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ZAANDAM, The Netherlands - Ahold is set to fight another adverse ruling by an Argentine court that could derail the $315 million sale of its Disco supermarket chain in Argentina.
The development comes as the Dutch company awaits the outcome of separate legal negotiations following Dutch and U.S. investor demands for an independent probe of Ahold management in the wake of a $1.3 billion accounting scandal that erupted nearly two years ago.
The South American dispute centers on whether proper antitrust approval was received before the sale by Ahold of its Disco supermarket chain to Cencosud of Chile.
Ahold announced the transfer of the controlling interest in Disco -- which operates 237 stores as the second-largest supermarket group in Argentina -- to Cencosud on Nov. 1, 2004, following an earlier announcement of the transaction on March 5, 2004. But the process stalled after judges denied Ahold's appeal against antitrust infringement claims brought by a local farmers' association and upheld by a lower court.
"The adverse court orders could lead the parties to reverse the transfer of the Disco shares to Cencosud, at least temporarily," the Dutch company said. It is preparing an appeal to the Argentine Supreme Court.