Steinhoff shares plunge 60% as Jooste quits over alleged accounting irregularities


Poundland was bought out by Steinhoff last year

"Steinhoff will update the market as the aforesaid investigation proceeds, ' the company said in a statement". In November of that year, German authorities searched Steinhoff offices in the town of Westerstede and visited private homes as part of an investigation by prosecutors in the German town of Oldenburg (near where Steinhoff's European HQ is based) into four current and former managers.

Christo Wiese - Steinhoff's chairman and South Africa's richest man - has taken over as interim executive chairman charged with a review of the company's business.

Steinhoff's African businesses include a range of credit-based household goods retailers and the company also has extensive interests in Europe.

Steinhoff global CEO Markus Jooste stepped down on Tuesday with German prosecutors saying a number of officials are now under investigation. Jooste also resigned as a non-executive director of PSG.

Omri Thomas of Abax Investments, the 15th largest investor in Steinhoff, said because there was no immediate prospect of any clarity on its results, it was hard to put a value on Steinhoff and this had prompted the severe share reaction.

Wiese is South Africa's fourth-richest person with a net worth of $4.3 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Steinhoff's Markus Jooste has stood down after nearly 20 years in the job.

After the Pepkor deal, Wiese invested a further $1.8bn in Steinhoff in September 2016, partly financing the deal by pledging shares to Citigroup, Goldman Sachs Group, HSBC Holdings and Nomura International.

The company had previously said authorities there were examining whether revenue was booked correctly and taxable profit correctly declared.

Steinhoff is the owner of more than 40 brands in over 30 countries. The release of Steinhoff's 2017 results was postponed until the probe is over. According to the news agency Reuters, investors are now concerned that Wiese may be forced to sell shares he bought a year ago with borrowed money, which would depress Steinhoff's stock further.

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