Steinhoff CEO quits over accounting irregularities

Poundland Parent Steinhoff Announces Investigation Into Accounting Irregularities

The Manager Magazin reported that Steinhoff's chief executive, Markus Jooste was among employees under investigation for what was called a fraud in the "three digit millions".

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

Steinhoff International's shares crashed on Wednesday after it revealed "accounting irregularities" and its CEO quit, shocking investors who had backed the rapid reinvention of a South African furniture chain into an global retail empire.

The company has asked PWC to conduct an independent investigation into the matter.

The group on Tuesday said that its results for the year to end-September would be released "when it is in a position to do so".

The news prompted its shares to plunge to an eight-year low of 15.87 rand (87p) on the Johannesburg securities exchange, wiping 60 per cent of the company's value.

The investigation could result in prior years' financial statements needing to be adjusted.




"The Supervisory Board wishes to reassure shareholders that Steinhoff has a number of high quality profitable businesses around the world", the company said in a statement.

Steinhoff's chairman, retail tycoon Christo Wiese, alongside former Pepkor CEO Pieter Erasmus, will run Steinhoff until a new CEO is appointed, a statement issued at 10.45pm on Tuesday night said.

As well as furniture and homeware, it also sells products including clothing, footwear and consumer goods.

Steinhoff moved its primary stock market listing from South Africa to Frankfurt in 2015. Besides Australia and South Africa, it owns retail chains in the UK, Europe and the U.S., as well as controlling other African retailing businesses.

Jooste, who had been with Steinhoff since 1988, has previously been credited with growing the Steinhoff Holding's into Europe's second-largest player, through a series of acquisitions of home retail furniture chains.

It is not clear if these are the accounting irregularities Steinhoff is referring to in its latest statement. Steinhoff has said that was a tax case relating to whether revenues were booked correctly, and taxable profit correctly declared.

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