Shares in Poundland, Benson for Beds and Harveys owner crash

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Poundland was bought out by Steinhoff last year

Its European operation expanded a year ago to include United Kingdom discount retailer Poundland.

Shares in Poundland's parent firm Steinhoff International have lost nearly 60% of their value after its chief executive quit amid allegations of accounting irregularities.

The company said late on Tuesday that CEO Markus Jooste had resigned with immediate effect after the discovery of new information prompted the company's supervisory board to ask consultants PwC to perform an "independent investigation". "The supervisory board and the statutory auditors of the company have not yet finalised their review of certain matters and circumstances, most of which were raised by the criminal and tax investigation in Germany, as previously reported", Monday's statement said. It warned it might have to restate financial statements from prior years.

This came after Steinhoff International CEO Marcus Jooste announced his resignation on Tuesday night, causing an indefinite delay in the release of Steinhoff Holding's full-year results, which were scheduled for release on Wednesday.

Shareholders and other investors in Steinhoff are advised to exercise caution when dealing in the securities of the Group.

As well as furniture and homeware, it also sells products including clothing, footwear and consumer goods. It already owned Bensons for Beds and Harveys at that time.

Steinhoff's largest shareholder and chairman, billionaire Christo Wiese, will take over in an executive capacity on an interim basis. Steinhoff derives about 60% of its earnings in Europe and 34% in Africa.

Steinhoff has been aggressively expanding in developed markets since moving its primary share listing from Johannesburg to Frankfurt in 2015, snapping up Britain's Poundland, U.S-based Mattress Firm and Australia's Fantastic.

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

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