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giftedviz.com December 18, 2017


Shares in Sleepy's Owner Steinhoff Fall 60% on Accounting Probe

07 December 2017, 12:49 | Austin Hogan

Steinhoff shares sink as CEO Jooske leaves amid 'accounting irregularities'

Steinhoff tanks 57% as CEO leaves amid accounting probe

Steinhoff worldwide CEO Markus Jooste stepped down on Tuesday with German prosecutors saying a number of officials are now under investigation.

Steinhoff said its chairman and largest shareholder Christo Wiese would take temporary charge while a successor to Mr Jooste was identified.

PSG Financial Services advised shareholders on Wednesday that its board of directors received and accepted the resignation of Jooste as a non-executive director of PSG Group and PSG Financial Services, with immediate effect.

Peter Brooke, portfolio manager at Old Mutual Investment Group - a top 20 shareholder in Steinhoff - said the resignation was a "red flag" signaling "something very serious".

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 had been due to release its fiscal 2017 earnings report on Wednesday, but said the results will come out when it is "in a position to do so".

The state prosecutor in Oldenburg, Germany has been investigating suspected accounting irregularities since 2015, looking into whether revenues were booked properly, and taxable profit was correctly declared.

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

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Analysts have long questioned the company's low tax rate, saying it can only be the result of complex corporate structures which stretch accounting rules.

The JSE's director of issuer regulation John Burke told Reuters the bourse was in talks with Steinhoff to get answers on the investigation of possible accounting irregularities.

Kolb also raised the possibility that chairman Wiese's role could now come under scrutiny too.

For Steinhoff, the German probe has clouded what had until recently been seen as an acquisition-fueled push into some of the world's biggest retail markets.

It is being reported Steinhoff did not tell investors about transactions amounting to almost $1 billion (R13,5-billion).

Shares at the retailer plunged as much as 68% following the announcements.



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