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AMSTERDAM, Netherlands - Ahold said on Wednesday it has secured more than 3 billion euros ($3.08 billion) in credit from five banks, but had to pledge as collateral its most highly prized supermarket chains, The Associated Press reports.
Ahold said it had entered into a year-long revolving credit facility with five Dutch and U.S. banks to provide $3.4 billion. Ahold needed the money to finance day-to-day operations after it lost its old credit line, for $2.2 billion, as a result of bookkeeping inconsistencies at its subsidiary U.S. Foodservice of Columbia, Md.
More than half the loan is secured by a pledge of shares of Ahold's three most valuable grocery companies, as well as other, undisclosed properties, according to a company spokeswoman. She said the three pledged companies are Giant Food, Stop & Shop Supermarket Co., and the Dutch chain Albert Heijn, the original core of Ahold's business.
Ahold's supervisory board chairman, Henny de Ruiter, said the credit arrangement "is an important step in stabilizing Ahold's financial condition and demonstrates our continued access to significant liquidity."
Ahold "remains optimistic about the company's prospects," he said.