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ID YIELDS AND DEALS: Ahold's rights issue successful

ZAANDAM, The Netherlands--Shareholders have subscribed to more than 90% of an offering of 3 billion euros of new shares by Royal Ahold, parent of U.S. Foodservice, Columbia, MD, according to the Walls Street Journal. Shareholders reportedly exercised their rights to 94.6% of the new shares by the close of the offering Wednesday afternoon.

Although the shares were offered at a steep discount, the success of the offering signaled faith in Ahold's ability to turn around its business, according to Gert Jan Geels, a Eureffect asset manager quoted by WSJ.

Shareholders subscribed to 587.3 million new shares, leaving 33.7 million outstanding, which will be placed privately with a selected group of institutional investors. Shareholders also subscribed to 109.9 million depositary receipts as part of the overall offering. The new shares will start trading December 17.

Ahold said it hopes that the rights offering, coupled with recent asset sales in other countries, will help end financial worries, which include a major overstatement of profit monies at USF this year. It is expected to help Ahold meet debt obligations over the next couple of years.

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