Steinhoff International's shares crashed on Wednesday after it revealed "accounting irregularities" and its CEO quit, shocking investors who had backed the rapid reinvention of a South African furniture chain into an global retail empire.
Steinhoff's African businesses include a range of credit-based household goods retailers and the company also has extensive interests in Europe.
Steinhoff's stock was down by 68 percent in Frankfurt on Wednesday, while its latest bond sold in July fell by more than 40 points, after the company said late Tuesday that "new information has come to light today which relates to accounting irregularities requiring further investigation".
Its European operation expanded previous year to include United Kingdom discount retailer Poundland. Attempts to contact Jooste were not immediately successful.
Jooste's sudden resignation marks the end of his 30 years with the business.
Steinhoff shares had previously slumped 18% on Monday and Tuesday.
Stories of the "accounting irregularities" surfaced first in 2015 and then again in August of this year in a German magazine that German authorities were investigating a claimed fraud.
Well, Steinhoff employs around 3000 people as perhaps the biggest foreign investor in Australian retailing.
Steinhoff nearly merged with Shoprite earlier this year which would have formed Africa's largest retailer but the plans were scrapped in February.
It has revealed its veteran chief executive, Markus Jooste, "has tendered his resignation with immediate effect and the board has accepted the resignation".
The company is involved in ongoing civil litigation - including with a former joint-venture partner - and the outcome "should result in monetary remedy to be paid by the group", Steinhoff said in August. Steinhoff said at the time it was "fully committed" to support the probe.
Steinhoff International debt also plunged, with €800m of senior unsecured bonds due in 2025 falling as much as 41 cents on the euro, to 42 cents, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.