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Reuters reports that auditor Deloitte & Touche in Santiago, Chile, has told regulators there that it cannot complete the audit of the 2002 annual report of Ahold’s Santa Isabel division.

The reason: "It has not been possible to complete some procedures of the audit," Deloitte & Touche said in its report to securities regulators, because Santa Isabel had not provided “some earnings balance details” for the 2002 fiscal year.

Ahold is negotiating the sale of Santa Isabel to Chile's Cencosud group, and has announced that it plans to sell all of its South American holdings in an effort to reduce debt of about $12 billion. The company is reeling from a financial scandal, the centerpiece of which is a $500 million overstatement of profits by its US Foodservice division.

Among the companies reportedly talking to Ahold about acquiring its South American operations: Wal-Mart and Carrefour.
KC's View:
Drip…drip…drip…the news about Ahold just continues to slip out.

There’s no indication that that the faucet will be turned off anytime soon.