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Ahold Supervisory Chairman Rules Out A 2002 Net Loss

AMSTERDAM -- Troubled Dutch retail giant Ahold NV will not post a 2002 net loss, despite it being forced to slice around EUR500 million off its earnings of the last several years because of accounting irregularities, said the company's supervisory board chairman Henny de Ruiter according to a Dow Jones report.
De Ruiter took over at Ahold after the company's chief executive and chief financial officers were forced to leave after the discovery of irregularities at the company's U.S. Foodservice unit.

He said that Ahold is still working on finding a new CEO, adding he didn't rule out the company appointing an interim top executive at some point, instead of a permanent new chief.

The company has already appointed an interim Chief Financial officer.

Investors are still waiting for Ahold's 2002 results, the publication of which the company delayed after its accounting problems surfaced. The company should produce a report before the start of May, as required by the Euronext Amsterdam, the local bourse operator. De Ruiter said that it is "unclear" whether Ahold will meet that deadline.

De Ruiter declined to go into questions about the company's financial health, about which investors are now very worried. He also declined to comment on a reported difference of opinion between the company and its ousted executives about their financial exit arrangements.

Ahold shares have plummeted after the news about its U.S. unit came out. They closed at EUR3.05 in Amsterdam Thursday.
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