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Ex-Ahold execs to Return Part of Bonus

AMSTERDAM, Netherlands. - Two former principal executives of the global supermarket and food giant Royal Ahold will give back an undisclosed amount from their bonuses for the years 2000 and 2001, according to news reports.

The concession by Cees van der Hoeven, former ceo, and Michael Meurs, ex-cfo, follows a move by Ahold this week to require four lower-ranking executives who are still with the company to return part of their bonuses.

Van der Hoeven and Meurs resigned last February after it became know that Ahold exaggerated earnings by more than $1 billion in 2000-02, mostly due to inflated sales at its American subsidiary, U.S. Foodservice, Columbia, Md. Jim Miller of the distributorship also resigned and Lawrence Benjamin was hired as president of the second largest distributor in the U.S.

Ahold spokesman Fritz Schmuhl said the four current executives would return the "excess" part of their bonuses that was based on the company's financial performance in 2002 and 2001. They received a total of 4.7 million euros in bonuses in 2001 (valued at $5.4 million today).

Ahold recently reported preliminary and unaudited consolidated net sales for 2003 56.1 billion euros ($72 billion), a decline of 10.5% compared with 62.7 billion euros ($80.5 billion) generated in the previous year. The overall impact of acquisitions and divestments on net sales growth in 2003 was 0.7%. Net sales at U.S. Foodservice increased by 2.3% to $17.8 billion, compared with $17.4 billion in the previous year. In the fourth quarter, sales at the distributorship increased by 6% to $4.2 billion, compared with $3.9 billion in 2002.

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