Ahold said investigators looking into fraud at the Dutch group’s businesses had found an additional
73m euros of "intentional accounting irregularities" which could hit the group’s pre-tax earnings.

Ahold said it had completed internal accounting investigations across all its businesses and that the “improper purchase accounting” at US Foodservice “may require adjustment in 2002 and restatements in one or more prior years”.

Accountants said that the 73m euros was not included in pre-tax earnings reductions of $856m previously announced at $880m, related to US Foodservice.

Irregularities of $29m were also found at Tops Markets, and an amount of 8m euros at its Argentine supermarket chain Disco.

Meanwhile, Ahold has said that due to the internal probes it will file its annual report as soon as “practically possible”.