff shares were worthless. Following the Steinhoff scandal, Weise stepped down as chairman.

2. How billionaire Christo Wiese successfully sued Steinhoff International following the accounting fraud scandal

Weise did not let bygones be bygones after the Steinhoff corruption debacle massively impacted his wealth. In 2018, the business magnate took Steinhoff to court and accused the company of defrauding him of $5 billion (R90 billion), according to Forbes.

It took a couple of years, but in January 2022, the South African and Dutch courts helped Weise and Steinhoff reach an agreement. Wiese and thousands of other shareholders were awarded approximately $500 million (around R9 billion).

Wiese was also granted a 5% stake in Pepkor Holdings on top of cash. The business mogul admitted that he accepted less than he asked for because he wanted the negotiations to end after dragging on for years.

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Steinhoff reportedly has a 51% stake in Pepkor Holdings.

3. Shoprite Holdings' success puts Christo Wiese back on Africa's Billionaire Richest list

While the Steinhoff scandal may have knocked a few billion dollars out of Wiese's bank account, the business mogul still had a stake in Shoprite Holdings to help him keep his billionaire status.

Wiese is popularly known as the Shoprite mogul who took the Cape Town-founded company from eight retail stores to thousands of locations all over Africa, such as Zambia, Nigeria and Nambia.

The company is listed on the Johannesburg, Namibian and Zambian stock exchanges.

Billionaire Christo Wiese is a major Shoprite shareholder
Shoprite Holdings owns over 20 companies that operate all over the African continent. Image: Nadine Hutton
Source: Getty Images

According to BizNews, Wiese owns the most significant stake in Shoprite Holdings, with 10.67% of shares.

Forbes reports that in the recent fiscal year, Shoprite had $10.7 billion (R190 billion) in revenues, putting the billionaire at number 18 on Africa's Richest list with a net worth of $1.1 billion (R20 billion) in 2023.

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4. All the companies keeping Christo Wiese's billionaire status up high

Billionaire Christo Wiese was definitely savvy and made brilliant moves when it came to acquiring stakes in companies. While the billionaire is known for his judgment error with Steinhoff, Wiese has shares in other companies that are helping him live a comfortable life at the age of 81.

As mentioned earlier, Weise has stakes in Shoprite Holdings and Pepkor Holdings. According to My Broadband, Shoprite Holdings owns at least 23 companies, including Checkers, OK Furniture, House & Home and other affiliates.

Pepkor Holdings has companies that can be listed under four categories, including retail, which includes Pep Stores and Ackermans. The JD group also falls under Pepkor, with companies focusing on furniture and electrical appliances.

Here's a complete list of Pepkor Holdings companies:

Clothing and general merchandiseFurniture, appliances and electronicsBuilding materials Fintech
AckermansJD Group: JD HomeThe Building Company: BUCO Flash
Pep AfricaBradlowsTiletoria
Pepkor SpecialitySleepmastersB-ONE
Tekkie TownRochesterHHL Bildware
Shoe CityJD TechHHL Buchel
RefineryIncredible ConnectionsHHL W&B Hardware
CODEHifi CorpMacNeil
DunnsAbacas Cachet
S.P.P.CBrands 4 Africa
Avendia Citiwood

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Wiese also has a 22% stake in Brait PLC, which owns companies such as glassware company, Consol. Lastly, the businessman has a 33% stake in Invicta Holdings Limited, which owns 20 companies.

African billionaires Patrice Motsepe and Aliko Dangote get USA recognition alongside other black billionaires

Briefly News previously reported that some of Africa's richest men are getting international recognition for their wealth.

South African billionaire Patrice Motsepe and Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote were recently included on the Complex Top Black Billionaires of the World list alongside the likes of TV personality Oprah Winfrey, hip hop artist Jay Z and basketball player Micheal Jordan, according to Africa Facts Zone.

Motsepe and Dangote were two of the nine black billionaires featured in the international publication's list as part of Black History Month.

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Source: Briefly News

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