Ahold Overstated Profit by $880 Million

From Reuters

Royal Ahold, the global supermarket group, said it overstated profit at a U.S. unit by $880 million but said only two executives, since fired, were behind it.

The announcement was met with a mix of relief and skepticism. Investors drove its stock 9% higher in U.S. trading on hopes it meant that the problems were isolated and easily contained.

Ahold said it had found no signs of fraud at other units. The company, which is being probed by U.S. regulators, said it was confident it could finish auditing its 2002 results by the end of June, meeting a crucial deadline to secure bank financing.

Ahold’s shares rose 52 cents to $6.30 on the NYSE.