Ahold is to sell it Malaysian activities, operating under the name of Tops Retail to Dairy Farm Giant Retail, a subsidiary of Hong Kong-based Dairy Farm International.

The move is part of the Dutch group’s plans to focus on its core businesses as it tries to reduce debt amid a raft of alleged financial mistatements.

The deal involves 34 stores and one grocery distribution centre.

Meanwhile, Ahold has also succeeded in extending for 60 days an outstanding $450m of its securitization programme for its US Foodservice unit, which is under scrutiny by officials Stateside for overstating accounts.

Ahold also said accountants Deloitte & Touche have resumed the audit of its Dutch supermarkets Albert Heijn and Stop & Shop in the US.

The delivery of audited 2002 financial statements for these units by May 31 is a precondition for a second $915m tranche of an ongoing 3.1bn euros credit facility being made available, the company said.

Ahold must also deliver audited 2002 consolidated financial statements by June 30 for the tranche to remain available.