Ahold Cutting Costs

It details a turnaround plan.
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Ahold

(AHO)

set plans to cut annual costs by 500 million euros by 2009 and to name new operating chiefs in Europe and the U.S.

Ahold said it will also cut debt by 2 billion euros and return 2 billion euros more to shareholders.

The company will sell its Tops chain in the U.S. and sell retail operations in Poland and Slovakia.

The news comes as the Dutch foodservice giant completes a review of its operations, prompted by an accounting scandal three years ago.

"Since the crisis in 2003, we have completed a comprehensive revitalization program," said CEO Anders Moberg. "We have substantially reduced debt, divested noncore assets, transformed business and financial controls, and resolved multiple investigations and litigation issues.

"At the same time, we have implemented a successful repositioning program at Albert Heijn and ICA, and recovered significant value in U.S. Foodservice."