Steinhoff share price plunges as PwC forensic report, audited results delayed

Steinhoff, which has more than 40 retail brands that include France’s Conforama and British chain Poundland, is trying to emerge from a crisis after admitting “accounting irregularities” in December, wiping about 85 percent off its market value and triggering a liquidity crisis.

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JOHANNESBURG, Dec 6 (Reuters) – Steinhoff International Holdings share price fell almost 11 per cent in early morning trade to R1.59 after revealing that it now expects to publish its group audited financial statements for 2017 and 2018 by mid-April 2019, as a forensic investigation by auditors PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has been delayed, the retailer said on Thursday.

The probe by PwC into the company’s affairs is now expected to be completed by the end of February 2019, and the final investigation report will be available to the company shortly thereafter, Steinhoff said.

Steinhoff, which has more than 40 retail brands that include France’s Conforama and British chain Poundland, is trying to emerge from a crisis after admitting “accounting irregularities” in December, wiping about 85 percent off its market value and triggering a liquidity crisis.

READ: Inside the Steinhoff saga, one of the biggest cases of corporate fraud in South African business history

“Unfortunately, despite significant efforts being exerted by all parties, it is now clear that the timeline for completing the group consolidated financial reporting and audit process has shifted and it will not be possible for all the work required to be finalised within the original timeframe,” the company said in a statement.

The 2017 and 2018 financial statements of the company’s wholly owned subsidiary, Steinhoff Investment Holdings Ltd, will be released shortly after the group’s results.

The retailer said once the forensic report findings and the final accounting treatments are resolved by the group, the statutory auditors need to complete the outstanding audit processes for all of the years involved in the build-up to these financial statements. (Reporting by Nqobile Dludla; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri)