JSE imposes maximum fine on Steinhoff for publishing incorrect and misleading info

Markus Jooste in Parliament in 2018 (Getty)
Markus Jooste in Parliament in 2018 (Getty)

The Johannesburg stock exchange has fined retailer Steinhoff a total of R13.5 million for breaching its listing requirements. 

This includes a maximum possible fine of R7.5 million for publishing "incorrect, false and misleading" information in its previous financial statements. 

"The accuracy and reliability of financial information published by companies are of critical importance in ensuring a fair, efficient and transparent market," said the JSE in a note. 

"The company and its directors are therefore obliged at all relevant times to ensure that all financial information and reports that are published are, in all material aspects, accurate and correct. In addition hereto, the investing public relies on a company’s published financial information to make important investment decisions."

The Stellenbosch-headquartered multinational's share price has plunged by over 98% since December 2017, when its former CEO Markus Jooste abruptly resigned at the start of a complex accounting scandal. This lead to the delay and restatement of its 2017 and 2018 financial results, which have since been finalised, as well as a mass of class-action lawsuits in South Africa and Europe. 

The JSE said the fine and public censure concludes its process in respect of the company as a juristic person. But its probe into the conduct of individuals that presided at the company is ongoing.

Louis du Preez, Steinhoff's chief executive officer, said, "Steinhoff notes the JSE’s decision, which relates to the period predating the discovery of accounting irregularities in December 2017. We are pleased that this concludes the JSE’s process in respect of the company”

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