CEO of Mattress Firm Owner Quits Amid Accounting Probe

Posted December 07, 2017

As recently as November 3, Wiese bought 2 million Steinhoff shares at more than three times the price at which they were trading in Johannesburg on Wednesday. In addition, Pieter Erasmus, the previous CEO 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, the company said.

"We're going to have to look very, very carefully and what comes out of the investigation and obviously, we are very keen to get information into the market as soon as possible".

It put Christo Wiese, its largest shareholder and chairman, in charge and later sought to give "additional comfort" to investors anxious about its ability to fund its existing operations, saying it had ‍identified measures that would give it around 2 billion euros ($2.4 billion) of additional liquidity.

"The company will publish the audited 2017 consolidated financial statements when it is in a position to do so".

Martin Jooste announced his resignation with immediate effect late last night, as the company announced that "new information has come to light" relating to "accounting irregularities requiring further investigation".

Steinhoff's board said it had appointed PwC to launch an independent investigation.

The group has been under investigation for suspected accounting irregularities by the state prosecutor in Oldenburg in Germany since the same year.

Steinhoff International debt also plunged, with €800m of senior unsecured bonds due in 2025 falling as much as 41 cents on the euro, to 42 cents, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Wiese, 76, and Jooste didn't immediately respond to calls to their mobile phones.

It will also "determine whether any prior years' financial statements will need to be restated", its statement said.

Steinhoff shares traded 64% lower at €1.08 as of 16:02 in Frankfurt.

Earlier this year, Steinhoff acquired a majority stake in mattress producer Sherwood Bedding, a family-owned company based in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.