ZANDAAM, Netherlands -- Ahold here said late last month that published reports concerning a top company official who violated financial disclosure laws were "very exaggerated."
According to the reports, Cees van der Hoeven, Ahold's president and chief executive officer, allegedly disclosed sales results Oct. 21 to a gathering of investment analysts in New York before those results were made available to the public at large.
A company spokeswoman told SN, "He was talking about the market in general using soft numbers. He didn't disclose any finals numbers because they just weren't available at that time."
However, a London-based equity analyst, who requested anonymity, told SN that although he was not present at the gathering, "I know what I'm hearing in the market, and I'm pretty sure there's been some disclosure. It's a highly unusual set of affairs. The Ahold people and van der Hoeven are very experienced people, and I think there will be a regulatory issue here."
Meanwhile, on Oct. 28 Ahold released its sales results for the third quarter. Sales rose 5.8% to 16.4 billion euros ($16 billion), while U.S. retail sales were up 11.5% to $6 billion, but U.S. same-store sales declined 0.2%. In Ahold's U.S. food-service operations, sales increased by 43.4% to $4 billion, fueled largely by acquisitions.