Ahold to Focus on Retail Review, Not Shareholder Calls for Divestment

AMSTERDAM -- Although Royal Ahold here says while it has 'taken notice' of two institutional shareholders' attempts to discuss restructuring the company, it would rather focus its energies on its current retail review, a report of which is due this fall.

In published reports, Ahold's spokesman Walter Samuels said c.f.o. John Rishton has not spoken with representatives of Centaurus and Paulson, and he wouldn't comment on reports that Ahold had outright rejected meetings with Centaurus and Paulson, whose holdings in the company come to 6.4 percent. The two shareholders, both hedge funds, earlier called for Ahold to sell off its American divisions and focus on its core European business.

The two hedge funds are reportedly soliciting support from fellow Ahold shareholders, including investment advisory firm Brandes and banking and insurance services provider Fortis, to contribute to a restructuring plan for Ahold.

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