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ID NEWS UPDATE: Ahold acting ceo says company won't sell USF; accounting irregularities do not impac

Royal Ahold has no plans to sell U.S. Foodservice (USF), Columbia, MD, according to acting ceo Henny de Ruiter. "Selling foodservice? No, we are very comfortable with U.S. Foodservice-not with its problems, of course-but we are with them for the long term," de Ruiter noted during a conference call.

Earlier this morning, financial circles were rocked by Ahold's announcement that accounting irregularities had been discovered in relation to USF promo allowance programs. The $17.5-billion distributor's parent believes that USF operating earnings for 2001 and expected operating earnings for fiscal 2002 may have been overstated by more than US $500 million.

As a consequence of this and other unrelated problems, Ahold CEO Cees van der Hoeven and CFO Michael Meurs are resigning. In addition, certain senior executives of the USF purchasing and marketing management team have been suspended, while outside legal counsel and independent forensic accountants investigate.

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