Steinhoff shares plunge by 62% after CEO quits

Johannesburg - Steinhoff International [JSE:SHF] plunged by a record 62% after CEO Markus Jooste quit in the wake of irregularities in the company’s accounts that require further investigation.

Shares in the furniture and clothing retailer fell as low as R17.56 before paring losses to trade 61% lower at R18 as of 09:10 in Johannesburg. That wiped R117bn off the value of the stock to give it a market capitalisation of R76.2bn, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The owner of France-based Conforama and Pep in Africa has appointed auditor PwC to probe the matter, it said on Tuesday. South African billionaire and chairperson of the company, Christo Wiese, will run the company on a temporary basis.

The retailer, which has origins in South Africa, has a base in Amsterdam and a primary listing in Frankfurt, said on Monday it wasn’t able to release audited full-year financial results on Wednesday due to matters related to a criminal and tax investigation in Germany.

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

Steinhoff shares were trading at R20.74 on the JSE shortly after 10:00.

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