Ahold earnings rise on sale of Scandinavian supermarket chain ICA

AMSTERDAM – Royal Ahold NV, the Dutch owner of U.S. grocery chains Stop & Shop and Giant, says its first-quarter earnings rose sharply on the sale of the Scandinavian unit ICA. It said Tuesday underlying business was flat as shrinking margins offset rising sales.

Net profit was 1.95 billion euros ($2.55 billion), from 285 million euros in the same period a year ago. The figure includes a 1.75 billion euro gain from the sale of Ahold’s stake in ICA to Sweden’s Hakon Invest. Sales rose 4.1 per cent to 10.1 billion euros, stripping ICA from both years.

Sales were $8.1 billion in the U.S., and 3.5 billion euros in the Netherlands, with both countries showing a 1.8 per cent rise in same-store sales.

Shares rose 0.5 per cent to 12.62 euros in early Amsterdam trading.