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    Ahold Said Eyeing U.S., Eastern European Expansion

    AMSTERDAM -- Royal Ahold c.e.o. Anders Moberg said he is eager for the retail conglomerate he helms to grow further in the United States, and in Eastern Europe.

    AMSTERDAM -- Royal Ahold c.e.o. Anders Moberg said he is eager for the retail conglomerate he helms to grow further in the United States, and in Eastern Europe.

    In an interview in Swedish business magazine Affarsvarlden, Moberg outlined a three-step process, the first being to cut costs further in such areas as purchasing. Second, he said, the retailer would increase its penetration in its existing markets in Europe and the United States. Third, the company would look at nearby markets for acquisition or merger opportunities.

    Ahold, which is in the midst of an ambitious long-term "Road to Recovery" restructuring program to save it from financial ruin, previously said it was interested in "fill-in acquisitions" as well as buying parts of Dutch competitor Laurus, which has put two of its supermarket chains up for sale for about 250 million euros.

    "We have around 3,000 stores now," Moberg said. "This year will involve buying separate, smaller chains; building new stores; moving stores; and investing in current stores in Holland, east and central Europe; and in the U.S.A."

    According to Moberg, Ahold could expand in the United States to the south, west, and north. He didn't exclude Canada from this expansion, as long as the company could have the top or No. 2 company in the market in a reasonable amount of time.

    As for Eastern Europe, Moberg expressed interest in expanding from the Netherlands and Central Europe into Russia, and from the Baltic region into Ukraine.

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