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Steinhoff shares nosedive after CEO Markus Jooste resigns

07 December 2017

The company said its Supervisory Board, akin to a board of directors for USA -based companies, has hired the accounting firm PWC to conduct an independent investigation of its finances.

He will be advised by Pieter Erasmus, the former chief executive of Steinhoff subsidiary Pepkor Group, in overseeing the retail portfolio.

"The supervisory board, in consultation with the statutory auditors of the company, has approached PwC to perform an independent investigation".

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Steinhoff's stock was down by 68 percent in Frankfurt on Wednesday, while its latest bond sold in July fell by more than 40 points, after the company said late Tuesday that "new information has come to light today which relates to accounting irregularities requiring further investigation".

The board has appointed Steinhoff's chairman, the South African retail billionaire Christo Wiese, as executive chairman on an interim basis following Mr Jooste's departure.

Steinhoff International debt also plunged, with €800m of senior unsecured bonds due in 2025 falling as much as 41 cents on the euro, to 42 cents, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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Kepler Cheuvreux said the pending tax and accounting investigations "could show severe irregularities". Jooste also resigned as a non-executive director of PSG.

Jooste, who had been with Steinhoff since 1988 and was CEO of Steinhoff International since 2000, was credited with growing the South African furniture manufacturer and retailer into Europe's second-largest player, behind Ikea, via a string of acquisitions including France's Conforama chain.

Steinhoff shares traded 64% lower at €1.08 as of 16:02 in Frankfurt.

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It said that it would publish the audited 2017 consolidated financial statements "when it is in a position to do so" and that it would also determine whether any prior years' financial statements would need to be restated. [L8N1O63XL] A spokeswoman for Deloitte Accountants B.V., which signed off Steinhoff's 2016 results, declined immediate comment. 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 United States and Poundland in the UK.

Steinhoff shares nosedive after CEO Markus Jooste resigns