business news in context, analysis with attitude

The International Herald Tribune reports this morning that Royal Ahold executives are saying that as they attempt to return the company to respectability after a year in which an accounting scandal rocked its world, it remains possible that the company will sell off some US holdings to help pay off a pressing debt.

In previous statements, the company has said that it will not sell its US Foodservice division, preferring to hold onto it until the division's value can be restored and make it more saleable.

Bruno's and Bi-Lo are considered by analysts to be the most likely candidates to be sold.

CEO Anders Moberg also said charges are likely to be filed against some executives at US Foodservice, where overstated earnings created a firestorm of criticism and regulatory investigations on both sides of the Atlantic.

In other Ahold news…

  • The company said that CEO, Anders Moberg could get a 250 percent bonus this year if he reaches certain performance goals.

    Moberg's base salary is $1.2 million. The potential bonus could be as high as $2.8 million.

    There are three separate categories in which Moberg must perform: financial, strategic, and stabilization, with a variety of criteria applicable to each category.

  • Chilean retailer Cencosud announced that it will work with Capital International, AIG Capital Partners and the International Finance Corp. to acquire Ahold's Argentine Disco supermarket chain.

    The cost of the acquisition is estimated to be between $200 million and $350 million. The deal is expected to close by the end of the year.

  • Published reports say that France's Carrefour is strongly considering making a bid for at least part of Ahold's Spanish operations, which the Dutch retailer is planning to sell as part of its move to divest non-core operations.

KC's View:
We wonder if Ahold shareholders - already reeling from mismanagement of the company over the past year - will be sympathetic to Moberg's level of compensation.

After all, it almost implies that if Moberg completely screws up, he still makes more than a million bucks a year…and that he gets a bonus just for doing his job right.