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    Delhaize '02 Net Profit increases 19.8 percent

    BRUSSELS -- Belgian retailer Delhaize Freres et Compagnie-Le Lion Thursday announced in 2002 its reported earnings increased by 19.3 percent to EUR178.3 million.

    BRUSSELS -- Belgian retailer Delhaize Freres et Compagnie-Le Lion Thursday announced in 2002 its reported earnings increased by 19.3 percent to EUR178.3 million. On a per share basis net earnings were EUR1.94 compared to EUR1.88 in 2001, an increase of 3.0 percent.

    Delhaize Group realized EUR300.2 million free cash flow in 2002.
    The Group's net debt decreased from EUR 4.8 billion at the end of 2001 to EUR3.9 billion at the end of 2002 due to the application of free cash flow and the weaker dollar.
    "Organic sales growth of 2.1 percent, a 3 percent increase in reported earnings per share and an improvement of 18 percentage points in our key net debt to equity ratio represent some of the highlights for 2002,

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