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ID NEWS: USF employees not impacted by Ahold stock woes, distributor points out

U.S. Foodservice (USF) employees will not be hurt monetarily by Ahold's current difficulties on the stock market, notes Rob Dillison, USF treasurer. Dillison's remarks are in response to conjectures that the Columbia, MD, based distributor's personnel would share the problems of Dutch employees of Royal Ahold, their mutual parent, publicized yesterday in the New York Times.

According to the Times, negative fallout following Ahold's report earlier this week of an accounting irregularity at USF "left thousands of its Dutch employees in debt to the company." This is because the international corporate giant "encouraged" its Netherlands employees not only to buy stock but allowed them to borrow money to do so, the Times said.

This is "not another Enron," Dillison points out. "We have a 401K plan that's relatively new, Ahold stock is only one option, and there is no pressure to invest. Also, since we have been part of Ahold only a couple of years, there would have been insufficient time for anyone to accumulate enough stock to get hurt."

The irregularities in USF promo accounting, reported earlier this week, along with other unrelated issues, indeed caused problems for Ahold shareholders, as stock and bond value plunged. As a consequence, several shareholder suits have been brought. Also, a New York pension fund-the New York Hotel Trades Council and Hotel Association of New York City Inc. Pension Fund--has just announced it is suing certain key officers and directors of Ahold for allegedly issuing "false and misleading" financial statements.

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