Published: Thu, December 07, 2017
World | By Melba Underwood

Steinhoff shares nosedive after CEO Markus Jooste resigns

Steinhoff shares nosedive after CEO Markus Jooste resigns

As recently as November 3, Wiese bought 2 million Steinhoff shares at more than three times the price at which they were trading in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

It added that Markus Jooste - its CEO of nearly 20 years - had resigned with immediate effect.

"We're going to have to look very, very carefully and what comes out of the investigation and obviously, we are very keen to get information into the market as soon as possible".

The owner Poundland, Bensons for Beds and Conforama said its largest shareholder and chairman Christo Wiese will take over in an executive capacity on an interim basis.

"The supervisory board of Steinhoff wishes to advise shareholders that new information has come to light today which relates to accounting irregularities requiring further investigation", the statement said. According to the news agency Reuters, investors are now concerned that Wiese may be forced to sell shares he bought past year with borrowed money, which would depress Steinhoff's stock further.

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Just hours earlier, Steinhoff had confirmed it was unable to release its latest financial results as planned that morning because it had asked auditors from PwC to examine its accounting practices.

The group said in a stock exchange announcement: "Steinhoff will update the market as the aforesaid investigation proceeds". [L8N1O63XL] A spokeswoman for Deloitte Accountants B.V., which signed off Steinhoff's 2016 results, declined immediate comment.

The state prosecutor in Oldenburg, Germany has been investigating suspected accounting irregularities since 2015, looking into whether revenues were booked properly, and taxable profit was correctly declared.

It will also "determine whether any prior years' financial statements will need to be restated", its statement said. Jooste also resigned as a non-executive director of PSG. The company has transformed itself in the past four years from a mostly African-focused retailer to an acquisitive powerhouse that now owns Mattress Firm in the U.S. and Poundland in the UK. Theodore de Klerk was appointed as his replacement, PSG said on Wednesday.

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