United States District Court for the District of Maryland

January 17, 2006 02:00 ET

Court to Notify Royal Ahold N.V. Investors as a Result of $1.1 Billion Worldwide Settlement of Class Action Lawsuit

BALTIMORE--(CCNMatthews - Jan 17, 2006) -

A multi-national notification program began today, as ordered by the United States District Court for the District of Maryland, to alert investors, brokers, financial institutions and other nominees who bought or received as a dividend Royal Ahold N.V. common stock and/or American Depository Receipts (ADRs) from July 30, 1999 through February 23, 2003 about a USD $1.1 billion settlement of a class action lawsuit against Royal Ahold and numerous co-defendants.

On February 24, 2003, Royal Ahold announced that it had inflated earnings by at least $500 million based on conduct at Ahold's wholly-owned U.S. Foodservice, Inc. subsidiary. On February 24, 2003, Ahold also informed investors that Ahold would restate previously announced revenues that it improperly consolidated from certain joint ventures. Following Ahold's February 24, 2003 announcement, the value of Ahold common stock and ADRs declined in value by more than 60%.

According to the class action lawsuit, Ahold eventually announced restatements exceeding $24 billion in revenues and $1.1 billion in income. The lawsuit alleged that the defendants' conduct presented a misleading financial picture of Ahold to investors, and artificially inflated the price of Ahold's common stock and ADRs during the period from July 30, 1999 through February 23, 2003.

The Court defined "Class Members" in the Settlement to include all people and entities who bought or received as a dividend Royal Ahold N.V. common stock and/or ADRs from July 30, 1999 through February 23, 2003, regardless of where such people live or purchased their shares of Royal Ahold.

Notices informing Class Members about their legal rights will be mailed, and are scheduled to appear in publications in approximately 24 countries and 14 languages, leading up to a hearing on June 16, 2006, when the Court will consider whether to approve the Settlement.

In November 2003, the Court appointed the law firm of Entwistle & Cappucci LLP, of New York, NY to represent the Class. That firm has been litigating this case known as In re Royal Ahold Securities and "ERISA" Litigation, MDL 1539 since that time, and they negotiated the Settlement.

Those affected by this Settlement can send in a claim form to ask for a payment, or they can ask to be excluded from, or object to, the Settlement and its terms. The deadline for exclusions and objections is May 12, 2006.

Payment amounts will depend on the number of valid claim forms that Class Members send in, how many shares of Ahold stock they bought or received as a dividend, and when they bought and sold them. The deadline to file claims is August 18, 2006.

Toll-free telephone numbers have been established in numerous countries, along with a website, www.AholdSettlement.com, where notices, the claim form, the Plan of Allocation and the Settlement Agreement may be obtained. Those affected may also write to Ahold Claims Administrator, PO Box 9000 #6378, Merrick, NY 11566-9000, USA.



COUNTRY TOLL FREE NUMBER
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Australia 0011 800 1020 4060
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Austria 00 800 1020 4060
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Belgium 00 800 1020 4060
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Canada 1 888 410 0027
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Denmark 00 800 1020 4060
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England 00 800 1020 4060
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Finland 00 800 1020 4060
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00 800 1020 4060 (France Telecom)
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France 40 800 1020 4060 (TELE 2)
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50 800 1020 4060 (Omnicom)
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70 800 1020 4060 (Le 7 Cegetel)
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90 800 1020 4060 (9 Telecom)
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Germany 00 800 1020 4060
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Hong Kong 00 800 1020 4060
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Ireland 00 800 1020 4060
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Italy 00 800 1020 4060
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Japan 00 800 1020 4060
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Liechtenstein 809 2288, then when prompted
enter 800 467 8208
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Luxembourg 00 800 1020 4060
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Netherlands 00 800 1020 4060
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Norway 00 800 1020 4060
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Portugal 00 800 1020 4060
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Scotland 00 800 1020 4060
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001 800 1020 4060 (Singtel IDD)
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Singapore 002 800 1020 4060 (MobileONE IDD)
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008 800 1020 4060 (Starhub IDD)
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013 800 1020 4060 (Singtel Budget Call)
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018 800 1020 4060 (Starhub I-Call)
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019 800 1020 4060 (Singtel V019)
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Spain 00 800 1020 4060
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Sweden 00 800 1020 4060
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Switzerland 00 800 1020 4060
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United States 1 888 410 0027
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From any other country, Class Members may place a toll call to the Claims Administrator in the U.S. by calling +1-941-906-4864.

Contact Information