Poundland parent company Steinhoff International has seen its shares plummet 66 per cent as chief executive Markus Jooste resigned with immediate effect amid an accounting scandal.
The South African company has also postponed its full-year results, which were meant to be released today.
Steinhoff said the discovery of “new information” prompted the firm to draft in PwC to perform an “independent investigation”.
“The supervisory board of Steinhoff wishes to advise shareholders that new information has come to light today which relates to accounting irregularities requiring further investigation,” it said in a statement.
While the company has been under investigation for suspected accounting irregularities by a state prosecutor in Germany since 2015, it is not clear if these are the accounting irregularities the company was referring to in its statement.
The news prompted its shares to plunge to an eight-year low of 15.87 rand (87p) on the Johannesburg securities exchange, wiping 60 per cent of the company’s value.
Shares were also down by 66 per cent on the German stock exchange.
Jooste’s sudden resignation marks the end of his 30 years with the business.
Steinhoff’s largest shareholder and chairman, billionaire Christo Wiese, will take over in an executive capacity on an interim basis.
He will be advised by Pieter Erasmus, the former chief executive of Steinhoff subsidiary Pepkor Group, in overseeing the retail portfolio.
Steinhoff is the owner of more than 40 brands in over 30 countries. In the UK, along with Poundland it also owns Bensons for Beds and Harveys.