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Poundland Parent Steinhoff Announces Investigation Into Accounting Irregularities
07 December 2017, 12:46 | Jan Cross
Source Viceroy report into Steinhoff
Steinhoff SNHJ.J SNHG.DE said chief executive Markus Jooste, who oversaw its expansion to one of the world's largest household goods retailers over almost 20 years, had resigned and PwC would undertake an "independent investigation".
Steinhoff bought the Willenhall-based chain of discount stores for £610 million a year ago.
Poundland parent company Steinhoff International has seen its shares plummet 66 per cent as chief executive Markus Jooste resigned with immediate effect amid an accounting scandal.
The company has asked PWC to conduct an independent investigation into the matter.
"The company will publish the audited 2017 consolidated financial statements when it is in a position to do so".
The investigation could result in prior years' financial statements needing to be adjusted. It has also advised its shareholders and other investors to "exercise caution when dealing in the securities of the group", but a panicked sell-off has already caused the business's market cap to more than halve.
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Reuters reported last month that Steinhoff International did not tell investors about nearly $1 billion in transactions with a related company despite laws that some experts believe require it to do so.
It bought Poundland past year and has introduced its Pep&Co budget clothing brand into scores of stores.
In August, the Oldenburg prosecutor also said that it was investigating four current and former Steinhoff executives on suspicion of making "false representations in the balance sheet".
Steinhoff's African businesses include a range of credit-based household goods retailers and the company also has extensive interests in Europe.
In a statement last night the company said: "The supervisory board of Steinhoff wishes to advise shareholders that new information has come to light today which relates to accounting irregularities requiring further investigation".
Jürgen Kolb, an analyst with Kepler Cheuvreux said in a note recently that Steinhoff's tax rate was "very unusual" and that any risk to the rate in future could hit the company's cashflow. It is unclear what accounting irregularities the company was referring to on Wednesday.
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