Ahold Shares Rise

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Ahold Shares Rise

NEW YORK -- Shares in Ahold rose as the market welcomed the news that the company's new chief executive will unveil a new strategy Sept. 4, even before 2002 results are known, to rebuild the shattered confidence of shareholders who saw their investments evaporate in the wake of the accounting scandal, Reuters reports.

Anders Moberg, former boss of the Ikea furniture chain, had previously asked for a honeymoon period through October to devise a plan to restore order to the world's third-largest retailer after an accounting scandal erupted in February. In a statement, Ahold said it would also explain the delay in the release of consolidated 2002 financial statements and officially confirm the appointments of Anders Moberg as chief executive and president, and Hannu Ryopponen as chief financial officer.

The Dutch retailer is selling its operations in Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Peru, and Paraguay to help reduce its debt of $13.6 billion.

While the fate of the company's troubled U.S. Foodservice unit hangs in the balance, analysts believe Moberg may be tempted to wait until a stronger U.S. economy and the passage of time boost the value of the No. 2 American supplier to the catering trade. Ahold said Aug. 8 that its banks had given it until Sept. 30 to complete its results -- a condition to secure a lifeline credit facility -- which had been due Aug. 15.

The retailer also said it would publish unaudited financial information on its flagship Dutch supermarket Albert Heijn and its U.S. Stop & Shop division, which it has already given to its banking syndicate.