International News - Ahold in profit despite £340m earnings drop

Ahold says it will not make a loss for 2002, despite having to slash EUR500 million (£340 million) from earnings for the past two years because of accounting irregularities.

The Dutch retailer's supervisory board chairman Henny de Ruiter told reporters that he has 'ruled out a 2002 net loss'.

De Ruiter has been at the helm of the business since the departures of chief executive Cees van der Hoeven and finance director Michael Meurs.

Ahold aims to sell stores in Peru and Paraguay, which are operated by its Chile-based subsidiary, Santa Isabel. The retailer is offloading Chilean shops to local player Cencosud and searching for an exit from its 53-store operations in Peru and Paraguay.