Elaine Watson
News that stricken Dutch retail/foodservice giant Ahold has sealed a crucial E3.1bn credit facility from its banks received a cautious welcome in the City.
The fact Ahold had negotiated lower interest cover than expected on the loan was seen as evidence more accounting revelations could be around the corner, while its decision to waive a dividend was "not encouraging".
Dresdener Kleinwort Wasserstein analyst Simon Dunn said: "This announcement only ensures the business is liquid until the end of May." Ahold shares rallied this week as Carrefour said it might be interested in some of Ahold's assets in the event of a breakup.
Speaking at Carrefour's full-year sales presentation, chief executive Daniel Bernard said: "We are not candidates to acquire Ahold, but if portions of the company were up for sale we would look at them."
His comments followed reports US private equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts might bid for Ahold's US retail division.
Schroder Salomon Smith Barney analyst James Anstead said Tesco was probably taking a look at Ahold's Hypernova hypermarkets and Albert supermarkets in Poland and the Czech Republic. It was possible Tesco might view the situation as a way of entering the US.
>>p38 Ahold in convenience

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