Ahold's Argentine Unit Shows Huge Loss for 2002

BUENOS AIRES - After a six-month delay, Disco SA, the troubled Argentine unit of Dutch supermarket retailer Royal Ahold NV , has released results for full-year 2002 that show a net loss of ARS2.6 billion ($1=ARS2.845) for 2002 in a filing to the Buenos Aires stock exchange Tuesday.

The company had been unable to report its results in line with national securities regulations amid accounting scandals at both Ahold and Disco that erupted in February. A company investigation of Disco's accounting practices resulted in Ahold installing a new c.e.o., c.f.o., and board members in the Argentine unit.

Ahold also released its own 2002 earnings earlier this month after a long delay. In July, the company announced it had wrapped up its internal companywide investigation that turned up about 970 million euros in faulty accounting. Problematic accounting at Disco made up about 8 million euros of that amount.

Ahold has put Disco up for sale, along with its other supermarket holdings in South America.

In its filing Tuesday, Disco said its total net worth as of Dec. 31, 2002, is a negative ARS451.7 million. The company didn't release results for previous periods. The year 2002 was devastating across the board for Argentine companies, as the country's economy contracted 10.9 percent.
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