Steinhoff shares drop over 15%

Steinhoff shares had fallen by 13% on Monday by 2.30pm in the wake of the global conglomerate’s annual general meeting on Friday.

Shares in the Stellenbosch-headquartered retailer opened at R2.49 and were trading at R2.25 at 2.55pm. The shares closed down 15.33% at R2.21 on the JSE.

Steinhoff on Friday held its first AGM since its former CEO Markus Jooste resigned under a cloud in early December amid a still-ongoing accounting scandal.

At the AGM held in the Netherlands, where Steinhoff is registered, a number of new members were appointed to the group’s board as directors.

This came after several directors, including former chair Christo Wiese, stepped down in the wake of Jooste’s abrupt resignation and the share price plunge it precipitated.

On Friday all Steinhoff’s motions for the appointment and reappointment of directors were adopted. So were motions on remuneration and retaining auditors Deloitte for the current financial year.

And while Steinhoff leadership told shareholders they were still constrained in what they could say regarding the original accounting scandal, the group did announce that a forensic investigation by PwC has so far uncovered the overstatement of income and assets.

“[The investigation] confirmed a pattern of transactions undertaken over a number of years across a variety of assets classes that led to the material overstatement of income and asset values of the group,” Steinhoff said in its AGM presentation

‘Statements were cooked’

As Alec Hogg noted on Monday morning, in the “ever cautious language of auditors, that’s a bombshell”.

“In plain speak it means PWC has proof Steinhoff’s financial statements were cooked over many years through fictitious invoices (income statements) and by falsifying the value of what the company owns (balance sheet)”.

“This is criminal fraud. Which, in Steinhoff’s case, was perpetrated on an industrial scale.” — Fin 24

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Jan Cronje
Jan Cronje
Fin24 Journalist based in Cape Town.

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