Netherlands-based supermarket and foodservice operator Royal Ahold recorded a 1.21 billion euro net loss in 2002.
In spite of the loss, initial market reactions remained positive with a sense of relief that scandal-ridden Ahold's core business was proceeding according to plan. The company is trying to generate cash to pay down debt, which is estimated at around 10.8 billion euros.
"No major disappointment is good news," said analyst Jurgen Veenker at Fortis bank in Amsterdam. "The 2002 results publication means that many investors will start to revisit the story, and with any set of published figures we believe the credibility discount will start to narrow."
Accountants detected nearly one billion United States dollars in overstatements for the 2001 and 2002 years after they re-examined the books. This scandal spurred the resignations of Ahold's group chief executive and finance director, and several US Foodservice officials lost their jobs.
Ahold owns US grocery store chains including Tops Markets and Giant Food.