Tops trouble

Dutch multinational retailer Ahold has revealed further accounting irregularities, this time at its US grocery chain Tops Markets. 

Ahold said internal investigations had unearthed "intentional accounting irregularities involving earnings management and misapplications of generally accepted accounting principles", which would dent pre-tax earnings by $29m. 

Earlier this year Ahold uncovered an $880m accounting hole at its US Foodservice arm and has also said it needs more time to deliver audited 2002 accounts. 

Ahold is conducting a separate internal investigation at its Argentinian supermarket chain Disco. 

Aussie fuel 

Australian retailer Coles Myer has linked up with Shell to operate 584 service stations across the country at which it will set pump prices as well as offer its customers fuel discounts. 

The sites will be branded both Coles Express and Shell. Coles said the alliance would contribute more than A$3bn in annual sales. 

The deal will kick off in July this year at more than 150 sites in the state of Victoria. 

The company will offer customers a fuel discount when they buy goods at Coles supermarkets, Bi-Lo discount stores and Liquorland liquor outlets. 

Baltic buy 

Baltic Beverages Holding, the 50:50 joint venture between Scottish & Newcastle and Carlsberg Breweries, has acquired its second brewery in Kazakhstan. BBH has signed an agreement to purchase the Ak-Nar brewery in Almaty for $30m. The vendors are EBRD (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development) and a private investor. The transaction will require competition authority approval. The brewery has been recently built and has a capacity of 60 million litres. BBH will also obtain the Derbes ( Independent') brand, which is the leading beer brand in southern capital Almaty. 

SAB 27% UP 

SABMiller, the world's second largest brewer, reported a 27% rise in pre-tax profit to $770m for the year to the end of March on sales more than doubling to $9.1bn. 

The company said total beverage volumes grew by 52%.