Steinhoff shares plunge 60% after CEO quits

Steinhoff shares plunge 60% after CEO quits

Steinhoff shares plunge 60% after CEO quits

The dramatic sell-off was triggered by the announcement that chief executive Markus Jooste had resigned and "accounting irregularities requiring further investigation" had been uncovered.

Shares in South Africa-based German retail giant Steinhoff - which owns Ackermans, Pep, and Russels - fell nearly 60 percent on Wednesday after the company announced the resignation of its CEO in the wake of alleged accounting irregularities. The company added it also needs to determine if any financial statements from previous years need to be restated.

South African billionaire and chairman of the company, Christo Wiese, will run the company on a temporary basis.

The company announced that new information had emerged which required investigation into accounting irregularities, and said it was unable to publish its financial results as a result.

Steinhoff is a sprawling corporation which operates approximately 12,000 retail outlets across 30 countries.

The group, which owns brands such as Poundland, Bensons for Beds and Conforama, said it has received expressions of interest in certain non-core assets that will release a minimum of €1bn of liquidity. Steinhoff derives about 60% of its earnings in Europe and 34% in Africa.

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

Steinhoff said the discovery of "new information" prompted the firm to draft in PwC to perform an "independent investigation".

It had previously rejected allegations made in a Manager-Magazin report that Jooste is among employees being investigated by German prosecutors in a 2015 case linked to possible accounting fraud.

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