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Ahold Divests Dutch Candy Store Chain

ZAANDAM, Netherlands - Troubled global retailer Ahold today announced the divestment of its Dutch candy store chain Jamin Winkelbedrijf B.V. Through a management buy-out, Jamin's current executive team will continue to run the company as an independent entity. The transaction is expected to close in the second quarter of 2003. The transaction sum was not disclosed.

The transaction includes all five Jamin chain stores and their inventory, stock and debtors. The 137 franchise stores will continue to conduct their business with Jamin.

Jamin has been part of Ahold's Dutch store portfolio since 1993.

The planned divestment is part of Ahold's strategic plan to restructure its portfolio to focus on core activities and to concentrate on its mature and most stable markets.

In other Ahold news, the company declined to comment on a report in the Financial Times it has drawn up plans to sell U.S. Foodservice, the wholesaling unit at the heart of a $900 million accounting scandal.

"These are rumours and speculation. I can't comment on those," Ahold spokeswoman Carina Hamakers said.

Citing people familiar with the situation, FT said Ahold's interim chief financial officer Dudley Eustace had drawn up plans to sell all or part of Foodservice to help cut the group's $14 billion debt mountain and draw a line under the damaging affair.
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