Belfast Telegraph

Poundland owner’s shares collapse following chief executive resignation and accounting probe

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

Shares in the South African owner of Poundland tumbled after the firm’s chief executive quit amid an investigation into accounting irregularities.

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”.

Steinhoff has asked accountancy giant PwC to conduct an independent investigation.

The group said in a stock exchange announcement: “Steinhoff will update the market as the aforesaid investigation proceeds.

“The company will publish the audited 2017 consolidated financial statements when it is in a position to do so.

“In addition, the company will determine whether any prior years’ financial statements will need to be restated.”

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.

Shares in the firm tumbled over 60% in South Africa on Wednesday as investors digested the news.

As well as Poundland, which it acquired last year for £610 million, Steinhoff is the parent firm of Harveys and Bensons For Beds.

Mr Wiese’s Brait investment group also owns stakes in Virgin Active, New Look and food chain Iceland.

Last year Steinhoff warned the collapse in the value of sterling following the EU referendum could have an adverse impact on its British businesses.

The South African retailer said the currency’s plunge may result in an “unfavourable effect when translating out businesses’ earnings reported into euro”, adding it could have “an adverse effect on future margin”.

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