Steinhoff shares plunge 66% as CEO quits amid accounting scandal

A Steinhoff International Holdings NV logo sits on display outside the company's offices in Stellenbosch South Africa on Wednesday Aug. 17 2016

A year ago the firm lost out in a battle with Sainsbury's to take over Argos owner Home Retail Group. It happened after the revealed their "accounting irregularities" and parted ways with its chief executive.

SHARES in Poundland owner Steinhoff International fell by 60 per cent this morning after the company announced an investigation into account irregularities.

The firm, which was scheduled to publish its annual report on Wednesday, said it would release the results "when it is in a position to do so".

The Supervisory Board has today appointed its Chairman, Dr. Christo Wiese, as Executive Chairman (Delegated Supervisory Chairman) on an interim basis.

Steinhoff also said that it was advising its shareholders and other investors to exercise caution when dealing in the securities of the company.

Steinhoff is the owner of more than 40 brands in over 30 countries.

As well as furniture and homeware, it also sells products including clothing, footwear and consumer goods. In the United Kingdom, along with Poundland it also owns Bensons for Beds and Harveys.

Pieter Erasmus, the previous chief executive of Pepkor Group, has agreed to join Wiese in an executive advisory capacity to assist with managing the group's various retail interests around the world.

Steinhoff, which was already facing a criminal and tax investigation in Germany, said that it approached PwC about conducting an independent investigation into its accounting issues.

Steinhoff moved its primary stock market listing from South Africa to Frankfurt in 2015.

It is not clear if these are the accounting irregularities Steinhoff is referring to in its latest statement.

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