Poundland's South African owner sees shares slump after revealing 'accounting irregularities'

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Shares in the owner of Poundland fell by 60 per cent after it announced a probe into accounting irregularities and that the chief executive had unexpectedly tendered his resignation.

"Steinhoff will update the market as the aforesaid investigation proceeds, ' the company said in a statement".

The Steinhoff holding company is based in Amsterdam for tax reasons and has its primary listing on the Frankfurt stock exchange.

Shares in the firm tumbled over 60% in South Africa on Wednesday as investors digested the news.

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JSE-listed African retail subsidiary Steinhoff Africa Retail (STAR) announced on Wednesday that it was "unaffected by the events at [JSE-listed retail multinational] Steinhoff".

The group, which owns more than 40 local brands in over 30 countries, said it has approached PWC to carry out an independent investigation after new information came to light related to accounting irregularities. The group has been under investigation for suspected accounting irregularities by the state prosecutor in Oldenburg in Germany since the same year.

Reuters reported last month that Steinhoff 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 is not clear if these are the accounting irregularities the company was referring to in its statement. A spokesman declined further comment.

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It would publish the audited 2017 consolidated financial statements when it was in a position to do so and would further determine whether any prior years' financial statements would need to be restated.

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

It came as chief executive Markus Joose resigned and the South African group delayed its full-year results.

STAR shares were down 21.5 percent at 19.30 rand by 0855 GMT.

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