Best & Less, Harris Scarfe back in Australian hands

Greenlit, which was formerly known as Steinhoff Asia Pacific, is owned by South African parent company Steinhoff International. The company obtained Best & Less and Harris Scarfe after purchasing fellow South African retailer Pepkor in 2014 for $6.7 billion.

Pepkor had acquired Best & Less from its original owners in 1998. It also purchased Harris Scarfe from Sydney-based private equity firm Momentum in 2012.

Pepkor purchased Harris Scarfe from Sydney-based private equity firm Momentum in 2012.Credit:Pat Scala

Steinhoff International has been embroiled in various scandals after it was revealed it was involved in one of the biggest corporate accounting scandals in recent times, with information emerging in 2017 the company had overstated profits and assets by more than $12 billion.

Earlier this year, Greenlit chief executive officer Michael Ford said the company was looking at “various options” to separate itself from the multinational.

These could include an initial public offering or a trade sale of its assets. In the nine months up to June 30, Greenlit reported revenue of €969 million ($1.57 billion), a 1 per cent increase on the same period the year prior.


However revenue at its general merchandise division fell 4 per cent to €477 million, with the company blaming “tight retail conditions” in Australia.

“Disposal of the general merchandise business is a significant strategic initiative which will allow Greenlit Brands to concentrate on its core household goods brands and optimise their already-strong position in the Australian and New Zealand markets,” Mr Ford said in a statement.

“In a sense, this transaction sees us return to our roots as a focussed household goods group with a ladder of brands with demonstrable integration and as always, striving for our ambition to achieve remarkable retail.”

Allegro, which has current investments including Pizza Hut and ice-cream seller Everest, said it was looking forward to helping “transform” the much-loved Australian brands.

The deal is expected to be completed by early December.


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