Markus Jooste quits as Steinhoff CEO

Markus Jooste quits as Steinhoff CEO

Markus Jooste quits as Steinhoff CEO

Poundland owner Steinhoff International has seen its shares fall 60% after it said it would launch a probe into accounting irregularities.

Steinhoff bought the Willenhall-based chain of discount stores for £610 million previous year.

Late on Tuesday, Steinhoff announced that it had approached professional services multinational PwC to carry out an independent investigation of the irregularities.

Steinhoff's share price fell by more than 50% by midday on Wednesday, dropping to about R19 from its Tuesday close of R45.65.

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The group said in a stock exchange announcement: "Steinhoff will update the market as the aforesaid investigation proceeds. In addition, the Company will determine whether any prior years" financial statements will need to be restated'.

This came after Steinhoff International CEO Marcus Jooste announced his resignation on Tuesday night, causing an indefinite delay in the release of Steinhoff Holding's full-year results, which were scheduled for release on Wednesday.

The Steinhoff supervisory board appointed its chairperson Dr Christo Wiese executive chairperson, or delegated supervisory chairperson, on an interim basis.

The group's brands include Bensons for Beds and Harveys in the UK, Conforama in Europe, Pep and Ackermans in South Africa and Snooze in Australia.

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Over near two decades Mr Jooste has overseen Steinhoff's expansion from a South African furniture manufacturer to one of the world's biggest household goods retailers.

Steinhoff moved its primary stock market listing from South Africa to Frankfurt in 2015.

Kepler Cheuvreux said the pending tax and accounting investigations "could show severe irregularities".

It is not now clear what "accounting irregularities" the company is referring to in its statement.

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