Saturday, 23 February, 2019

Poundland owner Steinhoff in turmoil over 'accounting irregularities'

A Steinhoff International Holdings NV logo sits on display outside the company's offices in Stellenbosch South Africa on Wednesday Aug. 17 2016. Acquisitions including Pepkor Holdings Pty Ltd. and French furniture chain Conforama France SA have Poundland owner Steinhoff in turmoil over 'accounting irregularities'
Nellie Chapman | 06 December, 2017, 13:56

The Wednesday plunge of shares in the firm, which owns Conforama in France, Poundland in Britain, Poco in Germany and Pep in southern Africa, followed news that chief executive Markus Jooste had resigned.

Criminal investigators were now reviewing documents and data seized during raids, the prosecutors' office in the German city of Oldenburg said in a statement on Wednesday.

Chairperson of Steinhoff Holdings International, Christo Wiese will step in as interim CEO after Jooste's resignation. However, the board of STAR requested him to remain as a nonexecutive director, which he has agreed to do. STAR listed on the JSE main board in September. The group's share price has fallen 18.2% Friday's closing price of R55.81 to R45.65 on Tuesday after warning shareholders on Monday its results would not be signed by its auditors.

Steinhoff will publish its audited 2017 financial statements later, the company said, without specifying a date.

Steinhoff has asked accountancy giant PwC to conduct an independent investigation. In addition, former Pepkor Group CEO Pieter Erasmus has agreed to join Wiese in an executive advisory capacity to assist with managing the group's various retail interests worldwide.

It added that Mr Wiese would "embark on a detailed review of all aspects of the company's business with a view to maximising shareholder value" but gave no further information on what that would entail.

The Supervisory Board wishes to reassure shareholders that Steinhoff has a number of high quality profitable businesses around the world.

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%.