International News - Swedish chain drops Ahold name

Scandinavian food retailer ICA AB has dropped Ahold from its company name, even though the beleaguered Dutch group still has a 50 per cent stake in the business.

Sweden's market-leading food retailer, formerly known as ICA Ahold AB, denied the decision was because of the Ahold accounting scandal and consequent fall-out.

In a statement, ICA said: 'We began entertaining the idea of a name change in the autumn of 2002. The new names (including subsidiaries) are clearer and simpler.' ICA added that the change would give the business a clearer market stance by 'introducing a cohesive name structure'.

Ahold is to present bankers with last year's audited accounts on Tuesday.

The retailer was rocked by an accounting scandal at its US Foodservice division in February, following the overstatement of profits by about US$800 million (£483.7 million).

After the audited results are presented, the global retail giant is expected to unveil plans for a refinancing package worth about EUR6 billion (£4.16 billion). It is thought that the deal will comprise a rights issue, convertible bond and asset sales amounting to about EUR2 billion (£1.39 billion) each.

According to reports, Ahold is being advised on a rights issue by JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and Rabobank of the Netherlands.