Steinhoff shares nosedive after CEO Markus Jooste resigns

07 Décembre, 2017, 00:49 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • Markus Jooste steps down from Steinhoff

In a statement last night the company said: "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".

Steinhoff SNHJ.J SNHG.DE said chief executive Markus Jooste, who oversaw its expansion to one of the world's largest household goods retailers over almost 20 years, had resigned and PwC would undertake an "independent investigation".

The CEO of recently unbundled Steinhoff African Retail (Star), Ben la Grange, has also resigned with immediate effect but will remain as a nonexecutive director on Star's board.

After initially falling 60 per cent to a seven year low, the shares in Steinhoff, which owns 40 local brands in more than 30 countries, later recovered but were still down 52%.

The company has asked PWC to conduct an independent investigation into the matter. Steinhoff has said that was a tax case relating to whether revenues were booked correctly, and taxable profit correctly declared.

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It put Christo Wiese, its largest shareholder and chairman, in charge and later sought to give "additional comfort" to investors anxious about its ability to fund its existing operations, saying it had ‍identified measures that would give it around 2 billion euros ($2.4 billion) of additional liquidity. Attempts to contact Jooste were not immediately successful.

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.

Former manufacturing arm of Steinhoff Industrial, KAP's share price fell 14% to R7.45. The release of Steinhoff's 2017 results was postponed until the probe is over. The company had been expected to release its results for the year ended September 30 on Wednesday, but said it would now publish results when it was in a position to do so.

It will also "determine whether any prior years' financial statements will need to be restated", its statement said. Theodore de Klerk was appointed as his replacement, PSG said on Wednesday.

The FT approached Deloitte - which was appointed the company's external auditor in 2015 and audited its accounts in 2015 and 2016, according to Steinhoff's annual reports.

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