JSE weaker after Steinhoff loses 60% in the wake of Jooste’s resignation

Steinhoff results presentation. Markus  Jooste CEO. September 9, 2014.
Steinhoff results presentation. Markus Jooste CEO. September 9, 2014.
Image: Raymond Preston

The JSE opened weaker on Wednesday‚ as sentiment was hit by a massive sell-off in Steinhoff following the announcement that long-serving CEO Markus Jooste was stepping down with immediate effect.

Steinhoff’s share price fell 61.5% immediately after the opening‚ as shareholders in the previously highly rated company dumped shares in an unprecedented manner.

Steinhoff has been plagued by allegations of dodgy and unreported accounting practices for months‚ amid a potential investigation by German tax authorities.

The company announced in a statement late on Tuesday that Jooste‚ who has been CEO since 2000‚ had tendered his resignation. The group’s chairman‚ retail tycoon Christo Wiese‚ alongside former Pepkor CEO Pieter Erasmus‚ will run Steinhoff until a new CEO is appointed‚

“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‚” the statement said.

The group was set to release annual results on Wednesday‚ but previously indicated they would be unaudited.

At 9.30am Steinhoff was down 51.81% to R22‚ with all companies linked to Wiese experiencing selling pressure. Steinhoff African Retail‚ after opening 20% lower‚ was down 13.62% at R21.25 as CEO Ben la Grange also decided to step down.

KAP Industrial Holdings dropped 7.73% to R8 and Brait 5.64% to R42.02. Bucking the trend‚ Wiese’s newly acquired diamond interests in Trans Hex were up 3.09% to R2.

The all share was 0.86% lower at 58‚467.70 points and the blue-chip top 40 fell 0.84%. Industrials shed 1.59%‚ resources 0.37% and general retailers 0.20%. The gold index rose 0.56% and property 0.46%‚ passing its previous best level recorded in July 2016.

Market heavyweight Naspers‚ which is also facing a potentially debilitating law suit involving a class suit in the US‚ lost 3.98% to R3‚379.95. Chinese internet company Tencent‚ of which Naspers owns about a third‚ lost 1.5% in Hong Kong trade as tech shares retreated on a weaker close on the Dow.

The Dow closed 0.45% lower at 24‚180.64 points on Tuesday after a tech-led bounce failed to hold on to its gains.

Asian markets continued to slide‚ with mining companies dragging the MSCI Asia-Pacific index lower for the eighth day. The Nikkei 225 shed 1.97% and the Hang Seng 1.58%.

Anglo American dropped 1.42% to R244.48.

Nedbank lost 0.87% to R231.26‚ but Standard Bank gained 0.28% to R181.

UK property group Hammerson was flat at R97‚ but Intu jumped 22.17% to R44.21 after Hammerson announced an all-share offer to acquire Intu’s entire issued share capital.

Nepi Rockcastle added 1.32% to R214.79.

Sappi was 0.79% lower at R94. The group announced on Tuesday an intention to acquire a speciality paper business in Europe.

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