Ahold could still have to buy additional ICA stake

Dutch Ahold may still have to buy all or part of a 20 percent stake in Nordic retailer ICA if the Forbundet organisation does not take up all of the ICA shares offered by Norway's Canica, it said on Wednesday.

Dutch Ahold may still have to buy all or part of a 20 percent stake in Nordic retailer ICA if the Forbundet organisation does not take up all of the ICA shares offered by Norway's Canica, it said on Wednesday.
A spokesman for the world's third-largest food retailer said Forbundet had 50 days to make a decision on whether to accept all or part of the 20 percent stake offered by the holding company of Norwegian businessman Erik Hagen.

Ahold has earmarked 2.1 billion euros in its financial planning for the possibility it may have to buy out both joint-venture partners from leading Scandinavian retailer ICA, of which 840 million for the Canica stake.

Ahold finance director Hannu Ryopponen said the funds would be used to lower debts if the Zaandam-based group did not have to raise its ICA stake. Ahold is at the start of an asset sale and debt reduction programme after its finances became unhinged in the wake of an accounting scandal that broke early last year.