ID NEWS: USF to focus on 'doing everything right,' as public scrutiny intensifies

Beleaguered Royal Ahold's woes continue to mount: Both the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the U.S. Attorney General have announced they will launch investigations into the accounting irregularities discovered at the Dutch company's U.S. Foodservice (USF) subsidiary, concerning promo allowance programs.

At the same time, the resultant precipitous drop in stock price has triggered at least one shareholder suit: The law firm of Fuchter & Twersky LLP has announced a class action suit filed on February 25 on behalf of purchasers of Ahold securities between June 7, 2001 and February 24, 2003. The action is pending before the Hon. Kimba M. Wood in the U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, NY.

Meanwhile, the Columbia, MD-based national broadliner is doing its part to address the crisis. "We need to take care of our employees to make sure they understand that this in no way affects the need to service customers well; if we take care of our employees and customers, we will be fine," comments Rob Dillison, USF cfo. Dillison adds that USF will be very internally focused as a consequence of the revelations and will place a priority on making sure the company is doing everything right prior to any future growth planning.

As to speculations that Ahold will be forced to divest USF, Dillison says that speculations are no more than that.

At the same time, the distributor says the situation in no way affects plans for its major national food show next month in Las Vegas.


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