How did Christoffel Wiese fall from billionaire to millionaire?
Christoffel Wiese is the de-facto owner of the retail giant and he is worth a collective $1.1 billion, according to Forbes.
Although many people know the brand to be from South Africa, not many know the brain behind it. We will tell you about him in this article.
Meet Christoffel Wiese, the retail billionaire
Mr. Wiese is the largest individual shareholder in Shoprite and undoubtedly one of the leading entrepreneurs on the continent. He owns 10.7% of shares in Shoprite Holdings according to Market Watch.
Christoffel Wiese holds a Bachelor’s degree in Law and practiced the profession for some time before assuming the position of an executive director in Pepkor, a small clothing chain his parents founded. The business saw tremendous growth under his leadership and he later proceeded to buy out Shoprite when it was still a small chain of stores in South Africa.
He assumed the position of Chairman at Shoprite Holdings and the rest, they say is history. Weise grew Shoprite into the retail behemoth that it is today spanning 14 African countries and employing over 140,000 workers.
Christoffel Wiese was once the richest man in South Africa. His finances have dipped according to Boomberg but Forbes still pegs his net worth at $1.1 billion. He is 79 years old and is set to retire soon.
Christo Wiese was once one of the world’s richest men, but his involvement in Steinhoff ultimately led to his vast fortunes being wiped out.
Bloomberg estimates his worth at around $255m – which is still very comfortable, but a far cry from his standing in the rich list earlier this decade. In 2016, Forbes described Wiese as one of the planet’s wealthiest people, with a $5.8bn fortune.
“More than 60% of his wealth is in Shoprite and Steinhoff, while another 30% or so comes from his shares of Brait, an investment vehicle Wiese uses to buy other companies, many of them outside South Africa.
His stock in Tradehold, a real estate firm, accounts for much of the remaining 10%,” Forbes reported at the time. In 2017, an accounting scandal erupted at South African multinational Steinhoff.
The German authorities revealed they were investigating irregularities on a grand scale, prompting Steinhoff CEO Markus Jooste to throw in the towel. Steinhoff was a widely held share, so when its price collapsed, many investors felt the effects – including Wiese. – Jackie Cameron.
Christo Wiese: Steinhoff misery
The Steinhoff misery is also far from over. While Steinhoff is said to be close to reaching a potential deal on 10 billion euros ($11.6 billion) of legal claims lodged against it, a large part of Wiese’s suit is being challenged by a group of financial institutions, including Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Citigroup Inc., Nomura Holdings Inc., and HSBC Holdings Plc.
That’s after Wiese secured a 1.6 billion euro margin loan from them in 2016 to participate in a Steinhoff equity raise to help pay for its acquisition of Mattress Firm and Poundland. Steinhoff shares were pledged as collateral.
He takes solace in his more successful ventures – the most prominent of which is a 10.2% stake in Shoprite. Before the coronavirus lockdown that began March 27, Shoprite had been taking a greater share of South Africa’s grocery market.
Wiese also adds the retailer’s social welfare efforts to his philanthropic resume. As the virus spread, Shoprite tripled its fleet of trucks delivering free meals o poor areas of Johannesburg and Cape Town to 27.
His smaller venture, Invicta, has started producing ventilators, oxygen helmets, and a range of sanitizers and disinfectants. These will be sold across Africa from August and Wiese specifically sees this deal as a triumph for local manufacturing.
Still, his biggest joys are his afternoon visits from his grandchildren, who often storm in demanding chocolate, and the pleasure he gets from owning the 4,000-hectare (9,884-acre) Lourensford Wine Estate.
With South Africa have banned the sale of liquor as part of its measures against the coronavirus, “many wine farms are struggling,” he said. But, “at least in terms of personal supply,” owning Lourensford helps.
How big is Shoprite?
According to its official website, Shoprite is the largest supermarket retailer on the African Continent.
- It has over 505 outlets in Africa.
- It is present in 14 African countries.
- It has over 2387 corporate stores and 17 brands.
- Shoprite directly or indirectly employs at least 140,000 employees in Africa.
How did Christoffel Wiese make his money?
Over the preceding decades, he had built Africa’s largest clothing chain, Pepkor Holdings, and Africa’s biggest grocer, Shoprite.
Wiese, the son of a farmer and gas station owner, joined Pepkor in 1967, two years after it started with a single store in Upington, a town in South Africa’s arid Northern Cape province.
How much money did Christoffel Wiese lose?
According to Forbes, Christoffel Wiese’s fortune fell by a whopping $3 billion in just two days after retail conglomerate Steinhoff Holdings announced its CEO had resigned due to accounting irregularities.
What you should know
- Shoprite Holdings is not the only company Mr. Wiese owns. In fact, Shoprite is just one department of his retail business.
- He owns Pepkor a renowned South Africa-based retail investment holding company that deals mainly in low-price markets, primarily selling textiles, clothing, and footwear.
- He is also a Non-Executive Chairman at Invicta Holdings Ltd., a diversified industrial goods wholesale company.