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Last Updated:  Sunday, 2 March, 2003, 10:46 GMT
Tesco 'surveys Ahold wreckage'
Ahold store in Prague
Ahold: Europe's worst accounting scandal
Tesco is considering a 10bn international expansion by swooping on the assets of beleaguered Dutch retailer Ahold, a report says.

Ahold, the world's third largest grocer, has become vulnerable to a takeover after admitting $500m worth of accounting irregularities last week.

The firm's share price was decimated and there is increasing speculation that it will be unable to cope with its debts despite an emergency loan package.

A high-level committee of Tesco executives will present their recommendations to the UK grocer's chief, Sir Terry Leahy, later this week, the Independent on Sunday reported.

Overseas ambitions

Analysts say Ahold is likely to be forced to sell-off businesses in order to survive, with units in Asia, eastern Europe and Spain the most likely candidates for the chop.

The sharp decline in Ahold's share price since the revelation of accounting errors also leaves it open to a complete takeover, experts say.

Tesco already commands a lion's share of the UK shopping business, and is focussing its growth plans overseas.

Tesco has no presence in Holland and only a small online presence in the US, and could be attracted by these Ahold assets.

The two grocers also have existing businesses in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland and Thailand.

Deserting Safeway?

The Independent reports that Tesco will have to abandon its 3bn bid for Safeway if it chooses to pursue Ahold.

But some experts suspected that Tesco's bid for Safeway was little more than a spoiling tactic in any case.

Other likely buyers of Ahold include US retail giant Walmart and its French counterpart Carrefour.




SEE ALSO:
SEC probe deepens Ahold woes
26 Feb 03 |  Business
Worries mount for Ahold
25 Feb 03 |  Business


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