Ahold will not sell its scandal-rocked subsidiary US Foodservice until it has a clearer idea of its long-term strategic value, shareholders were told at the Dutch retailer’s agm.

Outlining the Dutch company’s future strategy, new chief executive Anders Moberg said selling the unit - where it emerged that profits had been massively overstated earlier in the year - would create a “massive destruction of shareholder value”.

Management was “fairly convinced” Ahold would be able to deliver audited 2002 results by September 30, critical to securing a €2.65bn credit facility. Ahold is to cut 440 jobs at Dutch supermarket chain Albert Heijn as part of a bid to reduce debts and restore investor confidence. The disposal of the bulk of its South American operations and some businesses in Asia should be completed by the end of the year.