February 15, 2018 / 4:10 PM / 3 months ago

UPDATE 1-Steinhoff appoints chief restructuring officer

* Former global head of restructuring at KPMG appointed

* Steinhoff to hold annual shareholders’ meeting on April 20

* Agenda includes proposals for appointment of current acting members of management board (Recasts with appointment of restructuring officer)

JOHANNESBURG, Feb 15 (Reuters) - Steinhoff International has appointed Richard Heis as Chief Restructuring Officer for the group, it said on Thursday, as the troubled South African retailer wrestles with the fallout from an accounting scandal.

Steinhoff, whose more than 40 brands include Britain’s Poundland, revealed accounting irregularities in December, causing an 85 percent fall in its share price that wiped more than $10 billion off its market value and a raft of changes in its boardroom and leadership.

It has since been scrambling to sell assets and find short-term funds to avoid parts of its business pulling down the sprawling empire which became one of the world’s largest household goods retailers.

“We are delighted that Richard has agreed to join the Group at this critical time and we are sure that his expertise and experience will bring significant benefit to the Group as Steinhoff develops a plan to address the Group’s financial indebtedness,” acting chairwoman Heather Sonn said in a statement.

Heis was previously Global Head of restructuring at KPMG, based in London, and has some 25 years’ experience of restructuring complex and international groups, Steinhoff said after the market close.

It said separately that it would hold its annual shareholders’ meeting on April 20.

The annual meeting’s agenda would include proposals for the appointment of the current acting members of the management board, as well as the appointment and re-election of members of its supervisory board.

The retailer added that the proposed adoption of its financial statements for the year ended Sept. 30 would not be put to shareholders at the meeting, citing an ongoing investigation by accounting firm PwC into accounting issues.

Steinhoff, which has asked PwC to get to the bottom of its accounting problems, warned in January that it will have to restate its 2015 accounts and maybe earlier figures, having already warned on its 2016 numbers. PWC’s review has suggested that accounting irregularities may stretch beyond 2015.

A separate general meeting of shareholders will be convened as soon as possible once the 2017 consolidated accounts have been finalised, Steinhoff said on Thursday. (Reporting by Noor Zainab Hussain in Bengaluru and Nqobile Dludla in Johannesburg; Editing by David Holmes and Kirsten Donovan)

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