Shares in Poundland owner crash as CEO quits amid accounting probe

Poundland owner Steinhoff sees its shares crash by 60%

The group said Markus Jooste will resign with immediate effect, adding that new information has come to light which "relates to accounting irregularities requiring further investigation".

The Steinhoff supervisory board appointed its chairperson Dr Christo Wiese executive chairperson, or delegated supervisory chairperson, on an interim basis.

Steinhoff has delayed the publication of its 2017 financial results indefinitely as it investigates what it terms "accounting irregularities".

JSE-listed African retail subsidiary Steinhoff Africa Retail (STAR) announced on Wednesday that it was "unaffected by the events at [JSE-listed retail multinational] Steinhoff".

Steinhoff, which has its primary listing in Frankfurt, said Wiese would "embark on a detailed review of all aspects of the company's business with a view to maximising shareholder value".

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Shares in Steinhoff International fell by about 60 per cent after the news was announced. Shares in Frankfurt were down 58 percent. The group has been under investigation for suspected accounting irregularities by the state prosecutor in Oldenburg in Germany since the same year.

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

It is not clear if these are the accounting irregularities the company was referring to in its statement. A spokesman declined further comment and attempts to contact Jooste were not successful.

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. The company added it also needs to determine if any financial statements from previous years need to be restated.

At 1130 GMT, the shares were down 65% to €1.04.

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