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    Chilean Retailer May Block Sale of Ahold Units

    SANTIAGO, Chile - Chilean retailer D&S said on Tuesday it may try to block the sale of Chilean assets by Dutch group Ahold through legal action aimed at forcing Ahold to fully repay an outstanding debt.

    SANTIAGO, Chile - Chilean retailer D&S said on Tuesday it may try to block the sale of Chilean assets by Dutch group Ahold through legal action aimed at forcing Ahold to fully repay an outstanding debt.

    D&S wants Ahold to pay back a $90 million debt, related to the sale of Argentine assets in 2000 in its full dollar amount, but Ahold has said it will pay the equivalent in the devalued Argentine peso currency, or about $46 million, D&S officials said.

    D&S, which operates Chile's largest supermarket chain, said it planned to fight the dispute in court, but declined to give details.

    One of several alternatives D&S is studying is a measure that would prohibit Ahold from selling any assets, effectively banning Ahold's planned sale of the Santa Isabel supermarket chain in Chile to local competitor Cencosud.

    Such a measure is taken when a creditor believes a debtor is reducing its capacity to pay back its debts to favor its ability to pay another.

    Ahold, which has until Friday to pay its debt, said earlier on Tuesday that a Chilean newspaper report saying D&S planned to block the sale of Santa Isabel was "unfounded."

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