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Ahold Expands Buyback, Revamps Pension

AMSTERDAM — Ahold here said Tuesday that it has increased its share buyback program to about $2.6 billion in the wake of the sale of its ICA subsidiary.


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In addition, the company said it took a pre-tax charge of $82 million in the first fiscal quarter related to the settlement of a multiemployer pension plan with the New England Teamsters and the Trucking Industry Pension Fund.

Ahold said it received about $3.27 billion from the disposition of ICA, which provided most of the company’s $2.5 billion in net income for the quarter. Underlying operating income in the U.S. was flat at about $328 million, compared with the year-ago quarter. As previously reported, U.S. sales were $8.1 billion, up 3.4% due to identical-store sales growth of 1.8% —1.9% excluding gasoline — and benefiting from the inclusion of 15 former Genuardi's stores acquired last year. “

We delivered a strong margin performance [in the U.S.], thanks to strict cost control,” said Dick Boer, chief executive officer, Ahold. He added that the pension realignment “limits our liability while cost-effectively safeguarding the pensions earned by employees.”

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